Carnegie Mellon University AI Retail + Service Design Initiative (CAIRS): Virtual Roundtable


Retail and service industries are facing pressing and unprecedented challenges. In response, Carnegie Mellon is launching the AI Retail + Service Design Initiative (CAIRS) to collaborate with industry experts and generate new perspectives and solutions. Our mission is to create more humane, efficient, and positive retail experiences.

The first activities of CAIRS will be a series of focused, online conversations where CMU faculty will facilitate conversation on the immediate pain points of the retail and service industries due to COVID-19 — topics such as AI/Data, Forecasting, Omnichannel, Operations, and Customer & Employee Safety. These conversations are critical to shaping the workshop we are planning to hold on campus in the future.


  • Dokyun (DK) Lee — Assistant Professor of Business Analytics, Tepper School of Business, and
  • Paul Pangaro — Professor of Practice, Human-Computer Interaction Institute, School of Computer Science

Panelists include:

  • Nicholas Ahrens — Vice President, Innovation, Retail Industry Leaders Association
  • Chris Stephens  — Vice President of Data Technology, American Eagle Outfitters
  • Sridhar Tayur  —  Ford Distinguished Research Chair, University Professor of Operations Management in the Tepper School of Business, Carnegie Mellon University
  • Carrie Tharp  — VP of Retail and Consumer, Google Cloud
  • John Zimmerman  — Tang Family Professor of Artificial Intelligence and Human-Computer Interaction, School of Computer Science, Carnegie Mellon University

CAIRS provides a forum for industry leaders to share their challenges with academic experts at the forefront of new technology. The forum will define novel approaches and apply collective knowledge, technology, talent, and resources to tackle industry’s problems. Together we will connect the best insights of service design, organizational change, robotics and automation, data analytics, and responsible artificial intelligence to core retail and service industry needs.

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