Leonard Brody, Business and Technology Visionary

Leonard Brody has been called “a controversial leader of the new world order.” He is a highly respected entrepreneur, venture capitalist, bestselling author and a two-time Emmy nominated media visionary who has been through one of the largest internet IPOs in history.

A co-founder of user-generated news powerhouse; the President of Clarity Digital Group, one of the largest online news conglomerates in the world; and an advisor to venture capital funds and companies and governments around the world, Leonard is a highly sought after speaker who addresses everything from how technology will continue to revolutionize the workplace and workforce to how corporations can use challenges to steer them toward innovation and growth.

Mike Wesch, The Explainer

Dubbed “the explainer” by Wired magazine, Michael Wesch is a cultural anthropologist exploring the effects of new media on society and culture. After two years studying the implications of writing on a remote indigenous culture in the rain forest of Papua New Guinea, he has turned his attention to the effects of social media and digital technology on global society.

His videos on culture, technology, education, and information have been viewed by millions, translated in over 15 languages, and are frequently featured at international film festivals and major academic conferences worldwide.

Wesch has won several major awards for his work, including a Wired Magazine Rave Award, the John Culkin Award for Outstanding Praxis in Media Ecology, and he was recently named an Emerging Explorer by National Geographic. He has also won several teaching awards, including the 2008 CASE/Carnegie U.S. Professor of the Year for Doctoral and Research Universities.

John Towns, An HPC Innovator

John Towns is the Director of the Distributed Cyberinfrastructure Program Office at NCSA. He is also the PI and Project Director for XSEDE (Extreme Science and Engineering Discovery Environment) and leads other projects at NCSA. He has gained a broad view of the needs of computational and data-intensive science and engineering researchers through his key roles in policy and program development and implementation as part of several large-scale NSF projects as well as his involvement in key activities at the University of Illinois.

His background is in computational astrophysics making use of a variety of computational architectures with a focus on application performance analysis. At NCSA, he provides leadership and direction in the support of an array of computational science and engineering research projects making use of advanced computing and data resources.

Towns plays significant roles in the deployment and operation of computational, data, and visualization resources, and Grid-related projects which embody the deployment of technologies and services to support the establishment of a distributed computing infrastructure.