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Digital Dream Labs, the next Nintendo for educational gameplay?

Educational games should be fun as well as instructive, which is what Digital Dream Labs is all about.
Founded by an ambitious trio, all grads of Carnegie Mellon Entertainment Technology Center, the team got its start in the museum space with an interactive table installed at the Children’s Museums of Pittsburgh and Houston. The startup is currently in Innovation Works' Alpha Lab. 
“Our initial goal was to build a game that would be, one day, the Nintendo of museum gaming,” says Matt Stewart, co founder of the company. He is joined by Justin Sabo and Peter Kinney.
The team is in the throes of creating a consumer version of its museum game. To move it along, they have launched a Pilot Program for Pittsburgh, giving local kids, ages four to 12, a chance to offer feedback and purchase it at a discounted price.
The game is expected to go on sale for $100. Beta testers will pay $80. In return for  play testing, beta players will get their name in the game credits and receive a free retail upgrade when the product goes on the market.
The toy-to-tablet educational platform calls on players to use logic, sequencing, teamwork and fine-motor skills to master the puzzle through digital action. The skills learned are the basis for computational thinking, says Sabo.
The game, tentatively named “Cork the Volcano,” is played as an add-on to an iPad or Mac. The hardware includes a block tray and puzzle pieces. As children play, they learn to write simple programs with the puzzle pieces as they solve logic puzzles. The ultimate goal is to save the island; timing is key.
“We’ve been trying to figure out how to bridge tech and education in a meaningful way,” says Sabo. “It will definitely change how people look at educational games for children.”
The plan is to build momentum and make a big splash at Toy Fair 2014.
Watch it in action!
Writer: Deb Smit
Source: Matt Stewart, Justin Sabo, Digital Dream Labs

Image courtesy of Digital Dream Labs. From From left to right: Justin Sabo, Corinne Charlton, Matt Stewart and Peter Kinney. 

BirdBrain Technologies, cool kits that make robotics learning fun

School projects today certainly aren’t what they used to be. They are way more exciting.

With do-it-yourself robotic technology from BirdBrain Technologies, a CMU spinout, it won’t be long until the stationary diorama is transformed into an action-packed drama.
Founder Tom Lauwers is creating kits with all the electronics one needs to build a robot and become an aspiring roboticist. It will take high school projects to the next level.

Originally from San Francisco, Lauwers has spent the last five years working on his doctorate in product design at CMU’s CREATE Lab, tinkering with robot kits and electronics. His goal is to create educationally relevant tools that get high school and college students excited about the world of robotics.
His first product, Finch, was a stingray-shaped robot that detects orientation and entertains students while teaching them the finer points of interactive programming. It is currently being used as part of high school science curriculums.
The Hummingbird kit is low-cost hardware and software system that allows students to build expressive and communicative robots out of arts and crafts materials. Lauwers points to a project on the table, made from not much more than circuitry and wiring, a few cardboard boxes, foam board and construction paper.
“It’s intentionally made not like a toy so people feel empowered to mess with electronics,” he explains “It’s not magical or hard. Once you have something anyone can buy, people will use it in ways you don’t expect.”
BirdBrain is manufacturing the kits in China. Many are already being used in public and private schools.
The company is one of many up for an award at the 2013 DATA Awards on Thursday night, May 16th, on the North Side. General admission tickets for $25 are available starting at 7 p.m.
Writer: Deb Smit
Source: Tom Lauwers, BirdBrain Technologies

The story behind Aquion Energy, the promising sustainable energy storage solution

