Academy of Interactive Entertainment Lands at the Seattle Center


The Academy of Interactive Entertainment (AIE), a non-profit academic institution providing vocational training for the digital media industries, signed a lease with the Seattle Center and will be opening their doors to students in June, according to a press release jointly issued by the AIE and the Washington Interactive Network, an industry association representing the local gaming industry.

"The AIE looks to be another welcome addition to Seattle's growing range of educational resources for students seeking a practical, real-world education," says Scott Steinberg, lead technology analyst for TechSavvy Global. "Offering results-oriented instruction in digital media, 3D graphics and video game development, the local high-tech and gaming communities are pleased to have such an acclaimed source of insight and talent located just around the corner.”

“The AIE will provide students with real world skills that employers look for in grads that are applying for a job in game development as a programmer, artist, or engineer,” says Dr. Christopher Erhardt who is heading up the new campus. “We are offering 2-year advanced diplomas and 1-year certificates in game development targeted at the casual and social game sectors as well as focused courses in Screen & Media, Computer animation and digital post production F/X for students interested in getting into film animation.”

With over 150 interactive media companies in the local game industry, the Seattle region’s strong interactive media cluster was a major decision point for AIE. “Education is a strong cornerstone for growing our local workforce which is a driving need for our local industry,” said Kristina Hudson, Director of enterpriseSeattle’s Washington Interactive Network. “In the next few years, we have the unique opportunity to be the global center of game and interactive media development and IP creation, if we stay competitive with our education, taxes, and incentives.”



2016 Tech Impact Awards: Tech Impact Champion

2016 Tech Impact Awards: Tech Impact Champion

Congratulations, Ed Lazowska!

Ed Lazowska, Ph.D.
Bill & Melinda Gates Chair in Computer Science & Engineering, University of Washington

When Ed Lazowska arrived in Seattle 39 years ago as an assistant professor, both the University of Washington and the region were very different places. In computer science, he was the newest of only 13 faculty members. The region’s tech industry largely consisted of Boeing, Fluke and Physio-Control. Microsoft at the time was still a dozen people in Albuquerque. 
Today, the UW’s Computer Science & Engineering Department rivals Stanford’s and Carnegie Mellon’s for attracting tech talent and major research — accomplishments that Lazowska helped bring about. As the university’s department chair, his effort to recruit leading data scientists included personally reaching out to Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, who provided $2 million from Amazon to endow two professorships and personally met with researchers. A decade after leading fundraising to build the Paul G. Allen Center for Computer Science & Engineering, he is doing so again to build a new CSE facility that will help double the center’s capacity.
“Our job,” Lazowksa asserts, “is to provide socioeconomic mobility for bright kids in this region.”
Driving opportunities through research remains his passion, as his own studies in high-performance computing, multicomputer processing and big data science have proved. An early technical adviser on the formation of Microsoft Research and a member of two national advisory committees on science and technology policy, he has promoted private and public investment in “engineering things that one day in the future will be used in game-changing products.”
Lazowska believes big data and cloud computing “lie at the heart of 21st century discovery.” He helped found and now leads the UW’s eScience Institute, a cross-campus partnership that helps scholars in fields such as astronomy, biology and sociology take advantage of data analytics to enhance their research. Given the region’s far-reaching cloud expertise, Lazowska says, “This is an area that Seattle has the potential to own.”
Lazowska’s other initiatives include promoting K-12 STEM education and gender diversity in the UW program. He champions the notion that all students should study computer science to cultivate the “computational thinking” skills needed for the new century.
Lazowska marvels at the region’s transformation into a place “with distinctive and innovative activities in the broadest range of areas.” With his trademark enthusiasm for the UW and the local tech sector, this celebrated educator, researcher, adviser and booster has played an important role in that transformation.
Previous Tech Impact Champions
Tech Impact Champions are chosen not only for their achievements in technology but also for championing the region’s broader tech sector. Past inductees in Seattle Business magazine’s Hall of Technology Champions, previously called Lifetime Achievement Award honorees, are:
  2012: John McAdams, former CEO, F5 Networks
  2013: Jeremy Jaech, cofounder, Aldus and Visio, and chair emeritus, the Technology Alliance
  2014: Steve Ballmer, former CEO, Microsoft
  2015: Tom Alberg, cofounder, Madrona Venture Group