IPaT 2019 Year in Review

Holiday group

MyPath is a mobile application that gives breast cancer patients personalized recommendations on everything from side effects to insurance. (Photo: Christopher Moore, Georgia Tech)

Dear IPaT Community,

Happy holidays! We're quickly approaching the close of 2019, a time for reflection and looking forward to the year ahead. Before we usher in a new decade, we'd like to thank you for partnering with the Institute for People and Technology in our mission to shape the future of human-centered systems to promote satisfying, healthy, and productive lives.

In 2019, IPaT engaged faculty, students, and communities in new research initiatives such as the Cognitive Empowerment Program, dedicated to helping people with MCI and their caregivers to live healthy and fulfilling lives. We also continued to support the success of ongoing programs like the Georgia Smart Communities Challenge, which welcomed a new class of cities from across the state to develop pilot projects around mobility, equity, and smart resilience.

Our “Year in Review” is just a glimpse into how your contributions are shaping the world. We’re looking forward to what we’ll accomplish in 2020 and beyond. Thank you, and have a safe and enjoyable holiday season!

Elizabeth D. Mynatt
Executive Director, Institute for People and Technology at Georgia Tech


  • In January, the MyPath project was recognized by iSchools, a consortium of more than 100 institutions worldwide dedicated to advancing the information field. The mobile application, created by IPaT Executive Director Beth Mynatt’s Everyday Computing Lab, provides personalized recommendations to breast cancer patients on everything from side effects to insurance. Maia Jacobs, who received her Ph.D. from Georgia Tech for her work on MyPath, was also named the winner of the 2019 iSchools Doctoral Dissertation Award.
  • For our 2019 Spring Town Hall, we hosted a focused discussion examining “The Future of Work at the Human-Technology Frontier.” Georgia Tech's Maribeth Gandy Coleman and Rich DeMillo gave talks on this topic, while  Jon Sanford, Keaton Fletcher, and Brad Fain provided project briefs on the "Future of Work for Health and Humanitarian Services." The town hall wrapped up with a panel discussion on "Convergent Research on the Future of Work at the Human-Technology Frontier," featuring Lizanne DeStefano, Kaye Husbands Fealing and Leigh McCook.


  • Each year, IPaT sets aside one week of “office hours” for Georgia Tech faculty. It’s a time to discuss their strategic research goals, activities, and events for the next year and how IPaT can support these efforts. This year we met with more than 20 faculty, students, and staff from across the Georgia Tech campus to collectively brainstorm how we can support emerging research ideas.
  • We kicked off a new semester of the IPaT Thursday Think Tank in February. Each week, we invite the Georgia Tech as well as broader off-campus communities to discuss a focused topic from one of our four research areas. During the spring 2019 semester, some topics included the complex cultural forces surrounding wearable technology, Georgia Tech’s role in closing the STEM gap in the workforce, and what connected technology means for Atlanta’s future.


  • Leaders in sports innovation from Georgia Tech, local professional sports teams, and industry gathered at Bobby Dodd Stadium in March for the second annual Georgia Tech Sports Innovation Symposium. IPaT's Siva Jayaraman also participated as a panelist. The goal of the symposium is to increase awareness and share related efforts around sports innovation, with the ultimate vision of making Atlanta the global leader in the field, including the creation of a Georgia Tech sports innovation website, hosted by IPaT.


