Stephen designed and built exhibits for the Capital Children’s Museum in the 1970s, ran the AmiEXPO trade shows for the Commodore Amiga in the 1980s, and began teaching at Rochester Institute of Technology in the 1990s. Today, he serves as Director of Open@RIT, a
Key Research Center and Open Programs Office at RIT; runs FOSS@MAGIC, one of the world’s largest and most comprehensive Free and Open Source Software University programs. He co-authored the original proposal for the Game Design and Development Degrees at The
Rochester Institute of Technology and teaches Video Game Design and Production as a Professor in the School of Interactive Games and Media at Rochester Institute of Technology. He’s been a scholar-in-residence at The Strong National Museum of Play for fourteen
years where he’s participated in the design of exhibits on the History of Video Games, Science Fiction Toys and Games and the new exhibits opening next year in the museum’s upcoming expansion. He’s been part of the development team for a number of “serious
games” in the fields of education, tourism and mental and behavioral health. Most recently he was a producer of “The Original Mobile Games” a collection of physical hand-held games from the 1850s to the 1950s released on iOS, Android and the Switch.
Bryce Adelstein Lelbach has spent over a decade developing programming languages and software libraries. He is a Principal Architect at NVIDIA, where he leads programming language standardization efforts and drives the technical roadmap for NVIDIA’s HPC and Quantum compilers and libraries. Bryce is passionate about C++ and is one of the leaders of the C++ community. He is the chair of INCITS/PL22, the US standards committee for programming languages and the Standard C++ Library Evolution group. He also serves as editor for the INCITS Inclusive Terminology Guidelines. Bryce served as the program chair for the C++Now and CppCon conferences for many years. On the C++ Committee, he has personally worked on concurrency primitives, parallel algorithms, executors, and multidimensional arrays. He is one of the founding developers of the HPX parallel runtime system.
Deb Nicholson is the Executive Director at the Python Software Foundation, the non-profit steward of the Python programming language. She is a free software policy expert and a passionate community advocate. After years of local organizing on free speech, marriage equality, government transparency and access to the political process, she joined the free software movement in 2006. She has previously served the open source ecosystem through her work at the Open Source Initiative, Software Freedom Conservancy, and the Open Invention Network. She’s won the O’Reilly Open Source Award and the Award for the Advancement of Free Software for her efforts to broaden the free and open source software movement. She is also a founding organizer of the Seattle GNU/Linux Conference, an annual event dedicated to surfacing new voices and welcoming new people to the free software community. She lives with her husband and her lucky black cat in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
Royal O’Brien is a software and hardware engineering veteran with more than 30 years of experience in the corporate enterprise and video game industries, having founded multiple companies from software development to service solutions. He has multiple patents in both video, telephony & digital distribution technologies. He has invented and holds multiple issued patents in the video, VOIP, game, and digital distribution technology industries and has successfully commercialized multiple products in the marketplace from theory to final release.
Zombie Cat Studios CEO and Founder Sheri Graner Ray has been designing computer games since 1989. She has worked for many well known companies including Electronic Arts, Sony Online Entertainment, Daybreak Games, Cartoon Network, and the Department of Defense. Her projects include work with such licenses as Star Wars, DC Comics, Nancy Drew, and Daniel Tiger as well as attractions in museums and the Sea World and Disney parks.
In 1998 she founded the IGDA’s Women in Game Development Special Interest Group and served as its leader for 10 years. Then In 2000, she founded Women in Games International (WIGI) and served as its Executive Director for 6 years. Her book, “Gender Inclusive Game Design: Expanding the Market” was nominated for Game Developer’s Book of the Year in 1996. She has been awarded the IGDA’s Game Developers’ Choice award and has been on the Hollywood Reporter and WGEN’s lists of top women in games. She and her husband live in Austin where she is beginning her teaching career at the University of Texas in the Arts and Entertainment Technology department. She is an avid gamer, amateur motorsports participant and an active competitor in numerous canine sports.
Nithya A. Ruff is the Head of Amazon’s Open Source Program Office. Open Source has proven
to be one of the world’s most prolific enablers of innovation and collaboration and Amazon’s
customers increasingly value open source innovation and the and cloud’s role in helping them
adopt and run important open source services. She drives open source culture and
coordination inside of Amazon and engagement with external communities. Prior to Amazon,
she started and grew Comcast and Western Digital’s Open Source Program Offices. Open
Source Program Offices are a critical part of a company’s digital transformation and innovation
Nithya has been director-at-large on the Linux Foundation Board for the last 5 years and in
2019 was elected to be Chair of the influential Linux Foundation Board. She works actively to
advance the mission of the Linux Foundation around building sustainable ecosystems that are
built on open collaboration. She is a passionate advocate and a speaker for opening doors to
new and diverse people in technology and can often be seen speaking and writing on this topic.
Nithya graduated with an M.S. in Computer Science from NDSU and an MBA from the
University of Rochester, Simon Business School and is an aspiring corporate board director and
governance enthusiast. You can follow her on twitter @nithyaruff and you can find her
As Game Director at Hadean, Mathew Kemp combines deep experience in strategic product management with leadership of multi-disciplined teams to deliver valuable impact on products against a company’s strategy in the areas of online live service gaming, eSports and community engagement. He led the strategy for Hadean Simulate, a cloud native distributed spatial engine capable of simulating millions of entities and giving access to tens of thousands of end users to the same simulation, specifically for the gaming, digital twin and government industries.
After nearly three decades of experience as founder and president of one of the world’s preeminent independent game developers, Denis Dyack founded Apocalypse Games, focused on the way people experience games. Apocalypse takes a cloud-first approach in game development to move the medium of the games industry forward. Denis has received countless industry and business awards, and his creativity and writing helped the title, Eternal Darkness, win an “Outstanding Achievement in Story or Character Development” award from the Academy of Interactive Arts and Sciences in 2003. He was inducted into the Canadian Developers Hall of Fame in 2011.
Omar is a Technical Ecosystem Manager at Imagination Technologies where he focuses on building strategic partnerships with game and engine developers around Imagination’s GPU PowerVR mobile architecture. In the past. he spent his time developing games with an emphasis on Serious Games, exploring the potential games have in helping people through play. Lately, he has been focusing his work on enhancing game developers’ experiences when working with Imagination’s chipset and graphics development tools.
Chris Melissinos currently serves as the Worldwide BD and Strategy Lead for the Open 3D Engine effort under the Game Engine and Developer Services group at AWS. He is the former Chief Gaming Officer at Sun Microsystems, Inc., creator of the Smithsonian American Art Museum’s “The Art of Video Games” exhibition, and a founding board member of the Video Game History Foundation. With a career in the games industry spanning more than two decades, he has led the creation of video game solutions in Java, mobile, server platforms, and next generation game distribution solutions. His “The Art of Video Games” exhibition explored the 40 year evolution of video games as an art form, its impact on American culture, and traveled to 10 additional museums across the US. For this work, he received the industry “Ambassador Award” at the 2013 Game Developers Choice Awards at GDC. Speaking and press engagements include CES, Game Developers Conference, PAX, Mobile World Congress, JavaOne, and TEDx, and featured in more than 30 news outlets including CBS, ABC, FOX, BBC, NPR, Wired, Time Magazine, National Geographic, Nintendo Power, and Game Informer.