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Why Chicagoans of the future may know code

Hundreds of digital jobs move to Chicago, giving more reason to believe the city is the Silicon Valley of the Midwest.Minds_and_Machines_Hospital_animationMadhuri Sebastian began her career at GE in the Information Management Leadership Program (IMLP), a two-year program with four rotational assignments in various areas of IT. She was drawn to computer science because it enabled her to solve complex problems. “I remember the first time I wrote a simulation program in c++ in college… I was hooked.”

Sebastian has since taken on numerous roles within GE Healthcare and is now working on deep learning co-development engagements, including the partnership recently announced with UCSF. She’s one of the many women and men who make up GE Healthcare’s top tier tech talent. And she’s one of the hundreds of employees who will be moving from GE Healthcare’s Barrington facility to downtown Chicago in the coming months.

Why? The quintessential industrial has gone digital. But this isn’t just a reference to GE. Chicago – a city known for its manufacturing roots and industrial feel – is also reinventing itself.

In the past few years, the “Silicon Valley of the Midwest” has emerged as a top technology hub for businesses, climbing the ranks to make this Top 10 Cities for Techies list by data marketing company Mintigo, this 25 Most High Tech Cities in the World list by Business Insider and 2thinknow, and this Top 10 Cities for Rapid Growth list by Inc.

The Barrington to Chicago relocation will capitalize on that ecosystem growth, bringing together software engineers, software developers, data scientists, product analysts and project managers from across GE Healthcare, Transportation and Digital for stronger cross-company collaboration and increased innovation with startups, associations and health systems. It’s part of GE’s digital industrial transformation, but it also mirrors the evolution of Chicago as a hub for visionary thinking and digital-first solutions.

Sangeetha Pisharody, a senior software manager who will also be part of the team moving downtown, is excited about being closer to the action in order to better deliver for GE Healthcare’s customers. “Early in my career with GE Healthcare, I designed and developed software for doctors and hospitals,” Pisharody said. “The work I did at that time has given me an appreciation for the importance of quality and reliability in our solutions, as well as the ability to rapidly iterate and deploy technologies that address healthcare’s greatest needs.”

“Healthcare is personal – it touches all our lives,” Sebastian said. “What better industry to use technology to make a difference?”

And making a difference is definitely the goal. Tapping into talent that can help build a library of deep learning applications on the GE Health Cloud, and working more closely with leading hospitals and health systems to co-create digital solutions that have the potential to improve quality, lower costs and increase access to care, is the ultimate vision for this digital investment.

Additionally, the collaboration across GE could enable more rapid development of solutions like DenialsIQ – an advanced analytics solution that uses machine learning capabilities to identify correctable health insurance claim denials and their cause. DenialsIQ uses powerful algorithms originally designed by GE’s Global Research Center for the company’s aviation business.

“GE is an amazing place for nurturing talent, especially diverse talent, and Chicago is a great central location that gives access to innovation, technology and customers across the U.S., which makes it faster to co-ideate and innovate,” Sebastian said.