Growing up, Jay Whitacre had a dream. He wanted to work for NASA, a dream he realized upon receiving his doctorate from University of Michigan when he landed a job with the Jet Propulsion in California.
Life was good and the work was exciting, for awhile, he says. Then he began thinking about the global energy crisis and started doing the math. He realized the demand for energy would well exceed the energy the world had in ready supply, he says.
With that, research commenced on a sustainable, scalable, cost-competitive energy storage system and Aquion Energy was born. The year was 2008. It came together with assistance from a company in California that agreed to allow the research to take place at CMU.
“Many universities don’t allow this kind of interaction, which I think is a mistake,” Whitacre told an audience at a recent Project Olympus Open House on CMU’s campus. “This is a decade long project, based on speculation and risk. It’s a long drawn out process.”
As the research ensued, the need to integrate renewals like wind and solar with the energy grid through an energy storage solution became apparent. The search was on for a system that not only proved to be environmentally adaptable, but promised a long life and was completely reliable.
“Energy technology is all about the cost,” he adds. “We had a lot of technical things to overcome.”
In April, Aquion announced a $35 million round of venture funding with backing from several investors including Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates who believes in the need for a “battery miracle” to support the growth of renewable energy.  Gates has funded three battery-startup firms to date.
The company was also named one of 50 Disruptive Companies 2013 by the MIT Technology Review.
The Aquion solution uses seawater and magnesium oxide, creating a utility-scale, temperature tolerant technology that can endure 5,000+ charging cycles with 85% efficiency. The sodium-ion solution makes the batteries environmentally-friendly, minus the toxic chemicals contained in acid and alkaline-based batteries or the problems associated with lithium ion units.

Apparently, it's also edible, according to the Wall Street Journal.
With a battery factory underway on the former Sony site in Westmoreland County, Aquion hopes to roll out the first batteries within a year. The plant is expected to generate 400+ skilled manufacturing and engineering jobs. The company headquarters, based in Lawrenceville in an old railcar building, employs 127 people.
The dream now? Build it in Pittsburgh and replicate the factory in other parts of the world, says Whitacre.
Writer: Deb Smit
Source: Jay Whitacre, Aquion Energy

Innovation news: BodyMedia sold and staying. ALS research breakthrough. $1.6 million for malaria

This week in innovation news:
+Pittsburgh-based BodyMedia was acquired by San Francisco-based Jawbone this week. The match appears to be a perfect fit, pun intended. Jawbone is the creator of a lifestyle tracking wristband and app as well as the JAMBOX family of wireless speakers and headsets. BodyMedia is known for its wearable health technology, especially its armband to support weight loss. Body Media employees will remain with the company and in Pittsburgh, says a company spokesperson.
+Researchers at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine announced the results of a new study that shows promise for future ALS research. The results, published by the journal of Neurobiology of Disease, show that mice injected by the hormone melatonin developed symptoms of ALS later and lived longer than mice who were given a placebo. While the implications of the research and how it will translate in human terms are yet unknown, the results are a promising development on the ALS research front.

+Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center (PSC) and the University of Notre Dame have received up to $1.6 million in funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to develop a program that is part of an international consortium to eradicate malaria. The new VECNet Cyber-Infrastructure Project (CI) will support an effort to unite research, industrial and public policy efforts to attack one of the worst diseases in the developing world.

+Lauren Resnick, distinguished university professor of psychology and cognitive science at the University of Pittsburgh, was elected a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences’ Class of 2013, one of the nation’s most prestigious honorary societies. Resnick is the 11th Pitt professor to be elected to the academy, an organization whose membership includes scholars, scientists, writers, artists, musicians, philanthropists, and civic and corporate leaders from around the globe.

Writer: Deb Smit

Cast your vote for the next DATA winner, the coolest art tech party in Pittsburgh (you're invited)

The 2013 Data Awards return to the Grand Hall at the Priory, one of the biggest innovation celebrations of the year in honor of the coolest design and tech projects in the region.

Nearly 50 companies are in the running for the region's highest (and only) honor for great art, entertainment and design technology, sponored by The Pittsburgh Technology Council.

New this year, the general public, that's you dear reader, will get a vote on the top projects. 