  • On April 9-10, student teams gathered at Georgia Tech's campuses in Atlanta and Metz, France, for the finale of the Convergence Innovation Competition (CIC). The CIC is a bi-annual event dedicated to helping students create innovative and viable products and experiences with the support of campus resources and industry guidance. Congratulations to the winning teams in the categories of Health and Wellness (Care Connect), Climate Solutions (myshadow), and Players and Fans (Fly Aware).
  • On April 18, IPaT and the Children's Healthcare of Atlanta Pediatric Technology Center hosted a day-long look at the topic of Agile Health, this year's theme for Industry Innovation Day. We welcomed healthcare experts, researchers, business leaders, and non-profit organizations to Tech Square to listen to a keynote from Becky Chapman Weaver of St. Baldrick's Foundation, who outlined the organization's mission to support research to end childhood cancer. Our second keynote speaker, Hansa Bhargava of WebMD and Medscape, discussed how technology can address maternal deaths, the opioid crisis, and more. And, a panel featuring Georgia Tech's Jon Duke, May Wang, and Beth Mynatt, and Shantanu Nigam of Jvion examined how technology, including artificial intelligence, is changing the way we tackle healthcare challenges.
  • As part of Industry Innovation Day, we hosted a book launch for All Data Are Local: Thinking Critically in a Data-Driven Society by Georgia Tech LMC Assistant Professor Yanni Loukissas. The book, published by MIT Press, examines how to analyze data settings rather than data sets, acknowledging the meaning-making power of the local.
  • At the end of April, researchers from IPaT moved into the Coda Building in Tech Square. IPaT and colleagues from the Georgia Tech Research Institute are located on the building’s 14th-floor research neighborhood, which applies data analytics to a variety of different disciplines and encourages collaboration between Georgia Tech researchers and industry.


  • The Smart Cities Dialogue conference, hosted by Georgia Tech’s Smart Cities and Inclusive Innovation Initiative, focused on developing smarter, more social communities. Guests experienced “research in action” and discovered Georgia Tech’s solutions in the smart cities domain.
  • On May 22, we hosted our annual research retreat, where we discussed research priorities, emerging opportunities, and campus initiatives. Georgia Tech Professors Kim Cobb, Jason Freeman, and Blair MacIntyre, Associate Professor Christopher Le Dantec, CEISMC Executive Director Lizanne DeStefano, and Assistant Athletic Director for Innovation Doug Allvine each presented “top of mind” talks to motivate and inform research initiatives. Break out groups focused on smart communities, the future of work in healthcare, mixed reality experiences, and future student experiences at Georgia Tech.


  • The University System of Georgia (USG)’s Board of Regents appointed Institute for People and Technology (IPaT) Executive Director and College of Computing Distinguished Professor Beth Mynatt as Regents Professor. Regents Professorships represent the highest academic and research recognition granted by the USG and demonstrate distinction and achievement in research both nationally and internationally. The Georgia Tech Office of the President, Office of the Provost, College of Computing, and other faculty unanimously recommended Mynatt for the recognition.
  • After a successful launch in 2018, Georgia Tech’s Georgia Smart Communities Challenge named four new grant recipients during a special event at the government center in Macon on June 18. The 2019 winning proposals are Columbus Smart Uptown, Macon Smart Neighborhoods, Milton Smarter Safer Routes to School, and Woodstock Smart Master Plan and Corridor Study.


  • Students from Georgia Tech and universities across the country participated in two summer programs to support local communities exploring smart technology and development. The Civic Data Science (CDS) program supports a 10-week immersive research experience for undergraduate students interested in contributing to the field of data science. And, the Georgia Smart Community Corps is a full-time summer fellowship for Georgia Tech students to create livable and equitable communities through smart technology and data implementation.
  • IPaT’s support and administrative staff (human resources, finance, marketing & communications, and programs & operations) convened in July for a half-day retreat at Coda. The team discussed the fiscal year in review, future goals, and Workday.
  • The "Internet of Things for Sustainability is Smart Business Conference" explored catalysts and use cases of the key promises and challenges related to the application of Internet of Things (IoT) technologies toward building a sustainable world. The conference also highlighted opportunities for businesses at the intersection of IoT and sustainability.


  • In August, IPaT’s research faculty met at Coda for a day-long retreat to discuss future research goals, effective collaboration with support staff, and career mentoring and development.


