CSE Connects at SXSW 2014

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From left, Mike Huang and Dr. Jeff Ringenberg engage expo visitors in a CS demo

The University launched its biggest-ever presence at the recent South by Southwest festival in Austin, with CSE participating and reaching out to friends old and new.

South by Southwest began as a boutique film and music festival and has grown to become one of the biggest arts and technology fests in the country. Spanning two weeks and a half-dozen conferences in Austin, Texas, it brought together executives and creative types from industries ranging from tech to gaming to music to movies.

Representing CSE at the U-M exhibit hall booth were Dr. Jeff Ringenberg and undergraduate student Mike Huang. The two shared information with attendees regarding programs in CSE and made connections with companies looking to hire computer scientists and computer engineers.

They also pointed visitors to interactive content and demoed the popular Virtual Quiddich project that was made by computer science students who combined Oculus Rift and Nintendo Wiimote technologies to simulate a flying broomstick at the most recent MHacks hackathon.

"The alumni response to our presence was amazing," said Dr. Ringenberg. "So many people stopped by to tell us that they were alums and how much Michigan meant – and still means – to them. Others took their picture in front of the booth or just called out, 'Go Blue!' It was really great to make those connections."

CSE shared the CoE portion of the exhibit with other CoE units, including the CSE-sponsored Michigan Autonomous Aerial Vehicles student team, who also had a popular demo: their intelligent flying quadrotor system.

That project, which leverages sensing technology developed in Prof. Edwin Olson's APRIL laboratory, has placed highly in the past two International Aerial Robotics Competitions.

If you were at SXSW, we hope you stopped by. If not, look for us next year!


The U-M exhibit at SXSW.

An attendee tries Virtual Quidditch.

CoE undergrads Alec Hamsel (L) and Jose Gomez with the MAAV quadrotor.

An alumnae poses with the exhibit's block M for a photo.

Posted: March 25, 2014