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Mobile, social, cloud computing dominate Cornell Silicon Valley's annual gathering

Casey Ryan and trustee Becky Morgan at CSV11

Casey Ryan MBA '09 (founder of Watku) and Cornell trustee emeritus Becky Morgan '60 chat at CSV11. Morgan also is a CSV adviser.

More than 400 Cornell alumni, parents and friends attended Cornell Silicon Valley's (CSV) 11th annual presidential event March 15, marking it as the university alumni networking group's largest gathering to date.

The daylong event, "Make the Connection: Mobile, Social, Cloud, Cornell.," was held at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, Calif.

For the first time, recruiters were part of the event, and representatives from Facebook, Workday Inc.,, Intel, Palantir Technologies, Teknominds Inc. and more were available to meet with alumni during the course of the day.

Those companies, and the event's themes of mobile, social and cloud computing, "are the new game changers in Silicon Valley," said Ashley Binter '97, CSV's associate director. "These are the areas of technology that are creating the new economic bubble in the valley. CSV11 is meant to examine how Cornellians are leading in these spaces and how Cornell research is affecting the course of innovation," she said.

David Duffield speaks during alumni panel discussion

From left, David Duffield '62, MBA '64 (chairman and CEO, Workday), Tien Tzuo '90 (founder and CEO of Zuora) and Lew Tucker '72 (vice president and chief technology officer, cloud computing, Cisco) participated in the alumni panel that discussed cloud computing.

Cornell President David Skorton honored Shannon Murray '94 for his 10 years of service to CSV. Murray helped launch the San Francisco Bay-area CSV and served as senior director of Cornell Business Communities, the larger group that counts CSV, Cornell Wall Street and the Cornell Entrepreneurial Network as its members.

Skorton gave an overview of Cornell's technology research and, extending the event's themes, he said CSV itself is a way of connecting back to Cornell -- and that through mobile, social and cloud computing, Cornellians can connect to friends, family and Cornell.

Technology, not surprisingly, played a leading role at the event:

  • For the first time, CSV ran a virtual trade show, in which a PowerPoint slideshow of Cornell-led and affiliated ventures were looped on screens throughout the venue.
  • Attendees tweeted during the entire event, Binter said, and the Twitter feed updated live on screens so others could see what was being tweeted.
  • Several other slideshows ran on displays during the day, such as one trumpeting top Cornell innovations and another featuring Cornell imagery.
  • Many slides included QR (quick response) codes, square-shaped black-and-white dot matrix barcodes that, when photographed by the cameras in mobile phones and smartphones, can connect directly to websites and download contact information, coupons or other materials.
Attendee at Cornell Silicon Vally event

An attendee stays connected via mobile technology at CSV11. More than 400 alumni and friends came to the annual presidential event, which included a talk and Q&A with President David Skorton.

The idea throughout, Binter said, was that through social, mobile and cloud computing, we are connecting to our data and to one another in new and different ways, so the natural progression of thought is that, through technology, you can also connect back to Cornell in new ways.

Featured speakers included Skorton, Provost Kent Fuchs, College of Engineering Dean Lance Collins and John Hollar, president and CEO of the Computer History Museum.

A faculty panel included Collins and Ken Birman (computer science), Claire Cardie (information science) and Hakim Weatherspoon (computer science).

Panel discussion at CSV11

The first of two alumni panels at CSV11 discussed privacy and trust issues related to social media and mobile devices.

There were two alumni panels, one focused on social networks and media along with mobile devices and mobile technology; the other examined cloud computing.

Alumni panel participants were Anamitra Banjeri, MBA '04 (senior product manager, Twitter); Anand Chandrasekher '86 (senior V.P. and general manager, Intel); Jennifer Dulski '93, MBA '99 (founder and CEO, the Dealmap); Henry Hsu '02, M.Eng. '03 (senior manager for business operations, LinkedIn); Drew Martin '86 (senior V.P. and CIO, Sony); Charles Wu '91 (manager, partner engineering, Facebook); Sid Anand '97, M.Eng. '02 (cloud architect, Netflix); David Duffield '62, MBA '64 (chairman and CEO, Workday); Ammar Hanafi '88 (general partner, Alloy Ventures); Lew Tucker '72 (V.P. and CTO, cloud computing, Cisco); and Tien Tzuo '90 (founder and CEO, Zuora).

Professor Ken Birman speaks at faculty panel

Ken Birman, the N. Rama Rao Professor of Computer Science at Cornell, speaks during the faculty panel at CSV11.

"From listening to the social and mobile panel discuss the role of Facebook and Twitter in Middle East politics today to providing commentary on the importance of cloud computing -- that is, 'It's not just a passing fad' -- to companies like Zuora, Workday, Cisco and Netflix, I thoroughly enjoyed CSV11," speaker Sid Anand said.

The event came one day after several hundred Cornellians gathered at Fox Studios in Los Angeles for another California alumni event -- "Early Evening with David Skorton."

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