Students bring first TED event to Tech

In the name of disseminating ideas and innovation, Georgia Tech students are organizing the Institute’s first TEDx event.

TED (technology, entertainment and design) is a national conference series devoted to the concept of “ideas worth spreading.” It draws those who position themselves on the forefront of innovation to speak at its annual conference, then makes the talks available free online at Past TED speakers include Bill Gates, Jane Goodall, Malcolm Gladwell, Larry Page, Sergey Brin and Bill Clinton.

The TEDx program is designed to bring the TED experience to local communities and enable them to organize events that emulate the larger-scale conferences.

Sharad Gopal, an undergraduate industrial engineering student, has wanted to host TEDx at Tech for two semesters. He attended TEDxPeachtree last fall and feels that Tech is a place with ideas worth spreading.

“TEDx creates a platform for innovators and creators around the community. It gets those people on stage and more people exposed to their ideas,” Gopal said. “TEDx lets us showcase the people behind the work and learn more about innovations happening around Tech.”

Ronald Arkin, a Regents’ Professor in Georgia Tech’s School of Interactive Computing, said he’s honored to have the opportunity to give his talk, “Ethics and Lethality in Autonomous Combat Robots,” at the inaugural TEDx event on campus.

“The challenge here is to do it in 18 minutes and for a potentially very diverse audience,” he said. “I have a lot to share, so hopefully it will get people thinking about some really hard problems with emerging technology.”

TEDx hosts must apply for licenses from TED for their events and are issued guidelines for sponsorships, attendance and other logistics. Hosts are also granted access to a private online wiki with resources for organizing the event, designing logos, creating budgets and setting up stages. TED requires all talks be posted to its YouTube channel after the event.

First-time hosts are more restricted in attendance numbers; Gopal is hopeful this first event will be successful so that more can be held in the future and more members of the community can attend.

TEDxGeorgiaTech will be held Saturday, April 9, in the Clary Theater in the Bill Moore Student Success Center. Registration is $10 for Tech students; $20 for all faculty, staff, alumni and postdoctoral fellows; and $25 for others. Those interested can register online at the TEDxGeorgiaTech site, and will be notified if there is room for them to attend.





  • 11:15 – 11:45 a.m. — Registration
  • 11:45 a.m. – Noon — Introduction
  • Noon – 1:20 p.m. — Session I
  • 1:20 – 2:00 p.m. — Break
  • 2:00 – 3:20 p.m. — Session II
  • 3:20 – 3:40 p.m. — Break
  • 3:40 – 4:40 p.m. — Session III
  • 4:40 – 5:00 p.m. — Conclusion