  • As part of the 2019 IPaT Fall Town Hall, we welcomed Scott Davis of North Highland Group for a “fireside chat” with IMTC Director Maribeth Gandy Coleman and GVU Director Keith Edwards to discuss research and development related to the Human-Technology Frontier – research needs, challenges, and opportunities for academic and industry collaborations. The event also featured a panel on “Charting the Human-Technology Frontier” with Georgia Tech Professors Thad Starner, Anna Stenport, and Gil Weinberg.
  • The 2019 Georgia Smart Fall Workshop featured final presentations by the first class of the Georgia Smart Communities Challenge (Albany, Chatham, Chamblee, Gwinnett) as well as introduced the second class (Macon, Columbus, Milton, and Woodstock). The smart community projects tackle challenges in mobility and resilience using technology and research. Angela Siefer, executive director of the National Digital Inclusion Alliance (NDIA), also gave a keynote on digital inclusion.
  • The mission of Health Connect South is to serve the health community as a sustainable platform for regional health collaborations. Through their collective work, they seek to define and advance the Southeast’s role in the future of health. At the 2019 Health Connect South, IPaT Executive Director Beth Mynatt chaired a panel on "Pediatric Cancer: How Partnering Together Changed the Prognosis of Pediatric Cancer."
  • The National Science Foundation’s Convergence Accelerator awarded Georgia Tech a grant of $499,753 to develop the Competency Catalyst project in conjunction with the University System of Georgia (USG). The Center for 21st Century Universities (C21U) will work in partnership with a team that includes IPaT Executive Director Beth Mynatt, Research Scientist Laura Levy, and other university faculty, researchers, and educational technology leaders from across the country. They'll oversee the successful implementation of the project, which helps working professionals identify emerging technological areas that are in demand.
  • IPaT, Georgia Tech Athletics, and other campus units partnered to create SPRINT, or the Sports Research, Innovation, and Technology initiative. SPRINT centralizes and expands the Institute’s sports-related research, with the vision of making Atlanta a global leader in sports innovation. Faculty and staff from the Georgia Tech Research Institute (GTRI), the Office of Industry Collaboration (OIC), VentureLab, the Exercise Physiology Laboratory, the School of Biological Sciences, the Wallace H. Coulter Department of Biomedical Engineering, the Sports, Society, and Technology program, and CreateX are also partnering in the initiative.


  • As part of our ongoing IPaT Thursday Think Tank series, we invited new Georgia Tech faculty to learn more about IPaT's mission and vision. Other topics for the fall 2019 semester include how esports can inspire students in developing STEM skills, the pathway to commercialization of medical technologies (moderated by the Global Center for Medical Innovation), and detecting and measuring the impact of food insecurity at Georgia Tech.


  • Eighteen student teams participated in the Fall 2019 Convergence Innovation Competition live demo and judging finale on November 13 at IPaT’s Centergy Building location. QuickSip, an application that aims to simplify the ordering process and reduce wait times at busy bars, was the big winner of the competition. The team won first place in the Health on the Move category and a “golden ticket” to participate in this summer’s CREATE-X Startup Launch 2020.
  • In November, we continued our IPaT In-Depth series examining one research topic and the people at Georgia Tech transforming the field. This semester we focused on aging and the array of research initiatives, centers, and partnerships that are helping older adults to take their power back. The work of Georgia Tech’s Beth Mynatt, Tracy Mitzner, Brian Jones, Brad Fain, Christopher Hertzog, Craig Zimring, and Jennifer DuBose was featured in the article.
  • With the goal of faster development, testing, and distribution of evidence-based interventions for mild cognitive impairment (MCI), the Cognitive Empowerment Program (CEP) announced the support of five new seed grants for interdisciplinary teams from Georgia Tech and Emory University. In January 2020, the Georgia Institute of Technology and Emory University’s Brain Health Center will open CEP, which is funded by $23.7 million in grants from the James M. Cox Foundation and Cox Enterprises.


  • For the first time, the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), a specialized agency of the United Nations responsible for issues related to information and communications technologies, convened its international academic conference in the United States. Georgia Tech hosted the 2019 ITU Kaleidoscope Conference, December 4-6, which brought together universities, industry, and research institutions for talks, panels, and a research showcase on emerging advancements in ICTs for Digital Health.
MyPath is a mobile application that gives breast cancer patients personalized recommendations on everything from side effects to insurance. (Photo: Christopher Moore, Georgia Tech)

Macon-Bibb is one of four communities named four new grant recipients of Georgia Tech's Smart Communities Challenge.

Panel of MyPath

ESRI’s Urban Analytics lead, Amen Ra Mashiriki

Showing off Exhibit
Conference group
Table group
Macon-Bibb is one of four communities named four new grant recipients of Georgia Tech's Smart Communities Challenge.
exhibit group
ESRI’s Urban Analytics lead, Amen Ra Mashiriki