November 12, 2013
Washington DC
Request an Invite BOOK A ROOM

Innovation Summit

at the 2013 TopCoder Open!

November 12, 2013
Washington DC



Albert Yu-Min Lin

Albert Yu-Min Lin’s explorations are groundbreaking, because they never break ground. He uses noninvasive computer based technologies to gather, synthesize, and visualize data without disturbing a blade of grass.

“Exploration has always been about going where we haven’t been able to go before,” Lin notes. “Environmental, cultural, or political obstacles may have prevented us from exploring certain places. Today technology helps us navigate past those old barriers.” For Lin, cutting-edge tools such as satellite imagery, ground-penetrating radar, and remote sensors permit him to make archaeological discoveries while respecting the traditional beliefs of indigenous people.

“It’s all about using technologies in ways they weren’t originally intended,” explains Lin. “We can apply tools that were created for entirely different fields to search for something else—in my case, archaeological artifacts. I’m building on the foundational work of many pioneers.”

Today Lin and other researchers from a cross section of fields have at their fingertips a veritable high-tech toy store. It’s called the California Institute for Telecommunications and Information Technology (Calit2). Created by the University of California to foster interdisciplinary collaboration, it allows Lin to access an unparalleled array of digital 3-D immersive technologies and then link his efforts to those of other scientists

A case in point is Lin’s search for the tomb of Genghis Khan, a quest that has eluded scientists and historians for centuries. Many Mongolians consider the tomb an extremely sacred place and believe any desecration of it could trigger a curse that would end the world.

“Using traditional archeological methods would be disrespectful to believers,” Lin says. “The ability to explore in a noninvasive way lets us try to solve this ancient secret without overstepping cultural barriers. It also allows us to empower Mongolian researchers with tools they might not have access to otherwise. Today’s world still benefits from Genghis Kahn’s ability to connect East with West. He forged international relations that have never been broken. By locating his tomb, we hope to emphasize how important it is for the world to protect such cultural heritage treasures.”

Lin’s passion for exploring and preserving “our collective cultural heritage” was inspired by his last ten adventurous summers spent trekking solo through Pakistan, Cambodia, China, Tibet, Mongolia, and other remote regions.

Still eager for time in the field, Lin investigates sites with a high-tech tool kit that leverages photographs taken firsthand on the ground, images gathered from satellites and unmanned aircraft, GPS tracks from expeditions, and geophysical instruments. “There are many ways to look under the ground without having to touch it,” he observes. Thermal-imaging systems show what lies below by detecting heat signals and patterns emitted from the Earth. Magnetometry uses the Earth’s magnetic field to pinpoint subterranean clues as microscopic as bacteria in decaying wood. Ground-penetrating radar bounces back images revealing subsurface objects or disturbances. Tiny remote wireless sensors collect data from places no human can go.

“These new approaches could benefit all kinds of projects, from gaining a whole new view of regions like Mongolia to tracking animal migrations to mapping the brain,” notes Lin. “The real trick is synthesizing the vast amounts of information we collect into something that can be understood. My colleagues and I use visualization techniques to sort, relate, and cross-link billions of individual data bits. We program it all into a file that allows us to re-render it into a digital 3-D world.”

To enter that world, open the door to the Star Cave.

The Star Cave is a totally immersive virtual reality room that lets scientists and historians navigate, fly, and manipulate their way through landscapes. Backlit screens project images on the ground, walls, and on every surface of the enclosure, while special eyewear creates the 3-D effect. Virtual explorers zoom over mountains, down slopes—and yes, Lin admits, “it’s really fun.” (The sensation proved so potentially dizzying, handrails had to be installed.)

“If a mountain is described in an old text, I can go into the room and travel around that region to see if it actually exists.” Lin says. If the technology data trail leads him to Genghis Khan’s tomb, he can then rebuild each tiny point of information into a huge virtual matrix, designing a virtual recreation of the discovery.

“Society tells us we each have one single path we can walk. But I’ve always been interested both in the science and the humanities. My family encouraged me to follow all those dreams, and that’s exactly what the work I explore now lets me do.”

Pondering the power of new technologies, Lin offers, “Exploration is part of it, but another big aspect is conservation. In many ways technology has created problems for our planet. One of the greatest things we can do is better use these tools to actually give back to the planet—preserving wildlife, cultures, history, and habitats. I think we have to decide why progress is important. Is it just to become faster, better human computers—or to become more human?”


Andrew McAfee

Andrew McAfee is the Associate Director and Principal Research Scientist at the MIT Center for Digital Business. His research investigates how information technology (IT) changes the way companies perform, organize themselves, and compete. At a higher level, his work also focuses on how computerization affects competition, society, the economy, and the workforce.

He is widely published, and has several times been named one of the most influential people in technology. He has held appointments as a professor at Harvard Business School and Harvard’s Berkman Center for Internet and Society. He has two Bachelor of Science and two Master of Science degrees from MIT, and a doctorate from Harvard Business School.

His recent work includes the ebook Race Against the Machine and Harvard Business Review article “Big Data: The Management Revolution,” both co-authored with Erik Brynjolfsson


Jack Andraka

Jack Andraka, is a 16 year old sophomore at North County High School and lives in Crownsville, Maryland. At age 15 he developed a novel paper sensor that could detect pancreatic, ovarian, and lung cancer in 5 minutes for as little as 3 cents.He won the Gordon E. Moore top prize at Intel International Science and Engineering Fair and the Smithsonian Ingenuity Award. His research was conducted at Johns Hopkins University. He is also on the national junior wildwater kayaking team, has won awards at multiple national and international math competitions, and enjoys playing with his dog and folding origami.


