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Military officials, ex Spotify data chief set for Pitt computer modeling conference

Aaron Aupperlee
| Thursday, May 17, 2018, 8:24 a.m.
The Cathedral of Learning on the University of Pittsburgh campus in Oakland
Keith Srakocic/AP
The Cathedral of Learning on the University of Pittsburgh campus in Oakland

Computer models direct the health care we receive, the way our country fights wars and the music we listen to.

Top military officials, expert computer scientists, doctors and the former head of data at Spotify will be the speakers next week during the University of Pittsburgh School of Computing and Information's Modeling the World's Systems conference next week.

The conference marks the one-year anniversary of the founding of the Pitt school. The school studies how computer models, big data, artificial intelligence, machine learning and other analytical tools can help scientists, researchers and policy makers tackle the world's most complicated problems. Paul Cohen, a former program manager in DARPA's Information Innovation Office, is the founding dean of the school.

The conference is Monday and Tuesday at the Pittsburgh Marriott City Center on Washington Place near PPG Paints Arena. The conference is free but registration is required.

Major Gen. Jody J. Daniels, the chief of staff of U.S. Army Forces Command and other military officials will appear on a panel about the global and national security challenges presented by computer modeling. Steve Shapiro, an executive vice president at UPMC, will join health experts from Pitt and Harvard to talk about the role modeling plays in health care. Don Burke, the dean of the Graduate School of Public Health at Pitt will lead a discussion about modeling the opioid epidemic.

Other speakers include Andrew Moore, the dean of Carnegie Mellon University's School of Computer Science; Joshua Elliott, who works in the same office that Cohen did at DARPA, and Adam Bly, the former head of data at Spotify.

Aaron Aupperlee is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at, 412-336-8448 or via Twitter @tinynotebook.

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