x = independently organized TED event

Theme: A Better Tomorrow

This event occurred on
October 25, 2013
2:30pm - 6:00pm EDT
(UTC -4hrs)
New York, NY
United States

In the spirit of ideas worth spreading, TEDx is a program of local, self-organized events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience. At a TEDx event, TEDTalks video and live speakers combine to spark deep discussion and connection in a small group. These local, self-organized events are branded TEDx, where x = independently organized TED event. The TED Conference provides general guidance for the TEDx program, but individual TEDx events are self-organized (subject to certain rules and regulations).

Miller Theatre
2960 Broadway
New York, NY, 10027
United States
Event type:
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Speakers may not be confirmed. Check event website for more information.

Shree Nayar

Shree K. Nayar is the T. C. Chang Professor of Computer Science at Columbia University. He heads the Columbia Vision Laboratory (CAVE), which develops advanced computer vision systems. His research is focused on three areas - the creation of novel cameras that provide new forms of visual information, the design of physics based models for vision and graphics, and the development of algorithms for understanding scenes from images. His work is motivated by applications in the fields of digital imaging, computer graphics, robotics and human-computer interfaces. Nayar received his PhD degree in Electrical and Computer Engineering from the Robotics Institute at Carnegie Mellon University. For his inventions, research contributions and teaching he has received several honors including the David Marr Prize (1990 and 1995), the David and Lucile Packard Fellowship (1992), the National Young Investigator Award (1993), the NTT Distinguished Scientific Achievement Award (1994), the Keck Foundation Award for Excellence in Teaching (1995), the Columbia Great Teacher Award (2006), and the Carnegie Mellon Alumni Achievement Award (2009). For his pioneering work on computer vision and computational imaging, he was elected to the National Academy of Engineering in 2008 and to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2011.

Matthew Jones

Matthew L. Jones specializes in the history of science and technology, focused on early modern Europe and on recent information technologies. He chairs the Committee on the Core and Contemporary Civilization. A Guggenheim Fellow for 2012-13 and a Mellon New Directions fellow for 2012-15, he is researching Data Mining: The Critique of Artificial Reason, 1963-2005, a historical and ethnographic account of "big data," its relation to statistics and machine learning, and its growth as a fundamental new form of technical expertise in business and scientific research. Based on research funded by the National Science Foundation, he is finishing a philosophical, technical and labor history of calculating machines from Pascal to Babbage. His publications include: "Improvement for Profit: Calculating Machines and the Prehistory of Intellectual Property," in Mario Biagioli and Jessica Riskin, eds., Nature Engaged: Science in Practice from the Renaissance to the Present (Palgrave-MacMillan, forthcoming); The Good Life in the Scientific Revolution (University of Chicago Press, 2006); "Descartes's Geometry as Spiritual Exercise," Critical Inquiry, 28 (2001).

Pete Soderling

Pete Soderling is the founder of Hakka Labs, an international community of open-source software engineers. He is a self-taught engineer who has developed online platforms & applications since the very early days of the internet. Since 2004, Pete has been a serial tech entrepreneur in NYC and the San Francisco Bay Area and has built engineering teams for each business he has started, including Stratus Security. Stratus built a turn-key, cloud-based solution that helps data providers easily distribute data to their partners, also handling data metering, monitoring and security. Before Stratus, Pete founded and was the CEO of mechanikal, an industry-leading software development agency that specialized in the development of secure Internet applications for mobile devices, desktops and the web. Over the course of the last five years Pete has worked as an engineering ambassador for companies like Amazon, Tumblr, IHeartRadio, eBay, and NBC Universal helping them build their technical teams and attract top engineering talent. Pete holds his B.S. in Information Systems Management from New York University where he graduated with honors. Pete's current venture is Hakka Labs, where he is building a platform that creates original content, resources and training events to help software engineers level up their skills. With 20 years experience in technology, Pete epitomizes his belief in Marc Andreessen's quote that "software is eating the world," as he continuously dedicates himself to his passion

Chris Wiggins

Chris Wiggins is an associate professor of applied mathematics at Columbia University and co-founder of hackNY. He is a member of the faculty in the School of Engineering and Applied Science, and is a founding member of both the Institute for Data Sciences and Engineering, and the Department of Systems Biology. His research is at the intersection of data science and the natural sciences, particularly biology.

