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The ultimate guide to Pygmalion Festival Tech

Yes, you heard it: Pygmalion Festival is hosting their inaugural Tech component this week. And there are going to be some smart, smart people coming to town. For those of you feeling lost and confused about which Pygmalion Tech events to attend, here the techies’ comprehensive guide for what to do, when to do it, and what you absolutely cannot miss. Pygmalion Tech events are free for students (and mostly free overall) and will be happening all throughout town during the weekend.


What you should not miss on Thursday: The panels at Research Park start on Thursday at 9:30 a.m., with several engaging panels in tech from major players in companies such as ABInBev Bud Lab, Agrible, Yahoo, TYTO, TURN, Petronics, IntelliWheels, and Ameren Innovation Center.These Panel discussions will cover topis ranging from “What the Internet of Things Really Means” to “Design Thinking”. All told, there are eight panels happening throughout the day, which will showcase the expertise that exists at Research Park — Big Data, Internet of Things, Tech for All, and a lot more.

Following Research Park portion of Thursday is an open tour of NSCA’s Blue Waters supercomputing lab (totally cool) and a Champaign Cycle bike ride from Blue Waters to downtown Urbana for the Tech Crawl.

Tech Crawl is hosted by several downtown Urbana tech companies that are graciously opening their doors for local techies to visit, learn and network. Check out Pixo, Colab, Norden, Personify, and watch a Robot Demo that’s happening across the street at Busey Bank’s lot.

What you really, really shouldn’t miss on Thursday: If you haven’t yet, get yourself on over to the Urbana Sipyard and check out this totally cool space. Thursday Evening, two panel discussions will be held here. One Discussion is with Mike Renaud, the VP and Creative Director of Pitchfork and the other will be a heated discussion between local ISPs and the community about the state of fiber internet in town. If you have been following the Good Fibes series, hop on over to the Sipyard to see officials discuss their opinions on this complex issue in tech.


There are a few “hold the phone” type panel discussions going on Friday at the Krannert Center for Performing Arts. “Consumption of Music: The Impact and Ramifications of Immediacy in Music” already sounds cool, but throwing the founding member of the Smashing Pumpkins, Jimmy Chamberlin, into the mix makes it incredible. Jimmy Chamberlin will not be the only superstar to grace the Pygmallion Tech scene on Friday. Stephen Wolfram (founder of the famed Wolfram Research, pictured right) will give a keynote at 11 a.m. in the Tryon Festival Theatre, Sarah Buhr of TechCrunch will be talking about “The Separation of Editorial and Advertising in Media” along with Tommy Craggs, formerly of Gawker Media, and others.

Aside from keynotes and panels from Pygmalion tech speakers, Demo Day will be held in the Krannert center lobby for local companies, startups and tech groups to show off their current projects. Here’s the list of companies participating:

The Cities of Champaign and Urbana will also be in attendance, promoting the tech in their respective areas.

Later in the evening, be sure to catch the ABInBev Bud Lab “Smart Bar Hackathon”. The Smart Bar Hackathon is a three day hacking event intended to allow registered hackers to utilize AbInBev tools to code, build and demo their “hack-creations”.


Pygmallion Tech moves from Campus to Downtown Champaign on Saturday, closing the three day festivities with panels on sustainable food (hosted at bacaro restaurant), the Science of Brewing (hosted at the Blind Pig), and the “Future of Immersive Tech” (hosted at Big Grove Tavern). Notable Speakers: Head Chef at Bacaro, Drew Starkey, Brewmaster from the Blind Pig, Bill Morgan, Eric Adkins of Goose Island Brewery in Chicago, and Zavian Porter of Volition.

There is a proverbial smorgasbord of cool tech events this weekend. So please, techies, come feast on the buffet of enlightenment, come hit up tech superstars for knowledge! PSA: it’s mostly free for all, and 100% free for students.

Check out the full schedule and such over at the Pygmalion Festival’s website.

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