Associate Director Academic and Research Technologies
Senior Web and Applications Developer, Academic and Research Technologies
Northwestern University is in the early stages of exploring migration of its application development to the cloud. This presentation focuses on a recent software application platform development, NUPredicts, and the Northwestern GeoGame, which were developed and deployed from Amazon Web Services cloud platform. NuPredicts is a prediction gaming platform designed to foster student engagement for the One Book One Northwestern 2016 selection, Nate Silver’s The Signal and the Noise. NUPredicts has been deployed three times, for a Northwestern Big 10 Football Game, the Nate Silver One Book One Northwestern keynote address, and for the November 8 presidential election. NUPredicts will continue to have various other game instances that will occur throughout the year. A faculty committee guides the NUPredicts content and is composed of six members from the departments of economics, computer science, and the business school. The Northwestern GeoGame is a second game built on the same platform and is designed to spur undergraduate knowledge of geography. This version is a daily geography quiz that is hosted by the university’s online newspaper “The Daily Northwestern.” Both of these instances reside on the same gaming platform and comprise a responsive-web-design HTML5 game and stateless platform run on AWS in a serverless architecture. The platform leverages AWS API Gateway and Lambda for all the game logic, service composition, and orchestration; the data persistence layer is handled by DynamoDB, a NoSQL database with high availability; and the real-time component, built via the creative use of the AWS Internet-of-Things managed service that broadcasts live updates to all connected users.