The Elmyr String Quartet

The Elmyr Quartet brings zeal and enthusiasm to repertoire from classical to contemporary. The quartets international membership enjoys a diverse melange of cultural backgrounds and musical training, informing their playing with elements of the American and European quartet traditions. Born in 2013, in its first season the quartet will perform concerts in Rhode Island, Connecticut, and in its native New York City. The quartet members are Karen Dekker, Cecee Pantikian (violins), Michael Davis (viola), and Benjamin Larsen (cello).

Michael Slaby

Michael Slaby is among the world's leaders in digital and social media strategy, technology, and how together they can elevate mission-driven organizations. Currently, he is a Fellow at Shorenstein Center at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government as well as an advisor to multiple for-purpose orgs, governments, and some of the world’s biggest companies. In March 2011, he rejoined the Obama Team as Chief Integration and Innovation Officer where he oversaw the CTO, CIO, CAO, and ensured effective implementation and integration of technology across the entire campaign. Previously he was the Digital Global Practice Chair at Edelman and Chief Technology Strategist for TomorrowVentures – Eric Schmidt’s hybrid venture capital fund – where he worked with companies from Fortune 100 to angel-round startups on their technology, digital media, and organizational strategy. During the 2008 cycle, Michael served as the Chief Technology Officer for Obama for America and as Technology Director for the Presidential Transition Team. Prior to joining the Obama family, worked as Deputy Campaign Manager for an alderman in Chicago and spent the 2006 cycle at The Strategy Group. Before jumping into politics and campaigns full-time, he spent several years working in multimedia design & development and web application & platform development with a series of startups. In addition, Michael has served as a technology and digital strategy advisor as well as board member to initiatives including the United Nations, the U.S. State Department, Fuck Cancer, Bright Pink, I Am That Girl, LiveStrong, Citizen Effect, and Jumo and was named to Crain’s Chicago 40 Under 40 List for 2011. He regularly addresses major conferences, audiences, and companies around the world

Sean Kelly

Sean Kelly is a social entrepreneur and nutrition activist who has grown two industry-changing nutrition-focused startups into multimillion-dollar companies – all before the age of 30. In 2008, Sean co-founded HUMAN (“Helping Unite Mankind And Nutrition”) Healthy Vending, America’s premier healthy foods distribution platform, and now serves as its CEO. Disrupting the junk-food-focused $42B vending industry and transforming the way people snack across the world, HUMAN Healthy Vending delivers on its vision to “make healthy food more convenient than junk food” via healthy vending machines, healthy micro markets, and other innovative automated retail technologies. One of Inc Magazine’s 2013 “Fastest Growing Private Companies in America” (#168 on the INC 500), HUMAN delivers a wide variety of healthful snacks, fresh produce, organic fair-trade coffees, and locally-sourced foods to schools, corporations, YMCAs, hospitals, community centers and more. Headquartered in Culver City, CA, HUMAN currently has over 30 employees, 200 franchisees/partners and thousands of healthy vending machine and micromarket locations across the United States, Puerto Rico and Canada. Sean donates 10% of his company’s profits to charities that fight the causes of childhood obesity and malnutrition, with a predominate recipient of those funds being HUMAN’s non-profit arm, HUMAN Everywhere. Serving as director of this charity, Sean oversees its mission to teach real-world social entrepreneurship and nutrition education to students in underserved communities via its flagship program, The Young Entrepreneur’s Program. Sean holds a B.S. in biomedical engineering from Columbia University and has been named in Forbes’ “Top 30 Under 30” (2012), CNN Money’s “Top 10 Generation Next Entrepreneurs” list, BusinessWeek’s “Top 25 Young Entrepreneurs” list and Mother Nature Network’s “Innovation Generation: 30 Fresh Thinkers Helping Humanity Adapt to What’s Next.” Sean is a member of the Young Entrepreneur’s Council, Milken Institute's Young Leadership Circle and the Young Presidents’ Organization, is a Green Dot Schools Entrepreneurial Ambassador, and sits on the board of Common Threads and HUMAN Everywhere. Sean holds two national championship medals from his days as a freestyle snowboarder. When he’s not using the power of business to solve social problems, Sean can be found running on the beach, cycling or practicing yoga in the early mornings, exploring the world by way of adventure travel, wine tasting with his wife Shannon, mentoring other entrepreneurs, or cheering on Michigan Wolverines’ sports teams.

