Battle of the Bots at Pace University

If watching robots compete to complete tasks entices you, then you should’ve been at Pace University on February 10th. The 10th annual Hudson Valley NY FIRST Tech Challenge championship robotics tournament was held on Pace University’s Westchester campus. The day was full of challenges and innovation for middle and high school students from the Hudson Valley. Only one goal stayed in each of the students’ minds throughout the tournament: getting to the world championship.

The event, run by Dr. Richard Kline and Jill Olimpieri, hosted 27 high school-level teams. The competition brought together the region’s top qualifying teams and their robots to compete in a task-based challenge. Pace University has hosted the regional championship for several years.  Pace University, Pace University Athletics, and IBM sponsored the event.

According to the Hudson Valley NY FIRST Tech Challenge site, “Students in FTC design and build a robot using aluminum, polycarbonate, motors and servos, sensors, and a variety of other materials. They program and control it using Android Smartphones with Java or a Blocks-based graphical language.”

With exclusive scholarships open to competing students totaling more than $80 million, the stakes were high. The challenge to beat this year was “Rover Ruckus,” and teams battled to take the top spots.

According to Dr. Kline, “More than 40 current Pace students and about a dozen alumni, staff, and faculty participated in the event, comprising half of the 100 or so volunteers who banded together to run the competition under the guidance of volunteer coordinator and Seidenberg School staff member Jill Olimpieri. Students contributed in all areas of the competition, from setup and logistics to referees, judges, inspectors, and robot technical advisors.”

Pace students and faculty Sukun Li and Leanne Keeley volunteered as judges for the event. Students Jeana Cosenza, Kyle Hanson, Joel Thomas, and Zach Demeglio, among others, volunteered in various supporting roles. Dean Hill even made a special appearance to cheer on the teams and robots!

Fios 1 News covered the event, giving the young students the chance to feature their efforts on the local news. The coverage inspired and motivated the students to share their experiences and do their best.

At the end of the day, three teams came out on top and will move on to the world championship. Congratulations to Team 6567 – Roboraiders from Red Hook High School, Team 7486 – Suffern Robotics from Suffern Senior High School, and Team 8397 – Beta, from CCE Clinton County 4-H. We wish the best of luck to them at the world championship!

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Seidenberg goes to the International Conference on Information Systems

During the week of December 13th, 2018, several Seidenberg students and faculty traveled to San Francisco to attend the International Conference on Information Systems (ICIS). ICIS, the leading conference in the academic information systems field, is held annually in the middle of December at a new location. Seidenberg community members had the opportunity to travel to California for last year’s prestigious conference.

Attendees of the conference—Dr. Daniel Farkas, Dr. Namchul Shin, Dr. Li-Chou Chen, student Tianyu Wang, Dr. Yegin Genc, and Dr. Isaac Vaghefi—hosted workshops, presented talks, and papers, and won some pretty amazing awards.

Dr. Farkas and Dr. Shin hosted a GIS workshop during the conference. The half-day workshop on Location Analytics and Location of Things brought in scholars from around the world interested in this area to discuss their professional experiences and research.

Left to right: Dr. Namchul Shin, Dr. Dan Farkas and a colleague from University of Redlands, CA, who is one of the co-organizers of the workshop held at ICIS.

Dr. Farkas also worked with Dr. Chen to present a TREO talk on the topic of “Individual Attitude, Trust, and Risk Perception towards Blockchain Technology, Virtual Currency Exchange, Cryptocurrency Transactions and Smart Contracts.” This talk opened up dialogue about each of these subjects at the conference.

Tianyu, who is in the process of obtaining a Ph.D., presented a paper, co-authored with Dr. Chen and Dr. Genc, titled “An N-gram-based Approach for Detecting Social Media Spambots.” Tianyu won the Doctoral Research Award from the PRE-ICIS SIGDSA symposium for the paper.

Lastly, and most impressively, Dr. Vaghefi won an award for the highly competitive “Paper-A-Thon,” in which he competed against 15 international teams. The paper submitted by Dr. Vaghefi, “DIGITAL DETOX? Understanding Users’ Abstinence from Social Network Sites Use,” was selected as the best paper to be presented at the conference. Overall, the paper “embeds a series of mixed-method studies to understand how social network users can take a break from technology and its positive outcomes,” according to Dr. Vaghefi.

