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  PARK BENCH eNEWS

The Park Bench eNews is published by the Rensselaer Technology Park Campus Office.The eNews features articles and press releases involving Park companies and organizations, RPI in the news, special offers, invites and general information of interest to the Technology Park community.
December 19, 2016                                                                 Vol 3  Issue 9

Happy Holidays!
from the
Rensselaer Technology Park Campus 

In The News
Rensselaer Data Project Addresses Childhood Stunting in Developing Nations

Rensselaer has received a grant of $993,384 from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation for continuing work on a novel data visualization platform that will harness and accelerate the analysis of vast amounts of data for the foundation’s Healthy Birth, Growth, and Development Knowledge Integration initiative.

The Healthy Birth, Growth, and Development Knowledge Integration (HBGDki) initiative aims to facilitate collaboration between researchers, quantitative experts, and policy makers in the search to identify the root causes and best solutions for addressing the serious problem of childhood stunting in developing nations.

According to the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), more than a quarter of children under age 5 worldwide are permanently “stunted” due to malnutrition and other factors that are still poorly understood. Impaired growth and development are complex, multidisciplinary problems that involve diverse issues including nutritional deficiencies, environmental exposures, infectious diseases, water, and sanitation conditions.

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Rensselaer and Hudson Valley FLL Hosts FIRST LEGO League Robotics Tournament for Area Students

Can you think of people and animals as allies in the quest to make life better for everyone? Just ask the 12 elementary and middle school teams from the Capital Region that competed in the FIRST LEGO League (FLL) Regional Qualifying Tournament on Dec. 10 at Rensselaer). More than 120 students have been working together to use their imaginations and creativity in combination with science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) to seek explore how to make their interactions with animals better and hopefully improve those interactions for all of us.

The global FLL competition was brought to the region for the ninth time through a partnership between Rensselaer, Hudson Valley FLL, and NY Tech Valley FIRST sponsors.

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Remembering the Sounds of the World’s Most Iconic Deep Listening Pioneer: Pauline Oliveros

Deep Listening is a creative, meditative practice developed by one of America’s most important composers of the 20th and 21st century, Pauline Oliveros, who served as distinguished research professor of music in the School of Humanities, Arts, and School Sciences. 

Pauline Oliveros was a pioneer of Deep Listening, “a form of meditation that opens an expanded world of sound that helps students with learning in all disciplines.”

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Rensselaer Team Is Finalist in $2.5 Million Amazon Alexa Prize

A team from Rensselaer has been selected by Amazon to receive sponsorship for competing in the inaugural $2.5 million Amazon Alexa Prize competition. The 2016-2017 competition focuses on the challenge of building a socialbot that can converse coherently and engagingly with users.

In October 2016 Amazon received over 100 applications from leading universities across 22 countries, and selected 12 teams based on “the potential scientific contribution to the field, the technical merit of the approach, the novelty of the idea, and the team’s ability to execute against their plan.” Each of the 12 sponsored teams will receive a $100,000 stipend, Alexa-enabled devices, free Amazon Web Services (AWS) to support their development efforts, and support from the Alexa Skills Kit (ASK) team.

The RPI team, “Wise Macaw” (previously named BAKA bot), is aimed at building a chatbot that can leverage “storytelling technologies” to engage in long-term social interactions with users. In a statement, the team explained its project as follows:

“Our motivation stems from companionship as a fundamental human desire. Our goal is to build a virtual companion—an emotionally intelligent bot that can converse with a human. The bot will use its personality, humor, and information obtained from online knowledge resources to engage its human partner on both the emotional and practical levels. Our companion bot will bond with its users and make the user-experience as lifelike as possible.”

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The 7th Annual Rensselaer Technology Park Campus Food Drive Collected Over
850 Pounds of Food! 

Santa and 2 reindeer collecting a box of food donations at 3M.
Photo by: Anissa Hochberg 

A Big Thank You to everyone who donated food for our
7th Annual Food Drive!


This year the donated food went to the The Food Pantries for the Capital District. They are a coalition of 56 pantries working to together to feed the hungry. The food will be distributed to those food banks most in need. 

Tech Connect

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Wishing You A Happy Holiday And A Joyous New Year!
Snowy sunset at the Rensselaer Technology Park Campus.
Nicole Anuszewski is the publisher of the Park Bench eNews. If your organization has any news or upcoming events to share in the newsletter, please respond directly to this email or email Nicole at anuszn@rpi.edu
Copyright © 2016 Rensselaer Technology Park Campus, All rights reserved.


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