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Lehigh to host Data X Symposium and LehighHacks event

To view a live stream of the event, please click here.

Through the Data X initiative, Lehigh University is committed to expanding its faculty working in computer science as well as other fields where computing and data analytics are having a tremendous impact. Data X also aims to prepare students working across all disciplines to understand, create and collaborate through the latest technologies and methodologies available to researchers today.

As part of this effort, Lehigh will host the first Data X Symposium on Thursday, March 31 and Friday, April 1. Guests are invited to join students, industry experts and scholars as they explore how the proliferation of data is transforming discovery in our economy, our culture and our society. To view the livestream of this event, click here.

The event will begin at 5:30 pm on March 31 with a reception and kick-off for LehighHacks, a 24-hour, student-driven hackathon, in Bay C2 on Lehigh’s Mountaintop Campus. The keynote and panel discussions will take place on Friday, April 1 in the Herbert A. Roemmele ’53 Global Commons in Williams Hall. 

The symposium will focus on aspects of Data X that lie at the convergence of "... digital media, consumer analytics, and computing and mobility,” says Daniel Lopresti, professor of computer science and engineering and director of Data X.

Gary Zenkel, president of NBC Olympics and president of operations and strategy of NBC Sports Group, will deliver the keynote presentation. According to his online biography, Zenkel oversees all aspects of the NBC Olympics business unit. Since 2011, Zenkel has led two successful attempts by NBCUniversal to acquire U.S. media rights to the Olympic Games: the first included Sochi 2014, Rio 2016, Pyeongchang 2018 and Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games; the second includes U.S. media rights to all Olympic and Paralympic Games through 2032, the longest agreement for U.S. media rights to the Olympics in history.

“The Olympics is a mass world event, something that really brings people together in a very nice way. [It’s] competition that everyone can enjoy. It is also a platform for companies to deeply understand the hundreds of millions of users who will be consuming the Olympics all around the world, and, of course, the demand that places on the technology—computing technology delivering all of the content, analyzing content, mobile technology to deliver it as well,” says Lopresti.

The symposium will also include three panel sessions on related topics featuring industry experts and Lehigh faculty working in digital media, computing and consumer analytics. Industry panelists include Kathleen Egan, vice president of services and analytics for Quri; Arun Hampapur, director of commerce research for IBM; Geoffrey Colon, communications designer for Microsoft; Beth-Ann Eason, president of Innovid; Mount Allen, director of operations for San Francisco Jazz; Humberto La Roche, principal engineer for Cisco Systems; and Patrick Thornton, senior director of user experience and strategy for CQ Roll Call.

Lehigh faculty panelists, who will also serve as moderators, include Brian Davison, associate professor of computer science and engineering; Jeremy Littau, assistant professor of journalism and communication; and Nevena Koukova, associate professor of marketing.

“It’s great to bring this kind of conversation to campus because it sparks new collaborations,” says Lopresti.

Through LehighHacks, a high-energy, student-driven hackathon, students will, over the course of 24 hours, work in teams to use technology to create unique solutions to problems in the areas of financial technology, smart environments and social apps.

Organizers anticipate approximately 150 student participants for this highly collaborative event, which requires no prior hackathon experience. Mentors and engineers from corporate partners will offer assistance throughout, and hourly workshops will highlight different types of technology and skills. Representatives from corporate sponsors will serve as judges.  

At the conclusion of the hackathon, teams will present their projects to judges in a science-fair type environment. The top ten teams selected by the judges will then pitch their projects on stage to determine a final winner.

The symposium will close with a reception and an awards ceremony for LehighHacks in Bay C2 on the Mountaintop Campus on Friday, April 1 at 4:30 pm.

Lehigh faculty, staff and students are welcome to attend any part of the event and are not required to register. As seating for the symposium is limited, registration for those outside the Lehigh campus community is encouraged. Click here to register.

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