Professors present bold ideas at TEDx

On Saturday, April 7, Tech hosted TEDx, a program of local, self-organized events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience, where x means that the event is independently organized. TEDTalks are 20-minute presentations of single ideas.

At TEDxGeorgiaTech, TEDTalks combined video and live speakers to spark discussion and connection in a small group. The event was hosted at the newly-renovated Academy of Medicine and lasted from mid-morning to late afternoon.

TEDxGeorgiaTech featured seven speakers, all Tech faculty member, who each addressed the audience about their area of expertise.

Mark Guzdial, a professor in the College of Computing, discussed the key links between education and computing. Another speaker, Dr. David Hu, an assistant professor in the School of Mechanical Engineering, spoke on the delicate balances present in nature and the mechanisms that various species have evolved to adapt to their surroundings.

Throughout the day, a variety of subject areas were covered, ranging from Computer Musical Composition to Human-Robotic Interaction and NeuroEngineering.

TEDx programs, while bearing the TED name, are unaffiliated with well known TEDTalks.

Licensed by TED to bear the TED stamp of approval, the TEDx programs are locally-funded, third-party events that must conform to a strict series of guidelines to ensure they replicate the TEDTalks.

“TEDx is an independently organized TED event,” said Sharad Gopal, TEDx founder and a fourth-year ISyE major.

Gopal first attempted to start up an independent student organization similar to TEDx  in 2010, but failed to find success.

“That died down because we didn’t get enough momentum, so we switched to doing TEDx, because no one else at Tech was doing it at that time” Gopal said.

Gopal thinks that the science and technology focus of the Institute makes TEDx and Tech a perfect match .

“You have amazing research going on in these research labs, and only the people involved know about it, or you just hear random tidbits on the Tech website,” Gopal said.

With so many researchers conducting ground-breaking research, Gopal feels that TEDx has the opportunity to play a an important role at the Institute.

“[TEDxGeorgiaTech connects] professors with the students,” Gopal said. “We hope that TEDx will be an ongoing thing at Tech, where we have a bunch of cool people sharing their ideas and having discussions about those ideas.”