With Tianyu’s Doctoral Research Award and Dr. Vaghefi’s winning “DIGITAL DETOX?” paper, Seidenberg had some major wins at the ICIS. The Seidenberg community continues to create leaders in the information systems field.

If you’re interested in attending the ICIS this coming December, get in touch with one of the previously mentioned faculty members and get started on your ideas!

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The wait is over: The NYC Master Plan is finished!

Pace University unveiled the long-awaited NYC Master Plan’s revitalization of One Pace Plaza and 41 Park Row on Jan. 28 with a crowd of students, staff, and benefactors in attendance. After a few speeches and cheers from the audience, the ribbon—covered with golden Pace logos, of course—was cut, officially opening the space up to the Pace community. The master plan project, which was completed by FXCollaborative and Sciame construction, began in 2017 just as President Krislov started his term as Pace University’s President. About a year and a half later, the new building now holds a variety of revamped spaces. A new school store, multiple conference rooms, study lounges, elevators, and a small food station now reside in the immense and beautiful building. The unveiling showed off all of these new spaces to the public.

The excitement of the ribbon cutting spread throughout everyone attendance at the unveiling. The event started off with few speeches by President Krislov and others who brought this project to life.

President Krislov’s words rang through the room: “Here in One Pace Plaza, we entirely transformed the place, creating state-of-the-art new learning facilities and student spaces. We opened up walls, opening Pace University to our community. It looks fantastic—and it looks to our future.”

A new conference room within the space.

As soon as the ribbon was cut, a mass of Pace Performing Arts Dance students flooded the room and danced to entertain the audience. Immediately after its completion, attendees flooded into the new space to check everything out. Refreshments and snacks were served, more Pace Performing Arts students kept the crowd entertained with musical entertainment, and totes were handed out as a small gift to those who attended.We will remember this event for a long while because it celebrated a new space for students to grow and create. With the Pace community growing, it’s nice to see that the spaces are growing with it. Check out the new space as soon as possible, because once you check it out, you won’t want to leave.

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Pace University Seidenberg students visit IBM for artificial intelligence insights

On October 24th, students from Pace University’s Seidenberg School of Computer Science and Information Systems visited the IBM TJ Watson Research Center for an eye-opening field trip into the world of research and tech.

The audience in attendance included faculty, undergraduate and graduate students. One of these students attending was Charlotte Coffin, a senior majoring in computer science, who is currently working on her honors thesis titled, “An Introduction to Quantum Computing using the Number Guessing Game on QISKit.” QISKit is IBM’s open source platform for quantum computing, so the trip was particularly useful for Charlotte!

Student, Charlotte Coffin.

During the trip, students learned about the types of research taking place at IBM and identified potential research collaboration opportunities. IBM’s researchers discussed technological topics including quantum computing, blockchain, IoT wearables, artificial intelligence, and big data analytics.

Students spent the day in Thinklabs, research rooms, and with IBM professionals who introduced them to the real-world version of what they are studying at Pace University. For many students, getting an inside look at a company like IBM was a glimpse at the future.

Tianyu Wang, a PhD Computer Science student nearing graduation, noted that the trip was “a really great experience.” 

“The researchers at the Research Center work on speech recognition, machine learning, natural language understanding, and information retrieval products, among others,” said Tianyu. “I particularly appreciated witnessing the collaborative working environment. The company supports various researchers that work in both small and large teams. I can see the researchers had a great time doing their work; most [of] them were absolutely top-notch and super-accessible and friendly.” 

Tianyu, along with the rest of the group in attendance, also had the chance to see an innovative project in the works by IBM: artificial intelligence generating movie trailers.

“An example of a recent artificial intelligence research project is generating movie trailers automatically using machine learning algorithms,” Tianyu explained. “After training a couple of movies with label data, the program can generate a trailer automatically, within one day. This approach saves the cost of producing a trailer. Through this example, I could certainly see the real implementation of supervised learning solutions, and how artificial intelligence can impact the business.”  

Andreea Cotoranu, Assistant Dean of Academic Innovation at Pace University, highlighted how grateful she and her students were for the field trip opportunity.

 “The Seidenberg School is grateful for its dedicated adjunct faculty, especially Professor Stephan Barabasi, as well as for the passionate and generous team at the IBM Research Center for continuing to facilitate collaboration and discussion on key research topics and promote continued learning within the Seidenberg faculty and student body,” she said.

The IBM trip was another fantastic learning experience provided by the Seidenberg School of Computer Science and Information Systems. Keep your eyes peeled for future events with major technology companies!

