It’s our honor to congratulate four Pace University students on winning IBM’s 2020 Call for Code Global Challenge. Three Pace alumni, Ajinkya Datalkar ‘20 (MS in Computer Science), Manoela Morais ‘20 (MS in Financial Risk management), and Chimka Munkhbayar ‘20 (MS in Entrepreneurial Studies), worked in collaboration with one of our current students, Helen Tsai ‘21 (MS in Computer Science), to develop their game-changing project.
The team worked together to develop their app, Agrolly, with the intention of helping farmers with little resources combat issues caused by climate change. Unlike larger farming industries, small farming businesses have limited access to information that can increase their chances of making smarter business decisions. That’s where Agrolly comes into play.
The team’s app provides a low-cost solution to providing farmers with long-term weather forecasts that can be used to make better judgments about the crops they should grow and when they should grow them. Other features of the app include information about crop water requirements, which is dependent on factors such as location, the type of crop, and the stage of the farm. Additionally, farmers can use Agrolly to keep in contact with other farmers and share solutions using a text and image-based forum. Agrolly also has an algorithm in place to calculate most of the risk assessments for farmers using the app.
In response to the team’s major achievement, Seidenberg Dean Dr. Jonathan Hill says, “One of the really exciting things about our team’s win is that it was a combined team of Seidenberg students and Lubin students. One of the great values of a Pace education is that it can be so interdisciplinary. Our technology students benefit from working with students who are being educated in business, the arts, healthcare and the other disciplines at Pace. It makes for a real world experience and it makes for strong, winning teams.” IBM’s Call for Code Challenge offered Pace students of varying disciplines the opportunity to collaborate and make use of their unique skills and assets.
With the development of their app Agrolly, these students have made an impactful step towards addressing climate change, which is becoming more and more of a concerning issue. Our only hope is that their accomplishment inspires more students to make a positive change by finding solutions to real-world problems. Once again, congratulations to Team Agrolly and we hope to see this amazing app grow in both use and development.
On Saturday, February 29th, 2020, Pace University’s Women in Tech club held its first-ever hackathon, Sunflower Hack, on the New York City campus. This would be the second hackathon I attended as a sophomore at Pace. Unfortunately, despite anticipating the event throughout the week, when I arrived I was exhausted from completing an assignment the night before. At that moment, I feared that my lack of energy would prevent me from enjoying a day I’d been eagerly awaiting. However, it wasn’t long before I realized that wouldn’t be the case. Luckily for me, I was fortunate enough to find an amazing group of smart and talented women who uplifted my spirits significantly. What started off as a presumably bad day ended up being quite the opposite. At the end of the hackathon, I left having won best theme hack alongside my newly-found team of Women in Tech members Nia Davis, Muirrin O’Connell, and Abbi Keppler.
During the week of the hackathon, I was so occupied with school, work, and family that it wasn’t until I got there that I realized I forgot one major thing: a team. While a majority of the participants were meeting up with their groups and strategizing, I was scanning the room for potential teammates. Following the opening remarks and an inspirational speech from Pace alumna Olga Bogomolova, I was finally able to start assembling a team. Although initially daunting, the process was actually a lot easier than I thought. Within five minutes I found an amazing team and we jumped straight into business.
After going through multiple ideas, we eventually decided on one that Abbi proposed and immediately got started. Our plan was to create an app called Cultivate that would help promote and encourage productivity in our target audience. Given that there are many apps that provide a similar service, we realized that in order to make ours unique, we needed to offer a noteworthy incentive for our users, something that we knew most people would enjoy. That’s why we agreed on making that incentive plants and animals. By completing tasks and staying productive, the user would then gain points towards buying new gear or upgrading their ideal plant or pet. Since the fundamental purpose of the app was decided on, we began to discuss potential features that could be useful to the app’s development. One such feature that we decided on including was a function that would allow users to sync their app calendar to the calendar on their mobile device, thus making it much easier to keep everything in one place. We also concluded that the app should have a feature that categorizes tasks by levels of priority so users can focus on completing their most important tasks first. During this brainstorming process, it was easy to think of even more useful functions, however, we decided that given the time that we had, it would be smarter to focus on implementing all the necessary features first. Anything else that we were unable to add could always be addressed towards the end of our presentation.
Later, after eight hours of hacking, it was finally time for the presentations. Seeing everyone’s ideas was probably one of my favorite parts about the hackathon because it highlighted the ingenuity of each individual group. In the beginning, we were all tasked with creating a hack centered around the singular theme of authenticity, yet in the end, we all interpreted that concept in multiple ways. Some of us came up with ideas centered around food services and self-help, while others created hacks to help with medical analysis and the early detection of natural disasters.