From now until the polls close on May 1st, readers may vote once for a project in each category. The public vote will be tabulated and weighted along with the decisions made by a industry professionals, says Kim Chestney Harvey of the Tech Council, 

Also new this year, tickets are offered at two price points. The early evening will be dedicated to the awards ceremony and presentations, which will end at 7 p.m. After that, the interactive exhibition party begins. The public, and non-PTC members, will be admitted for $25.

“It’s all about engaging the public and pulling interest from beyond the business community this year,” says Chestney Harvey. "It’s really important to keep the community element, which is what the DATAs are founded on.”

As for the contenders, there are many new names and technologies. While a few favorites from years past are back—Schell Games and Lightwave—many are new. There’s SloGo. An intriguing entry from Slippery Rock called “God Particle.” Walking Thumbs’ Blab Cake.

The student category, also new this year, has eight entries from CMU.

The evening’s presenter will be Bill Stankay,  journalist, author, filmmaker and former CNN Bureau Chief. Pittsburgh’s own Chip Walter will host the Awards Gala, drawing on his own explorations of human creativity and curiosity.

Cast your vote today!  Polls close May 1, 2013.

Writer: Deb Smit
Source: Kim Chestney Harvey, Pittsburgh Technology Council

113 Industries accelerates innovation for Fortune 500 companies

113 Industries, through the power of big data, is working with Fortune 500 companies to accelerate the pace of R&D in Pittsburgh and beyond.  
Founded in 2010 and based on Technology Drive in Oakland, the scientific research firm is capitalizing on the concept of “open innovation,” the cooperative sharing of intellectual property available to improve research activity.
Trillions of dollars in intellectual property sit on the shelves of universities, companies and federal labs, just waiting to play a role in the next great breakthrough product or technology, says Razi Imam, CEO, co-founder and adjunct professor of entrepreneurship at CMU. Through its internal platform, the company casts a wide net to tap this available research.
"We give Fortune 500 companies the opportunity to rapidly innovate and introduce breakthrough products to give them a competitive advantage," explains Imam. 
A chemical company, for example, might need a coating material to prevent the corrosion of the product under certain conditions. A food company, at a loss for the right chemical ingredient, might be in search of an ingredient to improve the health benefit or taste of a product.
113 Industries’ goal is to help customers reduce their R&D costs and the time it takes to develop and market new products, giving them an advantage in their marketplace.
Seasoned entrepreneurs, Imam and his partner Anupam Singh exited from their last company, Landslide, before the company was sold in 2012. Their new company name comes from the lowest chemical element on the periodic table.
The firm's team of multidisciplinary, scientists-in-residence, researchers on staff who work to connect the dots on research, is unique, they say. 
Pittsburgh has many great companies. Pushing R&D forward will not only help spur innovation but create jobs in the region, they say. “This is a big part of why open innovation is taking off,” Singh says. “It doesn’t need to be invented within your organization. It's something we're trying to foster and encourage in the region.”
“We want to give back to the region,” adds Imam. “We love Pittsburgh. This will give our region a true shot in the arm for revenue growth and an economic boost.”
Coming up: 113 Industries will co-host the Open Innovation Summit in Pittsburgh this summer and speak at the INPEX 2002 Open Innovation Conference in June.
Writer: Deb Smit
Source: Razi Imam, Anupam Singh, 113 Industries

