Discover the Digital Future when the University of Southern California Comes to New York City on Oct. 15


Showcase of digital innovation features keynote address by Jimmy Iovine, co-founder/CEO of Beats and founder of the USC Iovine/Young Academy, and presentations by leading USC researchers in immersive reality and health care

LOS ANGELES – August 27, 2014 – The University of Southern California has today announced that it will for the first time host a media event in New York City to showcase new digital scholarship and technology. Being held on October 15th, the 2014 Global Conversation will include presentations on the changing experience of reality and the future of medicine, along with demonstrations by USC’s renowned immersive reality incubator, the Institute for Creative Technologies, home to innovations such as the open-source viewers that informed the design of the Oculus Rift headset. USC Provost Elizabeth Garrett will host the Global Conversation, titled “Defining Future Reality.”

“USC has for decades stood on the frontiers of digital research and technology that transform the way people live, learn and approach difficult challenges,” Garrett said. “The 2014 USC Global Conversation brings together leading voices from many disciplines and industries to build on this auspicious moment, when our institutional strength and vision directly align with societal need.”

The keynote speaker will be music industry leader Jimmy Iovine, co-founder/CEO of Beats Electronics and Beats Music, founder and former chairman of Universal Music Group’s Interscope Geffen A&M Records unit, and namesake donor with Andre “Dr. Dre” Young to USC’s Jimmy Iovine and Andre Young Academy for Arts, Technology and the Business of Innovation.

Presenters and Conference Information

  • Biological imaging leader Scott Fraser, who directs interdisciplinary research initiatives at USC and will participate in a discussion on the future of medicine and healthcare
  • Computer scientist Hao Li, a specialist in 3-D technology recently named one of the world’s top innovators under 35 by MIT Technology Review
  • Alex McDowell, director of the USC School of Cinematic Arts’ World Building Media Lab, which demonstrates the power of using entire worlds to inspire stories. McDowell pioneered this approach in “Minority Report” and has developed it through initiatives such as the Leviathan Project
  • Leslie Saxon, a pioneer of the movement toward wireless diagnostics through wearable computing devices
  • Arthur Toga, leader of the Laboratory of Neuro Imaging, one of the world’s largest archives and analysis sites for brain scans and in imaging and treatments for brain diseases such as Alzheimer’s
  • Julie Zissimopoulos, an expert on access to health care at the USC Leonard D. Schaeffer Center for Health Policy and Economics, one of the nation’s leading think tanks on issues of health care delivery

Following the panel presentations, ICT will host a reception with interactive demonstrations of some of its immersive reality technologies, such as an open-source virtual reality viewer that influenced Oculus Rift, an exposure therapy system for treating post-traumatic stress, and a rapid generator of any user’s avatar for insertion into video games.

ICT gathers leading researchers in artificial intelligence, virtual reality and storytelling to solve problems facing service members and society at large. Research developed at ICT has been featured in The New Yorker, The New York Times and other leading national and international publications.

To be held from 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. on Oct. 15 in New York at 10 on the Park at Time Warner Center, this will be the second USC Global Conversation following the inaugural 2012 event in London.  The events are held in alternating years from a global conference series hosted by USC President C. L. Max Nikias.

The rise of new challenges — political and social changes, sustainable energy solutions, opening of new markets, the rise of big data in medicine and other industries — will require ingenuity, knowledge, and a convergence of the business, research, and policy sectors. As a leading institution of higher learning with the most international students of any American university, USC contributes context and expertise to the ongoing discussion of the world’s economic future.

For more information on the USC Global Conversation, visit

About Digital USC
The “Defining Future Reality” 2014 New York Global Conversation is part of Digital USC, a university-wide initiative of $1 billion over 10 years toward gathering, interpreting and applying digital data on a massive scale. An international leader in fields from artificial intelligence to game design, with the largest computer science research program among American universities, USC is advancing knowledge in the development of virtual humans for therapy, entertainment or historic preservation; the simulation and modeling of earthquakes and other complex systems; brain mapping; archiving, indexing and analysis of visual material; visual storytelling and data visualization; and in creating advanced online platforms for distance education and professional development.

About the Keynote Speaker
Jimmy Iovine is regarded as a legendary figure in the music industry as well as a forward-thinking visionary. Iovine is the co-founder/CEO of Beats Electronics and Beats Music, along with hip hop pioneer Dr. Dre, and founder and former chairman of Universal Music Group’s Interscope Geffen A&M Records unit.

The Brooklyn-born Iovine’s four-decade career began when he was just out of his teens. As a recording engineer, he found himself in the studio with John Lennon and Bruce Springsteen (Born to Run, Darkness on the Edge of Town) before setting his sights on being a producer. Building on what he’d learned from the masters, he helped Patti Smith (Easter), Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers (Damn the Torpedoes), and U2 (Rattle & Hum) — all current Rock and Roll Hall of Famers — achieve career breakthroughs. He also produced Stevie Nicks’ first solo album (Bella Donna) as well as albums for Dire Straits (Making Movies) and The Pretenders (Get Close).

Interscope, the record label that Iovine co-founded in 1990, has come to be widely regarded as the home of music’s most consistently intriguing and popular artists, including Dr. Dre, Nine Inch Nails, U2, Mary J. Blige, No Doubt, Marilyn Manson, The Black Eyed Peas, Eminem, 50 Cent and Lady Gaga. Powered by Iovine’s peerless rapport with musicians, new buzzed-about stars like Azealia Banks, Ellie Goulding, Kendrick Lamar and Lana Del Rey, are ensuring that that reputation endures.

In 2006, Iovine and hip-hop pioneer/producer Dr. Dre co-founded Beats By Dr. Dre, a high-performance headphone and sound transmission company intent on recapturing the fidelity of the studio. Thanks to the sleekly designed headphones, as well as expansion into smartphones and car audio systems, Beats By Dr. Dre has been widely successful, securing the No. 1 spot in the billion+ dollar premium headphones industry.

Iovine has expanded the Beats brand and reputation into the digital music space with Beats Music — the first streaming music service delivering contextually and culturally relevant playlists, personalized for each user, by real music experts. In many ways, Beats Music is Iovine’s latest “supergroup” with former Topspin exec Ian Rogers and Nine Inch Nails front man Trent Reznor will work alongside Beats Electronics President Luke Wood to create the next chapter of the music business and bring streaming music to the masses.

About the University of Southern California
The University of Southern California is one of the world’s leading private research universities. An anchor institution in Los Angeles, a global center for arts, technology and international trade, USC enrolls more international students than any other U.S. university and offers extensive opportunities for internships and study abroad. With a strong tradition of integrating liberal and professional education, USC fosters a vibrant culture of public service and encourages students to cross academic as well as geographic boundaries in their pursuit of knowledge.

Media Contact
Andrew Karl
TriplePoint PR, for USC
(415) 955-8500