When it came time for the judges to announce the winners, I had no idea that we’d win one of the prizes. I was just so content with having been able to participate that it didn’t register that we were called until moments afterward. As we went up to receive our grand prize (which by that I mean our portable drives), I realized that it wasn’t just the prize that excited me. I was excited because winning was the last thing on my mind, yet it was definitely the cherry on top of an already amazing day. That night, on the train back home, I left feeling so grateful for the experience I had, along with the reward that came with it. Going to a hackathon is an immensely invaluable experience that I’d encourage anyone to partake in if they can.
“These results received the Best Paper Award at ICALP 2018, the flagship conference of the European Association of Theoretical Computer Science and top 4 worldwide, and now were accepted for publication at the Journal of the Association for Computing Machinery (JACM),” Miguel explains. “To have one’s work published in JACM is an important accomplishment for a CS researcher. The ACM is the top scientific computing society worldwide, and JACM is the top 1 journal venue* in Theoretical Computer Science (TCS). I am honored to have our work on ADNs so recognized by the TCS scientific community, and I look forward to continuing this successful line of work.”
Congratulations to Miguel Mosteiro on his accomplishment. The Seidenberg School is proud of his work on dynamic networks and we’re excited to cheer on his future achievements moving forward!
Swimming and computer science don’t have much in common, but when a Seidenberg student wins an award for academic and athletic success, they intersect quite well. Jana Ciric is a junior Computer Science major and Division II Swim Team member on the Westchester campus. She just earned the Northeast-10 Conference Women’s Swimming and Diving Sport Excellence Award for the second year in a row.
The third-year student explains that she started swimming when she was in the third grade; “when I was a little kid, my parents would take me to Greece every year and all I wanted to do was play in the water. They helped me make the right choice and choose swimming when I was ready to take on a sport.”
Growing up, Jana was on Serbia’s National Swimming Team for four years. During that time, she participated in European regional meets, like the Balkan Junior Championship, where she won the silver medal in the 50-meter freestyle. She was also the captain of the “Sveti Nikola” swimming club in Serbia for six years, helping to coach and organize a team of ten swimmers for practices and swim meets.
She notes that her time swimming for Pace has been excellent, but it definitely differs from her experience in Europe: “at Pace, we have dual meets every week, but very little championship meets (one or two per year), whereas in Europe we have championships more often but have no dual meets.”
The amount of time she spends with the Pace Swimming and Diving team has allowed her to form close friendships that she considers the most important part of her experience.
“I consider my team to be the closest thing I have to home since I am really far from home,” she explains.
Even with the homesickness that she endures, Jana found time to rack up quite a list of accomplishments. She holds six (out of over 20) of Pace University’s swimming records, earned Dean’s List First Honors for Fall 2018, completed a spring internship as a Junior Programmer/Analyst at Central National Gottesman, and lined up an exciting internship at AQR Capital Management for this summer. She also did all of this while working as a Tutor the Pleasantville Tutoring Center and a Student Assistant for the Athletic Department! Maintaining those records, grades, and workload is not easy.
“I have always had a really good work ethic and determination. Once I set my mind on something, I work really hard until I get it,” Jana notes. “I have unconditional support from my family which has been pushing me to do better every day. Even though they are almost 5,000 miles away they are always with me, helping me to achieve my dreams.”
How does it feel to earn her second straight NE10 Swimming and Diving Sport Excellence Award? Jana says that it “feels amazing,” and rightfully so.
“I am really proud to have won that award again since I put a lot of emphasis on my education. I am a student first and an athlete second. I wouldn’t have even come to the U.S. if it weren’t for my passion for academics and education (as well as swimming). This is why I think this award is so important to me – it really celebrates why all of us are here at college: to get a better education.”
Jana’s success is a success for all of Seidenberg. Her hard work showcases just how possible it is to obtain friendship, accomplishments, and a degree while being a student-athlete, intern, and employee. We’re proud to show off all that Jana does within the Pace community!
Jana would like to note that she really appreciates that Dean Hill and Andreea attend her swim meets and cheer her on. You can always check the swim team schedule to see when Jana will be competing. We’re sure that she’d love to have a crowd there cheering her on.
NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital stands tall and proud next to the Pace University New York City campus. The building is located just across from 1 Pace Plaza, offering healthcare to a vast number of patients each day who are seeking the best services that the city has to offer. It is because of NewYork-Presbyterian’s unique focus on rendering services using artificial intelligence (AI) and telemedicine technologies that the Seidenberg School is presenting the Innovation in Information Technology (IT) award to NewYork-Presbyterian at April 24th’s Seidenberg Innovation Awards.