Pittsburgh entreprenuers jump in the Shark Tank at the 3 Rivers Venture Fair

Fourteen of the region’s smartest early-stage tech startups jumped into the 3 Rivers Venture Fair Shark Tank last week to compete for venture capital prizes.
Mark Cuban couldn’t make it, but a panel of experts was on hand firing the tough questions: Frank Demmler of Innovation Works, Will Indest of Draper Triangle Ventures and Chris Skarlin of Edison Ventures.
All of them were products of years of academic research from  University of Pittsburgh and Carnegie Mellon University. In the end, the audience cast the winning votes. 
First prize went to Qeexo, a CMU spinout, for a smartphone that is revolutionizing cellphone touch. Chris Harrison, an MIT Review Top 35 Innovator last year, is the force behind the tech. You might recall him dialing calls on his forearm and tabletops several years back.
Qeexo distinguishes between fingers and knuckles with 99% accuracy. A knuckle swipe, for example, executes one command, like a right mouse click. The company is in talks with several major manufacturers and is based in San Jose, Calif., with an R&D office at CMU.   
LightSIDE was second, a software platform that is ushering in the age of written papers graded by robots. The software uses machine learning to assess student essays. In addition to giving students instant feedback on their papers based on key concepts, LightSIDE hopes to lighten the load on teachers bogged down by traditional grading methods.
CE Agent, third place, developed at University of Pittsburgh, helps licensed professionals to track their continuing education credits.
Two other audience favorites deserve mention. The first is Topical Drug Delivery Therapy for Skin Cancer, a long-winded name for a band-aid to treat non-melanoma skin cancers. The tech was developed by a scientific team at the University of Pittsburgh.
And finally SolePower, an energy-harvesting startup with a shoe insert that recharges your phone (or other portable electronics) when you’re in the middle-of-nowhere.    
Writer: Deb Smit
Source: 3 Rivers Venture Fair

Active online? Check out your Social Fingerprint

What is the Internet saying about you?
An accurate social media profile is critical in today’s job market. But how to manage the wild west of online content and ensure that the information out there is accurate?
Social Media Information (SMI) is rising to the challenge, an information solutions company working out of the Riverside Innovation Center. SMI rolled out Social Fingerprint in 2012, a simple online tool that gives anyone a read on potentially incriminating and embarrassing online posts.
SMI has more recently released two business to business products: EPLOY, a pre-employment screening tool to help companies find and retain the best employees; and EGLE, software for legal professionals and insurance analysts to investigate suspicious claims, criminal histories and reduces fraudulent insurance claims.   
A premium product to help people with profile or reputation management may be next, says Chris Gormley, CEO, formerly of Pittsburgh companies FreeMarkets, Tiversa and Omnyx.
“People should have the ability to monitor their own reputation,” he says. “We think there’s a big market for this.”
Gormley recently addressed college students at Pitt, prolific users of social media who might want to think twice about what they post on Facebook. Thirty-seven percent of employers today are using social media to research job candidates, he says. Facebook and LinkedIn are the most popular, used 65% of the time.
Industries that use social media the most when hiring are IT (52%) and Healthcare (28%). Of the remaining companies, 11% say they plan to start using it soon, he says.
So before that happens, one might want to try Social Fingerprint.
As a frequent user of social media and an online writer, I signed up, offered a few details and began receiving daily lists of potentially damaging information on myself.
Several problems popped up, all of which were false positive, fortunately. Here’s what Social Fingerprint had to say:
My name was closely linked with the words guns, riot, police and charges. Turns out it was a Pop City story, written by me, on “Behind the Scenes at the G-20.”
My name was found with the words roasted, served and hash. Another Pop City story about readers’ favorite dishes in Pittsburgh.
There was a mugshot that wasn’t me, whew, but one Debra Jeanne Smith who was charged with second degree murder for stabbing her boyfriend in Florida.
Most interesting was a site called Instant People Finder, which knew all my names, before and after marriage, and listed every place I’ve ever lived, all five, and my correct age.
Okay, I’m sleeping at night for now.
“You have to know what’s out there,” says Gormley. “You want to control your own online brand and know how to manage that. “
Writer: Deb Smit
Source: Chris Gormley, SMI

Who's hiring in Pittsburgh? Bombardier, Luma Institute and the Mayor's office...

Each week Pop City reports on the latest company and hiring news.
Global transportation company Bombardier is posting eight jobs and two internships at its West Mifflin operation. The positions range from an assortment of engineering jobs to project management. The firm is also looking for project management intern and software engineering intern.
Luma Institute is hiring a senior program director, a position that seeks world-class designers, innovators and teachers to run Luma programs around the world. The ideal candidate should have at least seven years experience as a design or innovation professional.

