Carnegie Mellon University
March 07, 2019


By Laura Kelly

Jason Maderer
  • Marketing and Communications
  • 412-268-1151

Carnegie Mellon University students, faculty and alumni will be among the thousands descending onto Austin, Texas, for South by Southwest (SXSW) 2019. From panel discussions to CMU-specific programing, Carnegie Mellon will touch a wide range of this year's SXSW topics.

The Masters of Entertainment Management (MEIM) program, which is a joint program between the Heinz College of Information Systems and Public Policy and the College of Fine Arts, is once again creating exclusive content for their first-year students, who attend SXSW as a part of the program's curriculum.

"As a student, I am looking forward to attending the mentor sessions," said Mohammed Madraswala, a first-year MEIM student. "I think it's a great opportunity to interact with some of the most brilliant minds in the industry and get some guidance for the future."

CMU's Jason Maderer and Bill Lyon take you on a tour of Sony's Wow Studio at SXSW, featuring CMU spinoff companies HEBI Robotics and Zensors.

Carnegie Mellon faculty members also will be presenting their research at the nexus of technology and humanity.

John Zimmerman, the Tang Family Professor of Artificial Intelligence and Human Computer Interaction, joins a panel for "Accessible Transportation for All" from 2-3 p.m. on March 12. Along with Bonnie Epstein, senior planner for the Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority; Kate Hartman, chief-Research, Evaluation, and Program Management in the ITS Joint Program Office at the U.S. Department of Transportation; and Maria Town, of the Mayor's office for People with Disabilities in Houston, Zimmerman will talk about the work being done to approve accessibility to public transit for persons with disabilities.

"Technology is making it more and more possible," Zimmerman said. "There's particularly a lot of work in the space of universal design. Can you make designs that privilege people who have higher needs, but the solutions benefit all riders?"

Lining Yao also takes her research to Austin for the session "Morphing into the Future: 'Shapeshifter' Materials."

Yao's research produces programmable materials able to change shapes. Yao gave the example of pasta that can ship flat and takes its shape in boiling water.

"You can almost save 62 percent of packaging space for macaroni if you pack them flat," Yao said. "You can imagine that food could not only be sold in super markets, but also could be rapidly deployed to disaster sites and even in the future go on space travel. Space saving becomes an even more important issue when we talk about eating in a space ship that has to travel three years going to Mars."

Christoph Mertz, a principal project scientist in the Robotics Institute, also serves as the chief scientist of RoadBotics, a company that uses artificial intelligence and smartphones to monitor roads to help governments and engineering firms make data-driven decisions.

"RoadBotics is a smaller example of a greater trend of using artificial intelligence to replace menial work that it can do systematically," Mertz said. "By that, you can increase transparency and equity."

RoadBotics is a finalist in the SXSW Pitch competition, taking place on Sunday, March 10.

Dozens of Carnegie Mellon alumni will be taking the stage at SXSW, and Carnegie Mellon will be there to cover it all. Follow #CMUatSXSW for the latest on social media, and check back to for more videos, podcasts and stories coming out of Austin.

— #CMUatSXSW —

— CMU Presenters —

Friday, March 8

4 p.m.
StartUp Crawl

Saturday, March 9

11 a.m.
John Cohn Prioritizing Play in an Automated Age
Faimont Manchester EFG

11 a.m. 
Joshua Baer Austinpreneur: The Texas Startup Manifesto 
Hilton Auston Downtown Salon C

12:30 p.m.: 
Joshua Baer Austinpreneur: Life-saving Data in Action
Hilton Austin Downtown Salon C

Tria Chang & Justine Lee Designing Dinner to Bridge the Political Divide 
Westin Downtown Paramount 3

Marco Demiroz Pitch Competition 
Hilton Austin Downtown Salon DE

Sunday, March 10

11 a.m.
Roadbotics Pitch 
Hilton Austin Downtown 

Monday, March 11

11 a.m.
Amy Millman and Cindy Padnos Turning the Tables: Entrepreneur to Investor 
Hilton Austin Downtown Salon E 

12:30 p.m. 
Edmund Chow Moment to Make: Analog in a Digital Landscape
Westin Austin Downtown Paramount 3

12:30 p.m. 
Jennifer Jackson and Lauren States Take Control of your Career Through Self-Advocacy

Tobin McDaniel Stirring the Pot: Disruption Deconstructed
Courtyard Marriott Rio Grande Ballroom

Tuesday, March 12

9:30 a.m.
Jeffrey Pfeffer Next Great Awakening in Healthcare: The Workplace
JW Marriott Salon H 

9:30 a.m. 
Lining Yao Morphing into the Future: "Shapeshifter" Materials
Fairmont Manchester EFG

11 a.m.
Sandy Carter Unconscious bias in Machine Learning Isn't Funny TBD

12:30 p.m. 
Blame our Brains: Overcoming the Ignoring of Warming Oceans
Hilton Austin Downtown Salon B

3 p.m.
John Zimmerman
Courtyard Marriott Rio Grand Ballroom

Wednesday, March 13

11 a.m.
James Rogers Cultivating the Next Generation of Food Leaders
JW Marriott Salon C

11 a.m.
Malcolm Ong How AI Has and Will Impact the News Media Industry
JW Marriott Salon E