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ICYMI: The Seidenberg Tech Leadership Series Fall 2018

There was an exciting lineup at Pace University’s Seidenberg School of Computer Science and Information Systems on both the New York City and Westchester campuses during Fall 2018: the Tech Leadership Series! The speakers at the events ranged from the Seidenberg School’s benefactor himself – Ivan Seidenberg – to the chief information officer at Cadillac, Lesley Ma. Students had the opportunity to hear from industry professionals over the duration of the semester. Here’s a recap ICYMI:

Jeff Coffin, “Embedded Linux: What the Heck is it?”

On Oct. 25, Jeff Coffin spoke at the New York City campus at 163 William Street. The Software and Systems Engineer at AJA Video Systems, Inc. appeared in conversation with his daughter, Seidenberg student Charlotte Coffin, to chat about embedded linux (and what the heck it is). Students had the opportunity to speak with Jeff about his many years of experience in the technology industry and network with him as well.

Ivan Seidenberg, “Verizon Untethered: An Insider’s Story of Innovation and Disruption”

The next event took place at the New York City campus on Nov. 8, and this was an exclusive event for all Seidenberg students. Mr. Ivan Seidenberg himself was at the Seidenberg Lounge for a discussion on his book detailing his tenure at Verizon. The former Chairman and CEO of the telecommunications company spoke on the topic titled, “Verizon Untethered: An Insider’s Story of Innovation and Disruption.” The first students at the event had the opportunity to receive a copy of his book.
Peggy Yao, Tech Collective Lunch & Learn: Mindfulness for Professional & Personal Success

On Wednesday, November 14, the Westchester campus hosted the third segment of the leadership series at Goldstein Academic Center. Special guest, Peggy Yao, spoke about mindfulness at the Seidenberg Tech Collective meeting. Mindfulness is a topic not often associated with the technology industry. Students were able to learn tips for a more mindful outlook, network with Peggy, and – as always – enjoy lunch on us.

Lesley Ma, Global Chief Information Officer for Cadillac

On Tuesday, November 27, the Global Chief Information Officer (CIO) for Cadillac at General Motors, Lesley Ma, spoke at the New York City campus. Lesley shared her experiences as a leader at a global firm and fielded questions from students about her career so far. Students received plenty of tips and advice about marketing themselves for cool opportunities and got to network with an industry superstar. We were so excited to present our students with this great opportunity to network and learn from an industry leader.

Merin Joseph, WESTMED Practice Partners and WESTMED Medical Group

The next event in the series was on November 28 at the Westchester campus. Series speaker, Merin Joseph, gave insider experience from her position as Executive Vice President and Chief Information Officer at WESTMED Practice Partners and WESTMED Medical Group. Students joined in on this event to get networking experience and tips on how to succeed in their chosen fields. Merin shared a wealth of knowledge earned throughout an exciting career.

Daniel Barchi, Chief Information Officer for New York-Presbyterian Hospital

On Wednesday, December 12, the Chief Information Officer of NewYork-Presbyterian, Daniel Barchi, spoke on the New York City campus for a discussion and networking session with students. We were happy to present our students with this great opportunity to network and learn from an industry leader in the medical and technological fields. Daniel gave a frank and fascinating recounting of his experience as a leader in a dynamic industry, including some exciting stories about narrowly avoided crises.
Did you attend any of our events? We’d love to hear what you thought – and if you have any suggestions on who to invite next, give us a shout in the comments or on social media!

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Join us at the Seidenberg annual Holiday parties!

Ready for winter vacation? Celebrate the last few days of the semester with the Seidenberg community at one (or both!) of our holiday parties! Whether you’re finished with finals or still experiencing the struggle, take some time for self-care and spend a couple of hours with friends, food, and festivities.

New York City campus

Wednesday, Dec. 19

4:30-6:00pm

Seidenberg Lounge, 163 William St, 2nd floor

Register for the NYC celebration here

Pleasantville campus

Thursday, Dec. 20

1:00-3:00pm

Seidenberg Lounge, Goldstein Academic Center

Exclusively at the PLV party, we will be having a White Elephant gift exchange. If you want to participate, bring a wrapped gift of no more than $15 value and enjoy the carnage.

Everyone is welcome, so bring your friends and spend some stress-free time with your Seidenberg family.

We’re wishing everyone a wonderful holiday season and a great winter break. See you all in the new year!

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