Flying Cork Media, a strategic marketing communications firm, is seeking a full-time creative writer. This position will assist in all client campaign writing, ensuring all initiatives are strategically and creatively aligned to clients’ needs, while being delivered on time and on budget. 

The Pittsburgh’s Mayors Office of Service and Civic Engagement is hiring for four Americorps Vista positions in July. All positions will involve the development, expansion, and streamlining of various servePGH programs.
PULSE, the Pittsburgh Urban Leadership Experience, seeks a part-time, high energy person to coordinate the office and help the small non-profit as it grows.  PULSE cultivates a community of young servant leaders who are working to transform Pittsburgh.
Metro Family Practice is looking for a triage nurse for its family practice located in Wilkinsburg. The ideal candidate should be flexible and able to work both evenings and weekends.
Carnegie Mellon University seeks a senior writer/editor for national media outreach. As part of the public relations team, this position contributes to strategic public relations and internal communications in support of CMU’s Software Engineering Institute.
WPXI-TV and Cox Enterprises is looking for an experienced hard news reporter with energy, the skills and a passion for breaking news. Multiple talents are required and being a star on social media is a must.

Have hiring news? Email Pop City and include the link to the job on your company website.

Writer: Deb Smit

Lunametrics takes digital intelligence marketing to the next level

South Side-based LunaMetrics knows all about rising to the top when it comes to the web search.
As a digital intelligence firm, Lunametrics works with clients to analyze and increase traffic to their websites. It's also the only certified partner of Google Analytics in Western Pennsylvania, although it has plenty of other tools in the box including search engine optimization (SEO), pay per click (PPC) and social media.
The combination is drawing hits, as they say. Last year LunaMetrics, founded in 2005, doubled its revenues to $1.5 million and expanded staff by 50 percent, growth that required moving from the Terminal Building to more spacious digs on the South Side with conference rooms and a kitchen.
LunaMetrics currently employs 12 and is hiring two.  
While many clients come to us because we’re a certified Google Analytics partner, they stay because we’re customer centric, says Robbin Steif, CEO.
Lunametrics believes in regular communication with customers. It’s important to understand their experience so we can make the entire online experience better, whether that means the website, apps or social media.
The industry is growing for two reasons, she adds. It’s the most measurable marketing you can have today, very show me the numbers. The other reason is the tremendous growth of the Internet.   
“Its easy to understand what we do to improve rankings, but that’s only one piece," Steif says. "We try to cover the marketing, digital intelligence space. It’s not all about search engines but making your property do what you want it to do."
So how is this working for LunaMetrics? “Our visit pattern looks like a hockey stick,” says Steif. “The visitors to the company’s website are up 161% year over year, 2012-2011. That’s what happens when you work really hard at it and have the right things in the right place.”
Writer: Deb Smit
Source: Robbin Steif, Lunametrics

Haunting documentary-style video game Atomic Zone recalls the bombing of Hiroshima

The first atomic bomb dropped on the Japanese city of Hiroshima in 1945.
Inspired by survivor testimonials and actual photography of the bomb site, CMU Entertainment Technology Center grad students have created an interactive documentary video that recreates the explosion site and depicts the deadly aftermath that killed more than 100,000 people.  
Atomic Zone might be the first post nuclear Hiroshima educational tool on the effects of nuclear weaponry, says Rodrigo Cano, one of six students who worked on the project as part of a class with Professor Scott Steven last fall. The other students are Nick, Noreen, Anabelle, Eric, Jason.

The video game was created for the Dept. of Defense to prepare military personnel for the realities of radiation during the aftermath of a nuclear war. It was funded by the Army’s Telemedicine & Advanced Technology Research Center (TATRC).