Christine Fleming

Christine Fleming is an assistant professor in the Department of Electrical Engineering. Her research interests are in developing optical imaging and spectroscopy instruments for applications in cardiac electrophysiology and interventional cardiology. Dr. Fleming received the B.S. degree in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 2004, and M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Biomedical Engineering from Case Western Reserve University, 2007 and 2010.

Venkat Venkatasubramanian

Professor Venkat Venkatasubramanian is Samuel Ruben-Peter G. Viele Professor of Engineering in the Department of Chemical Engineering, and a Professor of Computer Science (by courtesy), at Columbia University. He earned his Ph. D. in Chemical Engineering at Cornell, M.S. in Physics at Vanderbilt, and B. Tech. in Chemical Engineering at the University of Madras, India. Venkat worked as a Research Associate in Artificial Intelligence at Carnegie-Mellon and taught at Purdue before returning to Columbia where he directs the research efforts in the Complex Resilient Intelligent Systems Laboratory. He is also the founding Co-Director of the Center for the Management of Systemic Risk, a transdisciplinary center focused on understanding how complex systems fail in order to prevent or mitigate such failures in the future.

Jovana J. Grbić

Jovana J. Grbić, PhD has over ten years of experience working in a range of interdisciplinary labs at elite academic institutions. Her scientific specialties included a three-year fellowship at the UCLA School of Public Health in infectious diseases, graduate work in cancer genomics, where she discovered a drug target for acute myeloid leukemia, and an internship at The Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center. Jovana established a successful freelance career pursuing creative content development in media and entertainment as the founder of, with clients such as The UCLA School of Film, ABC Television, DELL Computers, CRP, inc, Puritan, clear, inc. and BioData, Ltd. She has co-authored two books on the intersection of science and entertainment, contributes regularly to several publications and provides consulting expertise across digital media, advertising and biotechnology. Jovana has a PhD in biological chemistry from The Scripps Research Institute and a BA in physical chemistry from Northwestern University. Follow Jovana on Twitter at @ScriptPhD

Jeremy Balkin

Jeremy Balkin is a financier and philanthropist originally from Sydney, Australia. Mr. Balkin is Founder of Karma Capital an independent advisory boutique for Super High Net Worth Investor and Family Offices with a unique focus on the Asia-Pacific Region. After surviving a life-changing extreme sports injury in 2008, Mr. Balkin has gone on to run the New York, Boston, Chicago and London Marathons, and successfully returned from Mount Everest Base Camp in Nepal, raising millions for a range of charities in the process through his non-profit philanthropic fundraising vehicle Give While You Live ( Jeremy Balkin is a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, a Member of the prestigious ROI Community of global Jewish change agents, Board Member of the Joint United States China Collaboration on Clean Energy (JUCCCE), Ambassador of The Womensphere Foundation and is currently a Finalist in the Young Australian of the Year Awards. Mr. Balkin is on record describing "Philanthropy as an Asset Class" and is regularly asked to share his views at international conferences, newspaper opinion editorials and private boardroom events. Jeremy Balkin is a Graduate of the University of New South Wales and Harvard Kennedy School. Follow him on twitter @jbapex

Organizing team


New York, NY, United States


New York, NY, United States
  • Shyno Mathew
    Co-Chair - Speaker Selection Committee
  • Asna Ansari
    Co-Chair - Speaker Selection Committee
  • Panagiota Vasileiou
    Co-Chair - Marketing/Promotion Committee
  • Eben Estell
    Co-Chair - Marketing/Promotion Committee
  • Yaas Bigdeli
    Co-Chair - Event Logistics Committee
  • Kunal Devnani
    Co-Chair - Event Logistics Committee
  • Veronika Doljenkova
    Website Designer