“Austin 2.0: Using Devices, Data, and Analytics to Advance Austin”

Panel Summary

Jay Boisseau

Panel moderator

Ron Baker

Ron Baker

Chief Analytics Executive for IBM Smarter Cities software portfolio

Brian Dietrich

Brian Dietrich

Strategic Account Manager for State of Texas, Government and Education Segment

Meg Merritt

Executive Director for Transportation Projects

Chip Rosenthal

Policy Director
Open Austin

WEDNESDAY, July 8, 2015
Stateside Theater, 719 Congress Ave.
Downtown Austin
5:30 p.m. – Doors and Bar Open
6:00 p.m. – Presentation, Q&A
7:00 p.m. – Reception
Free and open to the public

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Austin is an amazing city, but no city is perfect. How can we use technology and data to make Austin a better, safer, cleaner, more sustainable, more prosperous, and more enjoyable place to live, work, learn, and play—and to serve as a model smart city for others to emulate?

The “Big Data” era is still relatively new, but is greatly accelerating discovery and enhancing productivity in so many areas of business/industry that ‘data scientist’ has been called ‘the sexiest job of the 21st century.’ The Internet of Things (IoT) era is just beginning to rapidly expand (beyond smartphones), and already we see huge commercial momentum, especially in consumer/home devices such as fitness wearable and smart appliances. However, the application of these important technology trends to creating ‘smart cities’ is not accelerating as rapidly, for many reasons—though it is happening. How can Austin leverage these two important trends, as well as its strong technology sector and creative tech-savvy workforce, to address issues and improve our city in ways that advance Austin’s economic prosperity (for everyone), personal & property safety, transportation efficiency, access to education & services, and overall healthiness and quality of life? Several speakers from Austin will discuss these issues and announce the launch of CityUP, a new initiative for coordinating, supporting and enhancing ‘smart city’ efforts in Austin.


Jay Boisseau, Ph.D., is an experienced supercomputing leader with over 20 years in the field. Boisseau became the founding director of the Texas Advanced Computing Center (TACC) at The University of Texas at Austin in June 2001, which became one of the leading advanced computing centers in the world under his leadership through January 2014. At TACC, Boisseau led several NSF-funded national supercomputing operations programs and numerous proposals to design and deploy world-class computing systems, from the first terascale Linux cluster for national open science in 2003 and the first petascale cluster in 2008 to the current Stampede system– the world’s first large-scale deployment of Intel’s MIC technology which debuted at #7 on the Top500 List. Through the years, Boisseau broadened TACC’s portfolio of supercomputing systems, support services, and R&D activities to emphasize visualization, develop web and mobile interfaces to systems and applications, initiate new ‘Big Data’ efforts, and accelerate the integration of advanced computing into computational biomedicine.
Recently, Boisseau co-founded Vizias, a firm providing applications optimization, software development, and education & outreach programs as well as consulting for organizations and companies needing to develop and use advanced computing and data analysis techniques and technologies. Vizias provides support across domains, but also focuses much attention in the areas of biomedicine & healthcare, energy, education & workforce development, and in Boisseau’s newest area of interest: urban planning for economic development and opportunities.

Ron Baker is the Chief Analytics Executive for the IBM Smarter Cities software portfolio, which includes solutions for City Planning & Optimization, Emergency Management, Water, Transportation, Energy, and Public Safety. This software supports different Operations Centers in cities, regional municipal organizations, stadiums, airports, and other operations centers. Bringing together different agencies into a single geospatial view, providing analytics for visualization and optimization, displaying key performance indicators, and linking events to standard operating procedures for operations personnel to follow. These products have been named the industry leaders for three straight years by IDC, Frost & Sullivan, and Navigant for their vision and breadth of features.
He speaks at conferences and industry sessions across the world, from the National League of Cities annual conference to the ANSI Smarter & Sustainable Cities work groups, and works with leaders in government and academia on the application of technology to improving citizen services.

Brian Dietrich is currently assigned to Intel’s, Government, Education & Medical market segment where he has business development responsibilities for the State of Texas government agencies and public education institutions. In this assignment, Mr. Dietrich manages strategic demand generation programs and market development activities in education, healthcare, state/local government, energy and broadband.
A 20 year Intel veteran, Mr. Dietrich was district sales manager within Intel’s Comms and Media market segment where he was responsible for Intel’s relationship with large telecommunication companies and internet service providers. In this role, Mr. Dietrich was chartered with delivering sales revenue through strategic technology initiatives to drive the consumption of Intel-based platforms. Additionally, Mr. Dietrich held positions within the Comms & Media vertical segment including sales management responsible for network infrastructure revenue across all North America Service Providers. Prior assignments include working 3rd communications ISV’s and system integrators focused on enabling their software stacks and planning go-to-market activities aligned with the launch of new Intel platforms architectures.
Mr. Dietrich earned his bachelor’s degree in Computer Science at Shippensburg University. He currently resides in Frisco, TX with his 2 children and enjoys playing golf, backpacking, cycling and wine tasting.

Meg Merritt is the Executive Director for Transportation Projects at RideScout (the “Kayak” app of ground transportation) and Professor of Practice at UT Austin. Her professional experience includes more than eight years in infrastructure planning, management consulting, capital projects management, and the development of supporting technology solutions. Ms. Merritt’s more recent projects include consulting with the Federal Railroad Administration High Speed Intercity Passenger Rail (HSIPR) program and working with Capital Metro as a transit oriented development planner. Meg holds a Masters of City Planning from the University of Pennsylvania as well as a BA from the University of Texas at Austin. She lives in South Austin with her husband and daughter.

Chip Rosenthal resides in Austin, TX. He has been developing systems and tools based on open source software and Internet services for over 30 years. He currently works as a software engineer, developing products in the commercial technology sector.
Chip is a recognized leader of the community technology and civic technology movements in Texas. In 2005, he helped create SaveMuniWireless.Org, which defeated legislation to ban community wireless networks in Texas. In 2010, he co-founded Big Gig Austin, the community effort to bring Google gigabit fiber to Austin.
From 2002 through 2014, Chip served on the Austin Community Technology and Telecommunications Commission, a citizen board appointed by the Austin Mayor and City Council to advise them on certain technology issues. He contributed to the city’s first open data policy and the creation of the city’s office of civic innovation. He received the Distinguished Service Award from the Mayor and City Council for this work.
He currently chairs Open Austin, a volunteer community group that advocates for open government, open data, and civic technology. He is the Code for America Brigade Captain for Austin.