Atomic Zone is a 3-D simulation of both the natural and human destruction that occurs after a nuclear blast. Visitors walk through the blast zones and listen to stories told through photographs and haunting music of how so named “Little Boy” nuclear bomb wiped out the inhabitants of the city.  
The animation is graphic; the students rendered the landscape using historical materials and maps to tell the story authentically. It is not recommended for anyone under a high school age.
“This is something that people are slowly forgetting about,” explains Cano. “Especially the younger generation. Maybe this will help them to remember.
“Most of the feedback has been positive,” he adds. “Many people were surprised by the imagery we used. Some were surprised by the different effects of fallout.. We tried very hard to stay a political of the issue.”
Many ETC class projects have gone on to become game simulations, such as PeaceMaker, a simulation of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Writer: Deb Smit
Source: Rodrigo Cano, Atomic Bomb

Coming up: Startup Weekend Pittsburgh and two shale and energy forums

Several events are coming up, whether you’re an entrepreneur looking to start a business or interested in the region’s future in energy, especially as it pertains to gas drilling.
Startup Weekend will be held from April 5 to 7, two days that offer a rich opportunity to join passionate entrepreneurs from the region (and around the world) who are learning to launch successful ventures.

This is the third Startup Weekend in Pittsburgh, a packed schedule that culminates in a lively competition. Everyone is invited to pitch a startup idea and receive feedback. Teams form around the top ideas as determined by popular vote.

A 54-hour creative fest of designing, coding and market validation ensues. The weekend finishes off with presentations before a panel of entrepreneurial leaders. This year’s panel includes: John Biggs, east coast editor of TechCrunch and a CMU alum; Don Morrison of BlueTree Allied Angels, Rich Lunak of Innovation Works and Matt Newton of TriStar Investors.

In energy-related events, a free forum “Presenting the Case for Crafting a Regional Energy Strategy and Plan” will be held on April 9th at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center, Room 407, from 3:15 - 4:45 p.m.

The forum, hosted by Sustainable Pittsburgh Washington & Jefferson College Center for Energy Policy and Management, offers an opportunity to hear the latest on the region’s energy strategy.

Panelists include Robert Vagt, president of The Heinz Endowments and Greg Babe, CEO of Orbital Engineering. The event is free; registration is NOT necessary.

Carnegie Mellon University will host a symposium about shale gas and its implications for regional manufacturing from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on April 4, at the McConomy Auditorium at CMU's University Center on Forbes Avenue.
The symposium will feature panel discussions about the challenges and opportunities shale gas poses for industrial development and about the use of natural gas as fuel.
Writer: Deb Smit

The latest made-in-Pittsburgh apps cover everything from fertility to swapping clothes

While apps may be so yesterday, they just keep coming. Here’s a roundup of some of the latest ones rolling out of Pittsburgh.
In a unique spin on tracking a woman’s fertility, local software company TRA Partners has released an app to help men stay abreast of their partner’s ability to conceive. Called Rhythm Daddy, it allows guys to follow their partner's monthly cycle, sending them funny updates through texts or alerts, whether a couple hopes to get pregnant or wants to “dodge the bullet.”
Share Closet is an idea in development by two Pittsburgh women. The app, to launch later this year, will allow friends to share and swap clothes with one another or sell items they no longer need.
Can you say goodbye, parking tickets? ParkIt Pittsburgh came out of Steel City Codefest as a parking app that connects users with the city’s new metered parking system, a handy tool if you’re down the street and need to give yourself more time. Pay for parking anywhere in the city using your phone, see your remaining time allowance and receive notifications when you’re running low.
This one was created out of sheer laziness: Flippoo allows user to flip unwanted tasks to anyone who is looking for a little extra money. Pitt marketing student Alec Davis created the app as a way to make campus living easier. Need someone to grab a library book for you and drop it off? Flippoo it.

From the team that brought us HitchedPic, the app for those heading toward matrimonial bliss, comes a new release called Baby Patches, to capture and share all the beautiful moments with your baby. 