Angela Maiers

Angela Maiers is an award-winning educator, speaker, consultant and professional trainer known for her work in literacy, leadership and global communications.

She is an alumnus of The University of Iowa and has her masters degrees in educational supervision and reading from the University of Iowa and has spent 22 years working in Elementary, Middle and University settings as a classroom teacher, reading specialist, coach, special programs facilitator, and University Professor.

Today, Angela is at the forefront of New Literacy and Web 2.0 technologies. An active blogger and social media evangelist, she deeply committed to helping learners of all ages understand the transformational power and potential of technology as a vehicle and platform for their success in school and beyond.

Angela’s intimate knowledge of teaching and learning, down-to-earth style, and powerful message of literacy as change have made her a highly sought after keynote speaker and a vibrant courageous voice in both the business and education space. Her latest books, The Habitudes and The Passion Driven Classroom have inspired readers everywhere with lessons and ideas necessary to find their way on the social web and this newly flattened world.

As owner and lead consultant at Maiers Educational Services, using her passion for literacy and technology to discover creative ways to assist schools and organizations in meeting their learning and productivity goals.

When she is not at home in Clive, Iowa, spending time with her husband and two teenage children, you will find her on blog or on Twitter at @angelamaiers; her favorite space for thinking, creating, and pushing the scope of her imagination and learning.

Blog –

Twitter –

Friendfeed –


Jason HeadsetsDotCom

From drawing on walls with crayons as a kid to eventually graduating from the University of North Florida with a degree in Graphic Design, Jason Sadler has always been creative. In 2008 he recognized the growing influence of social media and decided he could utilize these platforms in a new and unique way, by get paid to wear sponsored t-shirts for a living. Each day, Jason represented a different company online using social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Ustream and Flickr. During the past five years, IWearYourShirt has grown to multiple shirt wearers located across the country. Jason’s worked with professional sports organizations, advertising agencies, Fortune 500s, co-owned a web design company, and sold his last name for 2013. Jason lives at the beach in Jacksonville, Florida which gives him the freedom to wear t-shirts 365 days out of the year with his Staffordshire Bull Terrier named Plaxico.


Dr. Rafael Grossmann

Dr. Rafael Grossmann, MD is a General, Trauma, Laparoscopic, and Robotic Surgeon/Singularity U-FutureMed Grad / mHealth innovator. He is also a Google Glass Explorer who performed the 1st surgery with Google Glass & uses it in medical education. Dr. Grossmann believes that Glass represents the natural evolution of the Human-Computer interface. The future potential of this device in Healthcare is limited only by our imagination.

Focused in the convergence of innovation-technology, futurism & healthcare social media (HCSM) to improve healthcare delivery, Dr. Grossmann firmly believes that telemedicine, m-Health technology and healthcare social media will, very soon, completely redefine the way in which healthcare is delivered. Innovation in the application of remote presence to provide medical care, will cause a complete disruption of paradigms and allow for a better system. He is also part of Stanford’s University MOOC, Mobile Health Without Borders.


The TopCoder Innovation Summit will take place on Tuesday, November 12th from 7:30am-6pm.

Time Event
7:00am Breakfast and Check In
8:00am Opening Remarks from Narinder Singh, Co-founder, Appirio and President, TopCoder
8:45am Albert Lin, Research Scientist
9:30am Andrew McAfee, Futurist and Author ‘Race Against the Machines’
10:15am Coffee Break and networking
10:45am Angela Maiers, award-winning educator, speaker, consultant and professional trainer
11:15am Jason HeadSetsDotCom, Social Content Marketing Innovator
11:45am Break for networking and lunch
12:00pm Lunch
1:15pm Rafael Grossmann, MD Surgeon and Google Glass Experimenter
2:00pm 2013 TopCoder Open Arena Tour
3:30pm Jack Andraka, 16 Year Old Health Entrepreneur and Innovator
4:15pm Q&A and networking
6:00pm Dinner
November 12, 2013
Washington DC
Request an Invite BOOK A ROOM


TopCoder Innovation Summit 2013 – Innovation Rebels with a Cause

Innovation takes risk. Yes, of course utilizing new technologies and tactics – like Open Innovation and Crowdsourcing – can reduce risk and allow you to take more proverbial swings, but it never removes the fact that at some point you will be staring outwardly from the edge of your nest, and in that moment you will either decide to leap or retreat back to the perception of comfort. Nothing gained, nothing ventured. There is a reason that saying is still famous.

At the 2013 TopCoder Innovation Summit we will be focusing on stories of venturing into the unknown. The focus won’t be technology per se, but rather the humans behind these tales, what they have endured, how they inched closer to the edge, and then leapt. They have lessons, they have tales like none other and in some cases; they are literally changing the world.

At some point, you will find yourself on the edge of innovation with a decision to make. Come join us at the 2013 TopCoder Innovation Summit, and get prepared to take your leap.

November 12, 2013
Washington DC
Request an Invite BOOK A ROOM


Past Events

Florida 2012
October 2, 2012
Caribe Royale
Orlando, Florida
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