The award is being presented to the entire IT team at NewYork-Presbyterian, a team which has driven many exciting initiatives that use pioneering technologies to provide the hospital’s patients – and its medical and administrative staff – with excellent and effective service. These initiatives have been driven in large part through the leadership of Chief Information Officer, Daniel J. Barchi.
Many of us at the Seidenberg School of Computer Science and Information Systems at Pace University first met Daniel when he visited campus in the fall semester of 2018. He was here to participate in the Tech Leadership Series, a run of guest speaker events that bring high-level industry workers to campus to share their stories, tips for success, and to inspire students to achieve. During that event, Daniel shared stories of hacking scares, the fascinating applications of AI in healthcare, data privacy, work ethic and leadership, and more – so when the opportunity to get to know him better in interview came up, we jumped at the chance to share more of his story.
Daniel has had a very interesting career, in which many of his experiences are what he attributes his success to. Before he became CIO of NewYork-Presbyterian, his life as a naval officer was his primary identity. After graduating from the United States Naval Academy in 1991, he spent six years serving at sea and was awarded the Navy Commendation Medal for Leadership. After deciding to leave the Navy for a new opportunity, he grew as a project manager within the telecom industry.
Daniel’s new job within the telecom industry “was full of many global challenges, and that experience of solving problems around the world led me to work for a health system and run a biomedical institute which needed to be improved.”
After running Carilion BioPhile Biomedical Institute as CEO and then President for several years, Daniel was invited to step into the role of Chief Information Officer – “and I’ve been doing healthcare IT ever since,” he says.
Once Daniel entered the world of healthcare IT, it was clear he’d found his niche.
“I think the amazing thing about healthcare IT is that people with technical and process skills can help impact patients’ lives,” Daniel says. “Without being physicians or nurses ourselves, our work is deeply critical to the outcome of patients. We develop and implement and maintain the systems that provide clinicians with the right tools they need to take care of patients, and the . . . analytics that they need to make decisions.”
While the tools that NewYork-Presbyterian IT specialists create and implement build a stronger service for patients, it’s the IT team itself that really stands out. According to Daniel, healthcare IT is “80% people, 15% process, and only 5% technology.” That means that alongside having smart and innovative individuals on staff, it’s also important to have open and attentive communication across all departments.
“The way we make this work best . . . is to listen to what the clinicians need and make sure the systems are working for them,” he states.
An example of these systems is one that is providing more accessible healthcare to all patients: kiosks. NewYork-Presbyterian has placed kiosks in Walgreens stores as part of their NYP On-Demand strategy. Patients can use these kiosks to get direct access to a physician on call. Daniel believes this is a fundamental part of NewYork-Presbyterian’s service.
“We have world-class physicians . . . but not everybody has immediate access to those physicians either from a time or geography perspective. We wanted to make sure that we could reach many more patients when and where they are via virtual medicine.”
Another example of the hospital’s drive to use technology to provide better service is its ‘mobile stroke ambulances’. If a 911 call is placed where the patient is displaying symptoms of a stroke, a radio ambulance (an ambulance that interrupts nearby car radios with information about whether the ambulance is responding to an emergency and which direction it is traveling, intended to assist drivers in moving out of the way as it passes) and one of the stroke ambulances are immediately dispatched to their location. “Right there on the side of the road, we take a CT of the patient’s head and beam the information back to a neurologist who can . . . start the treatment right there,” Daniel explains. This service speeds up the treatment process up as much as 45 minutes which can save critical brain cells. The ambulances don’t just save lives—they prevent life-threatening situations in the first place.
“Not only are we leveraging technology for the good of that one patient . . . we use telemedicine to allow one neurologist to provide care to all three, remotely,” Daniel says. NewYork-Presbyterian operates the largest fleet in the United States, including three mobile stroke ambulances.
These strategies and innovations are the reason why NewYork-Presbyterian is so notable for its patient care system.
Adopting technology into healthcare creates widespread care at a smaller cost.
“We are rapidly adopting artificial intelligence as a way to improve operations and the care of our patients. Quality is delivering outstanding care at a good value, and we’d like to reduce the cost of delivering care,” Daniel says, going on to emphasize that the introduction of AI technologies was pulled from the vision of the organization’s CEO, Dr. Steve Corwin.
“Several years ago, he encouraged us to invest in telemedicine and advanced technology as a way to continue to grow the quality of care that we deliver, but also to reach a broader population.
“NewYork-Presbyterian serves more underserved New Yorkers than just about any other health system, and we wanted to make sure that we could meet the needs of everybody, not only the patients who come to one of our hospitals.
“We started implementing artificial intelligence in the back office, rolling it out on timekeeping, [invoicing], follow-up, and other financial areas as a way to make the work that we do more efficient.”
That efficiency has grown over time.
