Navarro, Van der Hoek win Premier Award for SimSE

Project scientist Emily Navarro and Associate Dean André van der Hoek have been recognized with the 2009 Premier Award for SimSE, a game-based educational software engineering simulation environment that allows students to practice “virtual” software engineering processes in a graphical, interactive and fun setting.

SimSE’s direct, graphical feedback enables students to learn the complex cause and effect relationships underlying software engineering processes. During the game, the student takes on the role of the project manager and directs engineers to perform typical process tasks.

SimSE helps bridge the gap between the conceptual knowledge about software engineering that is presented in lecture but that often times is not fully explored or practiced in assignments or projects.

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LA Times: UC Irvine takes video games to the next level

By Tony Barboza,
November 30, 2009

UC Irvine has long sought to be known for preeminence in fields such as engineering, medicine and business. But now the university is embracing a new discipline: video games.

Once ridiculed within university halls as merely a nerdy pastime, computer games are being promoted to a full-fledged academic program at the Irvine campus, a medium as ripe for study as the formats before it: film, radio and television.

This fall UC Irvine established the Center for Computer Games & Virtual Worlds, and construction is underway on a 4,000-square-foot, 20-room “Cyber-Interaction Observatory” for faculty research. Plans call for floor-to-ceiling projection screens, 3-D stereoscopic displays and gesture-based interfaces.

If all goes according to plan, next fall UC Irvine will debut a four-year undergraduate program allowing students to declare “game science” as their major — an idea that drew snickers when a few professors first proposed it a decade ago.

“There are people who will say we’re pandering to a trend,” said Dan Frost, an informatics lecturer who teaches a popular computer game development course. “But this really is intellectually justified. Universities are always doing things that seem crazy at first.”

It’s a fitting development for a campus where some students are so gaga for gaming that they spend sleepless nights writing code for their homespun games and like to unwind with pizza-fueled Street Fighter tournaments and Rock Band contests. Continue reading “LA Times: UC Irvine takes video games to the next level”

Lopes speaks at Intel CTO keynote address

Cristina Lopes, Associate Professor of Informatics participated as a guest speaker in the keynote address at SuperComputing ’09 in Portland Oregon.  The Keynote was delivered by Justin Rattner, CTO of Intel.  Lopes was a guest at Rattner’s keynote, in her role as one of the main architects of OpenSim.

Justin Rattner’s opening keynote address at SuperComputing’09 message addressed how the super-computing industry has stagnated, and the only thing that will save it from collapse is a drastic change on what people think of as “super-computing.” Other guests were Aaron Duffy, a biology researcher at Utah State University, and Shenlei Winkler, CEO of the Fashion Design Institute.

Lopes’ research is related to languages and communication systems. The ultimate goal of her research is to deepen the knowledge about communication, in particular in systems that involve humans and machines. With this utopic goal in mind, she has done work in a variety of fields such as programming languages, security and applications of audio signal processing.

UCI students could soon major in video games

The Orange County Register’s Ian Hamilton on the new Center for Computer Games and Virtual Worlds:

IRVINE Freshmen at UC Irvine could be among the first graduates to earn a degree in computer game science as the university expands its research into gaming and virtual worlds.

A new Center for Computer Games and Virtual Worlds established this quarter at UCI is expected to consolidate and expand the research done in those fields. UCI isn’t the first school to offer a degree program in computer gaming, but university officials are keen on turning informal relationships faculty have with video game development companies into formal ones that can lead to internships, scholarships and exclusive research and development agreements. One of the most popular games in the world, World of Warcraft, is made by Irvine-based Blizzard Entertainment and a number of students from UCI already work there, said Information and Computer Sciences associate dean Magda El Zarki.

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