Category Archives: Campus News

Students’ Open-Source Tech Project Enables New Voice-Command Apps

Computer science students Shubhro Saha ’15, left, and Charlie Marsh ’15. (Courtesy the Jasper Project)

Computer science students Shubhro Saha ’15, left, and Charlie Marsh ’15. (Courtesy the Jasper Project)

For Shubhro Saha ’15, the idea of developing an open-source platform for voice-controlled computer applications was born out of a simple desire: to have his house act like billionaire Tony Stark’s in the Iron Man films. “I was sitting around last June and I wanted to live like Tony Stark — I wanted the experience of sitting in a room and talking to my walls,” Saha said.

Jasper, the platform that Saha created with fellow computer-science major Charlie Marsh ’15, operates like a customizable Siri, allowing users to create their own voice-command tools. Its release earlier this month led to broad interest from programmers, as well as coverage from Forbes, Wired, and a number of niche technology sites.

The idea grew from a collaboration last summer: After Saha built a prototype of his idea, he reached out to Marsh to see if he’d also be interested in working on Jasper. Saha first met Marsh when the two worked on a project for COS 333: Advanced Programming Techniques.

When Saha video chatted with Marsh to demonstrate the prototype of Jasper, Marsh was “incredibly impressed” with the progress Saha had made. “From there I was sold,” Marsh said. “I really wanted to be involved.” Continue reading

Grody ’11 Is Music Director of a New York Premiere

TGI PosterPlay: The Great Immensity, a musical play about climate change by the investigative theater company The Civilians. Andrea Grody ’11 is the music director. The show is written and directed by Steven Cosson and songs are by Michael Friedman.

Dates and location: Through May 1, at the Public Theater, 425 Lafayette Street, New York, N.Y.

The music director: As a student at Princeton, Grody was music director of the work-in-progress production of The Great Immensity at the Berlind Theatre. Today she is a musical-theater artist in New York City. The musical she wrote, Strange Faces, about young people with Asperger’s syndrome, received readings last summer.  Continue reading

Tiger of the Week: Tom Finkelpearl ’79, New York’s New Cultural Affairs Commissioner

For the last 12 years, Tom Finkelpearl ’79 has been an advocate for arts outreach in Queens as president and executive director of the Queens Museum. This month, he received the opportunity to expand his reach to all five boroughs as New York City’s commissioner of cultural affairs, an appointment announced by Mayor Bill de Blasio on April 7.

Finkelpearl’s work at the Queens Museum was a major factor in de Blasio’s choice. “When you’re making a choice on someone to lead an agency, you need vision and you need the ability to follow through in action,” he said at a news conference. “And Tom Finkelpearl proved to me that he knew how to do both.”

Finkelpearl, in remarks at the same event, noted that while New York City profits economically as a magnet for those who appreciate art and culture, the arts also have social value for the city’s communities. “And I think that this is an argument that hasn’t been well made by the city,” he said. “But if you look again, what happens on the community level with artists in all the neighborhoods of New York City, there’s something extremely valuable, moving, that’s good for communities. And I intend to try to understand how we can best express that value.”

WATCH the full news conference below, courtesy of the New York City Mayor’s Office.

Marcoux ’91 Chosen as Next Athletic Director

Mollie Marcoux ’91, a sports and recreation executive and former two-sport athlete at Princeton, was introduced as the University’s next athletic director in a press conference at Jadwin Gym April 15. Marcoux, who will take the helm as the Ford Family Director of Athletics in August, will be the first woman to lead the department, which includes 38 men’s and women’s varsity teams.

President Eisgruber ’83 made the announcement, hailing Marcoux’s 19 years of experience at Chelsea Piers Management in New York and Connecticut; her time as a coach and administrator at the Lawrenceville School; and her contributions as a student-athlete at Princeton, where she excelled in ice hockey and soccer and graduated cum laude from the history department.

“She is an ideal leader for our athletics program,” Eisgruber said. “She understands, because she has lived it, the commitment that Princeton makes to ensure that the term scholar-athlete bears equal weight on both sides of the hyphen.” Continue reading

Read PAW’s First Issue, Published on This Date in 1900

PAW’s first issue — April 7, 1900. Click on the photo to read a PDF version.

PAW’s first issue — April 7, 1900. Click on the photo to read a PDF version.

Have you ever wondered what class notes looked like when PAW began publishing in 1900? To mark PAW’s 114th birthday, we’ve scanned and posted the entire first issue, including notes that report on Booth Tarkington 1893’s latest book and the military exploits of Lt. Gordon Johnston 1896 that would later earn him the Medal of Honor.

Volume 1, Issue 1 also outlined the magazine’s mission; shared news from regional alumni dinners and campus events; updated Tiger fans with the latest baseball scores; published the first PAW memorial, for Samuel H. Pennington, Class of 1825; and included an advertisement for the Princeton Inn (now Forbes College), “A charming resort situated in the midst of the beautiful university town … University golf links adjacent.”

Click here to view the full PDF.

Bernanke Speaks About Challenges of Chairing the Fed

Ben Bernanke was a tenured professor at Princeton and chaired the economics department from 1996 until September 2002, when he went on public-service leave to serve on the Federal Reserve board. Four years later, he was appointed as the Fed chairman.

Former Fed chairman Ben Bernanke, pictured in a 2010 visit to campus. (Denise Applewhite/Office of Communications)

Former Fed chairman Ben Bernanke, pictured in a 2010 visit to campus. (Denise Applewhite/Office of Communications)

“The biggest thing I’d ever run before [the Federal Reserve] was the economics department at Princeton, so there were a lot of new things to think about,” Bernanke said in a speech at McCosh 50 on April 2. While his work as department chair gave him “a lot of experience working with prima donnas,” Bernanke said that leading the Fed was filled with new challenges.

“The thing that surprised me the most about the job was how much of it involved dealing with political figures,” Bernanke said. “The Fed is independent and apolitical, that’s very true — there were no politics in our decision-making. But it’s still very important for the Fed to coordinate with and explain itself to Congress and the administration.”

Bernanke was invited to campus by the Whig-Cliosophic Society to receive the 2014 James Madison Award for Distinguished Public Service. Past recipients of this award include Golda Meir (1974), Bill Clinton (2000), and Antonin Scalia (2008). Continue reading