Saturday, August 19, 2017

An Invited Lecture at Stevens Institute, NY

During my US trip, in late April 2017 I had the chance to visit Stevens Institute of Technology, in New York.  My pleasure was double: both because I could deliver a lecture on Entrepreneurship at the Software Engineering class of a leading technical university, and because I was invited by an alumni of University of the Aegean, Dimitris Damopoulos - now Assistant Professor at Stevens.

With Dimitris at the (tight) Stevens entrance
Stevens Institute of Technology is a private university situated in Hoboken, New Jersey, overlooking the Manhattan skyline.   Founded in 1870 by Stevens family (America's First Family of Inventors, who patented steam ferries and railroad track), the university has put technological innovation as the hallmark of its education and research programs ever since. Today, within the university’s three schools and one college, 6,600 undergraduate and graduate students collaborate with faculty members in an interdisciplinary, student-centric, entrepreneurial environment. Among others in its alumni we also find Henry Gantt, the creator of the Gantt Chart, used as a project management tool for giga-projects like the Hoover Dam.

My presentation at the Software Engineering class touched upon issues like supply-chain-driven technology entrepreneurship, open-data based application development and of course the Aegean Startups programme, and seemed to be greatly enjoyed by the multinational audience.  Something the amazed me from my audience was that almost 40% of them seemed to have read "Goedel - Escher - Bach", a book by D. Hofstadter on creativity patterns and more.  The fastest even got University of the Aegean t-shirts as a small reward. I hope we will setup more collaborative lessons and projects between Aegean and Stevens at the coming months.

With a happy class, after the lecture at Stevens

Hoboken is just 20 minutes by bus or ferry from Manhattan, but looks like another world.  Going back to NY centre, leaving the peaceful parks and piers overlooking the opposite coast of Manhattan for Times Square was like going from a village to a space station.  Still, one can go back ...

Hoboken style of life

Manhattan style of life

Friday, August 18, 2017

Visiting CTG at Albany, US

During April - May 2018 I had the pleasure to spend some days at the Center for  Technology in Government (CTG), of the State University New York at Albany, US - one of the leading research centres for electronic government worldwide.

During my stay at CTG, I had the opportunity to work with e-government researchers, lecture on the activities of our Greek Digital Governance Research Centre and discuss common opportunities.

Importantly also, I enjoyed the company and hospitality of all CTG staff. A big hug to Teresa, Ramon, Caroline, Brian, Sylvia and all for your warmth and laughter ... ! 

With CTG staff at Albany 

Where tea cups join ...

Taking part in Student projects screening, with the mayors of Albany and (spell that !) Schenectady 

Albany, the capital of New York State, is one of the oldest British settlements in the area.  A rather isolated place, 3 hours far from the New York hassle and north of a very interesting landscape, around the Hudson river.   With Albany as the centre of my trips, I managed to visit New York, West Point Academy, IBM Watson Labs, and of course drive down the legendary Taconic State Parkway. 

A map showing the southern portion of New York State. Major roads are highlighted in blue. One road running north–south near the east is highlighted in red.
The Taconic State Parkway: connecting upstate NY with New York city, via the woods

Driving down the Taconic State Parkway

Albany itself is not very attracting to the usual tourist, apart from its spectacular city centre: combing the old State Capitol with new skyscrapers (used mainly by NY state administration) provide an interesting skyline.
Albany skyline at night - spectacular uh ? 

The real gem of my sightseeing experiments however was laying down at Hudson river dock: Moored on the Hudson River in Albany, the USS SLATER is the only afloat WW II destroyer, that has undergone an extensive restoration returning the ship to her former glory.  So far so good: another USS on display, with a possibility to jump on board.  But, discussing with Joe, one of the volunteers that take care of the ship, an intriguing story revealed:

USS Slater was one of the four destroyers of the Cannon class (together with USS's  Eldridge, Ebert and Garfield Thomas) that were transferred to the Greek Navy in 1951, renamed to Aetos (Slater), Leon, Ierax and Panthir, respectively.

Under the Greek Navy flag, Aetos - Slater is the ship that was the scenery for the popular Greek movie "Alice in the Navy", starring Aliki Vougiouklaki - the Greek movie star of the '60's.

USS Slater (or Aetos), at early 60's, with Aliki Vougiouklaki on board 
With Joe, outside USS Slate (Aetos)

The other destroyer of the same class (Leon or USS Eldridge) has been the scenery for the so-called Philadelphia Experiment, a rather controversial story of an alleged US Navy experiment on tele-portation. 

Interesting stories, hidden at Hudson river, Albany, US...