U of A Computing Science Wows ITAC Visitors

By Mike MacGregor, Professor and Chair, Department of Computing Science, University of Alberta

On behalf of the University of Alberta's Department of Computing Science, I am proud to have hosted the Information Technology Association of Canada (ITAC) Board of Directors on Wednesday, September 21.

The day's events began with comments from Gregory Taylor, Dean, Faculty of Science, University of Alberta, and Jonathan Schaeffer, Vice-Provost (Information Technology), University of Alberta, and Cybera Board Member.

Following introductions, the ITAC Board —€” which includes senior management from many major IT companies in North America — was taken on a unique tour of the department's world-class facilities and projects. Demonstrations were given by five different groups:

  • Cybera — Everett Toews and Barton Satchwill, both senior developers for Cybera, gave demonstrations of three of Cybera's innovative and collaborative research projects, DAIR, CESWP, and SilverEye — Classroom as a Service (announcement coming soon). The University of Alberta is a Cybera member and a partner on many of Cybera's collaborative research projects.
  • 3D Interactive (3DI) —€” A local startup software company that creates high-fidelity simulations of industrial equipment for use in simulator-based training and related serious game applications.
  • Computer Poker Research Group (CPRG) —€” The CPRG (recent winners of three of six events at the International Joint Conference on Artificial Intelligence [IJCAI]) is creating computer programs that play poker better than any human being, as a testbed for other scientific applications.
  • Service Systems Research Group (SSRG —€” The SSRG focuses on the technical and socioeconomic concerns around building software systems for the purpose of service delivery.
  • Undergraduate Arduino Laboratory — In this lab, we are exploring new ways to introduce computing to undergraduates.

These demonstrations highlighted the diversity, collaboration, and ground-breaking research that happens every day in the Department of Computing Science.

There was a great deal of positive feedback received from the ITAC members, with several wanting to return to see more of the demos.

Thanks to everyone who helped make the tour a success.