Clique Vodka has launched a new DrinkyPal app. As with their previous app, users who are enjoying a night on the town can access a list of the nearest taxi companies and hotels, a safer alternative to drinking and driving. Now you can also book a hotel room directly from your phone and call the taxi company directly.
Here’s one for the busiest of professionals who needs to prioritize who can and cannot reach them. Selective Disturbance comes to us from 4C Design Works in Pittsburgh. Touted as a “business productivity app,” it integrates with iPhones' Do Not Disturb feature and allows users to pick who can and can’t get through while blocking the rest of the noise. It also syncs with Microsoft Exchange contacts.

And finally, Pittsburgh's own weather app, Swackett, turned two with the release of an iPad app featuring models wearing American Eagle outfits.

Now, can we do something about this weather?

Writer: Deb Smit

Looking for a more meaningful job? ReWork takes on the purpose-driven career search

Landing a good job is one thing. But finding a career that is both meaningful and purpose-driven is another challenge altogether. 
ReWork is a Pittsburgh recruiting agency for the new economy, bringing talented people together with companies that offer rewarding careers, whether it means working for a social enterprise, a nonprofit or a company with the right mix of opportunities.
Take Katherine Camp, a Pittsburgh graduate with a master’s degree in international sustainable development. ReWork helped her realize her dream to work abroad by locating a position with a dairy company in India, explains Abe Taleb, ReWork founder.
ReWork evolved out of The Unreasonable Institute in Boulder, Colo, he explains. The program convinced him of the value in pivoting his former company, TerraShift, into a talent recruiting agency for social enterprise. 
“Most of the people we work with are not active job seekers,” he says. “Many (already) work full-time but want more meaningful opportunities. They want to utilize their skills and give their career a better focus.” 
Through an online service, ReWork matches talented individuals from all over the U.S. with national and international organizations committed to making the world a better place. The firm, which launched a year ago, employs 6 full-time people.
Rework is planning a series of forums to introduce entreprenuers and talented professionals to companies who are making a difference. The next Scrimmage in the Rust Belt, a day-long event, will be held on April 6th at Thrill Mill, 6024 Broad St., East Liberty from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.   

The mentors will include Donna Myers of TowerCare Technology, Mike Woycheck of AlphaLab and John Cilli of BHiveLab (part of Brunner Works). The cost is $50 to attend and includes breakfast and lunch.
Writer: Deb Smit
Source: Abe Taleb, ReWork

Announcing Pittsburgh DataWorks: Establishing the region as a big hub for Big Data

A new consortium of companies in Pittsburgh are joining forces to establish the region as a major hub for "big data" with the official launch of Pittsburgh DataWorks this week.
In stealth mode since last fall, DataWorks surfaced two weeks ago at the MIT Forum held at IBM in Squirrel Hill. IBM initiated the idea and is joined by five founding members: Carnegie Mellon University, Google, Management Science Associates, University of Pittsburgh and UPMC Medical Center.
A long list of private companies and economic development organizations are on board as well.
Pittsburgh companies and universities are already working and established in this space, explains Bob Monroe, associate professor at the Tepper School of Business at CMU and member of the DataWorks advisory board.
This is the logical next step, bringing everyone together and unifying the effort to establish southwestern Pennsylvania as a leading region for this industry. By 2014, big data will gain an $81 billion foothold in the market and create 1.9 million jobs in the U.S.
“The opportunities are huge,” says Monroe. "As a region, we have many of the assets that will help us to become a capital for big data.”
DataWorks will share space in the business incubator Rev Oakland. In addition to promoting the region as a leading destination for big data education, the initiative will develop research, entrepreneurial and regional economic development opportunities.
The coming out party will be held Thursday, March 21, at the University Club on Pitt’s campus from 6 to 8 p.m.
Writer: Deb Smit
Source: Bob Monroe, Saman Haqqi, Pittsburgh DataWorks
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