CSCI-GA-3033-004: Technology, Design and Entrepreneurship

Instructor: Prof. Lakshminarayanan Subramanian

Summer Session I

Timings: Mon-Wed: 6:00-8:20 PM

Room WWH 201

Course Objective:

The Technology, Design and Entrepreneurship class is a 6-week technology bootcamp class covering the basics of technology design, innovation and entrepreneurship.

Prerequisites: None


This is an idea-incubation design class where students will be exposed to a spectrum of tech challenges, latest and future technology trends (using case studies) and will need to iteratively propose and refine bold computing centric ideas for real problems. Students will also initiate the process of translating their ideas to initial prototypes. Right from the beginning, students in the class will form small teams where each team will work on a single project idea that solves an important real world problem. Students will be provided exposure to basic tools and platforms that can be leveraged by individual teams in their project design and implementation. In addition to idea incubation, the class will provide a beginner's background of tech startups including: product development cycle, how to pitch your idea, product market fit, fundraising and venture capital, talking and pitching ideas to customers. Teams are expected to constantly interact with other teams to discuss and exchange ideas.

Each class will have two parts:

  1. In the first part, we will be primarily focused on refining the tech ideas of individual groups and discussing their experiences discussing pitching across groups and learning potential customer needs. Students are expected to build a technology prototype
  2. The second part of each class will focus on problem areas and case studies. We will discuss specific areas and within each area, we will provide an introduction to real problems in need of innovative tech solutions. We will discuss case studies of successful startups in this area.

In addition, we will have a regular individual short sync up session with each project group twice a week basis to track progress and provide individual feedback.


This class will be graded based on:

  1. Class Participation, Discussion  and Summaries - 20%
  2. Idea Incubation - 10%
  3. Idea Prototyping and Design - 10%
  4. Prototype Evolution learning from Customer Needs - 20%
  5. Final Prototype - 20%
  6. Final Pitch - 20%

Class Syllabus:

Class 1: A Vision of Startup Culture


(Optional Reading) From Zero to One, Peter Thiel

B. Masters, Peter Thiel on Startups, Apr 2012

P. Graham, "How to Start a Startup", Mar 2005  

Class 2:  NAE Grand Challenges

Brainstorming Tech Ideas and Grand Challenges


NAE Grand Technical Challenges for the Century

Class 3: The Early Internet Bubble

Pitching Tech Ideas – Session 1

The Early Internet Bubble and the Search Engine Industry

Case Study 1: The Inktomi Story


E. Brewer, "Inktomi's Wild Ride - A Personal View of the Internet Bubble", Talk at Computer History Museum, 2004

Class 4:  Wearable Computing Vision


The Challenges of Wearable Computing. Thad Starner

Class 5: Wearables and Healthcare

Pitching Tech Ideas – Session 2

Case Study 2: Fitbit, Google Lenses

Short videos:

An interview of James Park

Google Diabetes Contact Lenses

Class 6: Personalized Diagnostics and Medicine

Prototype Design – Session 1

Case Study 3: Data-driven Healthcare Innovations for Better Medicine

Startup Case Studies: 23andme, Watson


Watch these videos:

23andme Talk by the Founder:

IBM Watson for Healthcare

Class 7: Personalized Learning

Prototype Design – Session 2

Startups: Knewton


Knewton White paper

Jose Ferreira, CEO of Knewton talk

Class 8: Green Computing and Alternative Energy


Making Solar Economical

Bill Weihl’s role at Google

Green Data Centers

Solar Energy Storage

Class 9:  Deep Learning

Prototype  Refinement – Session 1

Startup Case Studies: Clarifai, Facebook AI initiative


Yann Lecun’s Interview

Matt Zieler’s Talk

Class 10: Mobile Payments

Prototype Refinement – Session 2

Startup Case Studies: Square, M-Pesa


Mobile Banking:  Impact of M-Pesa for Mobile Banking in Kenya

How Square is Disrupting Banks

Class 11: Bitcoin and the Future of Currency


The original Bitcoin paper

Brian Armstrong: Bitcoin Interview

Class 12: Secure Cyberspace

Prototype Demo – Version 1

Startup case studies: Damballa, Menlo Security


MenloSecurity White paper

Interview with Yinglian Xie

Kevin Heineman: The Journey of a Security Startup (CTO, Damballa)

Class 13: Big Data

Prototype Demo and Pitch Practice

Startup case studies: Databricks


Harnessing the Power of Spark with Databricks

Spark Papers

Class 14: Internet of Things

Startup Case Studies: Meraki, NEST, Soli


Sanjit Biswas Talk on Meraki

Project Soli and Jacquard

Tony Fadell (CEO, Nest) talks

Class 15: Urban Sensing and Informatics 

Final Pitch and Demo

Startup Case Studies: Waze


Waze interview by Noam Bardin

Rise of People Centric Sensing: Andrew Campbell et al.