Field Trip to UCI

After a great day of hands-on workshops at the CSIT Symposium, the participants were in for a real treat.  We all climbed into a bus and headed to the University of California Irvine to visit the Donald Bren School of Information and Computer Science for “tour” and “reception”.  I’ve been on these tours before but this was a real treat.  It wasn’t just walking down the halls, looking left and right.  After a greeting from the dean, we were invited to take in various stations in the beautiful six floor building.

Sadly, we weren’t there long enough to visit all the stations, but I did manage to get to four.

Software Design Sketching
I think we’ve all seen interactive white boards in action.  But, imagine taking a big screen and dividing it according to working groups or project development teams and then pulling it all together.  The focus is on ease of creating content and not the final look good.  Focus on the end.  It was an interesting concept and seeing the IWB work with a tablet was very cool.  The software is supposedly open source and available on GitHub.  Another to-do project!

Understanding the Daily Activities of People from Camera
I thought that this would be so helpful for the next time I can’t find my keys!  A mountable camera keeps track of your entire daily movements and through object recognition helps you navigate or see things or help you when you can’t remember things!  I sure could use that!  The potential for those with visual problems or in Alzheimer’s Disease are a big target.

Alan Turing’s Influence on Computational Biology
In tribute to Turing, I thought that this was a must-see.  Perhaps those coded messages are based on celery research?  This was a fascinating talk and demonstration about how biology and computer science and simulations all merge.  I’m not strong in Biology so this was really over my head…and yet you can’t help but be impressed that there are people that live and breathe this stuff.

Computer Game Science
This has huge student interest everywhere I think and so it was interesting to sit in the lab and talk about the program at the school and where it fits into CS Majors and students who take the course for general interest.  A demonstration that we saw came from the Ucigame Java Library for 2D games which students use as the basis for their own projects.  Check out a few of them at http://frost.ics.uci.edu/CSITGames/

It was over all too quickly.  It was mentioned and certainly evident that there is a huge breadth of courses available for students to take.  I know that this would be a terrific tour for high school students interested in post-secondary opportunities.

For the conference attendees, it certainly was a rare and unique opportunity to go back to school.  It was the perfect ending for a long and motivating day.

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