President Obama coming to Pittsburgh for Frontiers Conference in October



President Obama speaks during the third day of the Democratic National Convention at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia on Wednesday, July 27, 2016. (Olivier Douliery/Abaca Press/TNS)


President Barack Obama is coming to Pittsburgh this fall to talk about technology and innovation.

The Oct. 13 White House Frontiers Conference, jointly hosted by Pitt, Carnegie Mellon and the White House, will focus on science, technology and innovation, according to a press release from Pitt. WIRED a magazine focused on trendy technology and its impact — will feature the conference’s topics in its November issue.

President Obama will guest-edit the issue, which will focus on the theme “Frontiers,” according to an article on the publication’s website.

Joe Miksch, a spokesperson for Pitt, said the details of the event are still “very much in the planning stages” and could not say where the conference will be or who else would be attending.

Babs Carryer, Director of Education and Outreach at Pitt’s Innovation Institute, said President Obama understands the importance of innovation and has long promoted it.

“I believe that Obama’s upcoming visit to Pittsburgh is driven by the fact that our great universities are fostering talent and the innovations of tomorrow which will change the world,” Carryer said.

The conference will focus on five frontiers:  personal, local, national, global and interplanetary. The website for the event indicates that people can “nominate someone working on these frontiers” to attend.

The personal frontier is based on health care, particularly on two initiatives President Obama has announced during his second term. The Precision Medicine Initiative tailors medical research and treatment to individual patients, and the BRAIN Initiative is a research effort to better understand brain functioning and disease processes in cases involving Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.

The local frontier will center on communities’ work with infrastructure and data, and the national frontier will address the use of artificial intelligence, machine learning and robotics. The global frontier is about climate change and the clean energy revolution, and the interplanetary frontier will introduce new space technology, such as sending humans to stay on Mars.

In addition, innovators at the conference will discuss the importance of collaboration across sectors, job creation and equal access to advances made in the five frontiers.

“We at Pitt are very pleased to partner with Carnegie Mellon to host the White House Frontiers Conference in Pittsburgh, a city developing a reputation as an innovation hub,” Chancellor Patrick Gallagher said in a press release. “This is a welcomed opportunity to bring notice to the city and its commitment to the importance of supporting research and development.”