University of Calgary

Computer Science Industry Day encourages academia-industry dialogue

UToday HomeMay 15, 2013

By Marie-Helene Thibeault

Carey Williamson , Peter Garrett , Guenther Ruhe and Jeff BoydCarey Williamson (head, Department of Computer Science), Peter Garrett (president, Innovate Calgary), Guenther Ruhe (associate head, research and planning, and event chair, Department of Computer Science), and Jeff Boyd (associate professor, Department of Computer Science).It’s impossible to imagine a world without computers. Whether it’s in the areas of telecommunications, medicine, energy, aerospace, security, education, environment, or art — computer technologies are omnipresent.

According to the speakers who led the May 9 Computer Science Industry Day, this is not about to change. In fact, computers’ capabilities and applications evolve daily and the University of Calgary is positioning itself to be at the forefront of this rapid technological boom.

“People are currently asking themselves whether software is eating the world or if we are simply in a software bubble 2.0 and I would have to say that we’re facing a bit of both,” stated Peter Garrett, president of Calgary Innovates and keynote speaker at the event.

“There are a lot of ripe markets for new companies and innovations right here in Calgary and we hope to capitalize on these opportunities to become a leading eco-system in Canada,” he said as he encouraged the attendees to continue to push the boundaries of technology innovations.

Garrett’s presentation was followed by associate professor Zongpeng Li’s talk on data-driven computing, associate professor Jeff Boyd’s overview of a new Computational Media Design Program, Rob Eastick’s summary of how his company  – CMG – has extracted value from industry-academia relationships, and associate professor Mario Costa Sousa’s showcase of next- generation visual computing for the oil and gas sector.

The event concluded with poster presentations by students and a top prize presentation to the team of Kody Dillman. Their project concerned using a single visual interface based on the concept of a mirror to engage stakeholders in different locations for playing and learning.

Computer Science alumni, Odette Roy, who is presently taking a sabbatical year to assess new professional options, left the event highly stimulated.

Kody Dillman and his team took home the best poster award for their projectKody Dillman and his team took home the best poster award for their project on the use of a single visual interface to engage stakeholders in different locations for playing and learning.“It was interesting to see all the many multi-disciplinary interactions happening in computer science,” said Roy. “This event has motivated me to explore more opportunities on my own,” she added.

This year’s event featured a new initiative aimed at engaging industry partners to elaborate research challenges. Guests were invited to submit projects for consideration by faculty members and assessed for funding potential.

A total of six IT-related challenges were gathered and more can be submitted at:

“The event’s purpose is to create an engaging platform that promotes an open dialogue between industry and academia,” explained professor Guenther Ruhe, associate head (research and planning) in the Department of Computer Science, and event chair.

“With this year’s record turnout, we get a sense of how much people are eager for these kinds of discussions,” he added.


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