“We’ve now started rolling it out in clinical workspaces as well: sending nudges to physicians, letting them know when patients are due for specific tests or other things that we can do to speed up a patient’s discharge, so their length of stay in the hospital is reduced,” he states.
One thing that is clear is that NewYork-Presbyterian does not implement new technology just for the sake of doing so. Every decision leads toward achieving the goal of providing faster, better, and more efficient care to as many patients as possible.
“Telemedicine—over the past three years—with the support of NYP leadership, our trustees, and philanthropy has allowed us to invest in advanced technology as a way to provide that outstanding care.”
AI and telemedicine are the present and future of healthcare and NewYork-Presbyterian is at the forefront of utilizing those resources. During Daniel’s visit to Pace University, he discussed many of these innovations with the Seidenberg student community.
Daniel Barchi’s visit to the Seidenberg School was “fantastic.”
“I’m impressed by Pace and, particularly, the programs of the Seidenberg School. The quality of the students, the focus of the faculty and curriculum, and the idea that Pace is creating a learning environment which ties directly to the needs of New York and other institutions allows us to create this pool of advanced technologists who are ready to implement everything that they’ve learned at Pace in a real-world environment immediately.”
Daniel also took some time to discuss what this honor means to him and his team.
“I’m proud of what we’ve done, and I’m proud that we’re recognized by a great institution: Pace University, here in New York, for this advancement. I think that recognition like this is good because it encourages us to do more and it also highlights for other health systems what is possible.”
We will be honoring the achievements of Daniel’s team at the Seidenberg Innovation Awards on April 24th, where the IT group at NewYork-Presbyterian will receive the Innovation in Information Technology (IT) award.
The Seidenberg Innovation Awards (SIA) recognizes the remarkable work done by individuals and organizations in our community. Proceeds from the event will directly support our students as they progress into the “advanced technologists” Daniel described. Tickets, tables, and student sponsorships are available by clicking this link.
A paper written by Miguel Mosteiro, assistant professor of computer science and algorithms whiz at Pace University, was selected as best paper at ICALP 2018. Known internationally as one of the top theory conferences worldwide, the achievement is significant for Dr. Mosteiro and collaborator Dariusz Kowalski, a computer science expert from the University of Liverpool.
The paper, titled “Polynomial Counting in Anonymous Dynamic Networks with Applications to Anonymous Dynamic Algebraic Computations,” is just one of the results of a series of research that Miguel and collaborators, including Seidenberg students, have worked on over the past few years.
“It was during my research visit to the University of Bordeaux in 2015 when my host, Alessia Milani, made me aware of the Counting problem in Anonymous Dynamic Networks,” explains Miguel, who is based at Pace University’s Seidenberg School of Computer Science and Information Systems’ New York City campus. “At that point, the problem had already attracted a lot of attention because knowing the number of processors is fundamental for Distributed Computing, but the best upper bounds known on the running time were DOUBLY-exponential. Jointly with Alessia Milani, we improved the running time exponentially designing a novel protocol during that visit. Later on, my student Maitri Chakraborty showed experimentally that our protocol completes the computation in polynomial time, but not having a theoretical bound better than exponential we could not guarantee termination in practice. Anyway, this research was a first big step that resulted in three publications and university-wide researcher- and mentor- awards for my student and me.
“The interest on solving Counting in polynomial time continued, and by last year we were three research groups heavily working on it independently. During my 2017 summer visit to the University of Liverpool and the University of Wroclaw, I worked intensively with my host Dariusz Kowalski in designing a new Counting protocol. Our plan was to transform Incremental Counting so that we could apply Markov Chain analysis to bound the running time. There is always a magical moment in these developments and ours was when I was giving a talk to Kowalski’s students. Explaining the challenges of Counting, and what was the core technical difficulty, the key idea for a new protocol became apparent. Seminal ideas are fundamental but one still needs to work a lot on the technical details to realize them in theorems, which we did last Fall.”
Dr. Mosteiro and Dr. Kowalski presented the paper at ICALP 2018, which took place in Prague over summer, where the importance of the problem it addresses and the strength of the contribution will be recognized with the award for best paper.
The Chair of the Computer Science Department, Dr. Christelle Scharff, congratulated Miguel on the achievement, noting that it was a great achievement, mentioning “how prestigious it is!”
Seidenberg School Dean, Dr. Jonathan Hill, also offered his compliments: “We are, indeed, in the presence of greatness! Congratulations, Miguel, on this accomplishment.”
“We are very grateful,” says Miguel about the award, and added: “as I am for the support of Seidenberg School, SRC, and Kenan Fund. Without that support, I would not have been able to visit my colleagues and focus on this research.”
Congratulations Dr. Mosteiro! If the feedback from our students is anything to go by, there is a lot to be proud of!