The New York Times Magazine: “How to Choose an Online Handle” (alumna Nikki Crenshaw quoted)

March 1, 2018

“If you’re going into a new environment — whether that’s a video game, or a social-media platform, or a subreddit — look into the social norms of that community first,” says Nikki Crenshaw, a researcher at Blizzard Entertainment, the maker of World of Warcraft and other online games. Crenshaw got her doctorate in informatics last year from the University of California, Irvine, where she studied naming practices in online video games.

Read the full story at The New York Times Magazine.

California Department of Education: “State Superintendent Torlakson Announces Appointments to Statewide Panel for Computer Science Education” (Debra Richardson named)

February 28, 2018

State Superintendent Tom Torlakson has announced his appointments to the Computer Science Strategic Implementation Plan Panel (CSSIPP), which aims to expand and improve computer science education statewide in grades K–12. The panel has its first meeting on March 1, 2018. Torlakson appointed five members of the 23-member panel. “I’m excited that this panel is beginning the work of strengthening computer science education in California,” he said. ‘We are preparing students for today’s and tomorrow’s career and college opportunities—and for the jobs of the future that haven’t yet been invented. Jobs and skills we must have in a fiercely competitive global economy.”

Read the full news release at the CDE website.

Strava Map Exposes Weaknesses in Understanding Complexities of Pervasive Data

February 20, 2018

It was recently reported that Strava unknowingly revealed U.S. military bases when it produced a heat map showing the movement of people around the world who use its exercise-tracking app. In reviewing the map, a college student from Australia realized that he could locate military bases in counties such as Iraq and Syria, where the app was almost exclusively used by American soldiers.

This prompted the U.S. military to review its security practices, and it renewed talks of privacy concerns, but according to Informatics Professor Matthew Bietz, “privacy is probably the wrong framework here.” The issue is much more complex.

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Novel AR/VR Theater Class Builds Foundation for New Traditions in Theater

February 12, 2018

“What new experiences can we create?” Informatics Professor Josh Tanenbaum presents this question to the 22 students enrolled in Informatics 295/190: AR/VR Theater, a new course he is teaching in collaboration with Broadway/film producer and director and UCI alumnus Tim Kashani. The question isn’t theoretical or merely an exercise in imagination. The experimental class will develop three augmented and virtual reality theater projects for use by Apples & Oranges Studios, a company founded by Kashani and his wife, Pamela, that develops and produces new musicals in cutting-edge ways.

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Grant Supports Study of RallyForRivers Campaign and Social Media’s Role in Raising Awareness

February 9, 2018

Informatics Professor Bonnie Nardi received a Council on Research, Computing and Libraries (CORCL) grant to support research into online activism – particularly, how social media can act as a tool in building public awareness about ongoing problems. The $3,000 received in funding will help cover travel expenses for one of her master’s students, Vishal Sharma, who plans to spend 10 weeks in Bangalore studying the RallyForRivers campaign to revitalize the rivers of India.

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UCI’s Judith Olson, Efi Foufoula-Georgiou elected to National Academy of Engineering

Distinction honors contributions to research, education and practice

Two University of California, Irvine faculty members have been elected to the National Academy of Engineering, one of the highest professional distinctions accorded to those pursuing research, education and applications in engineering and technical fields. Efi Foufoula-Georgiou, Distinguished Professor of civil & environmental engineering, and Judith Olson, Donald Bren Professor Emeritus of Information & Computer Sciences, are among 83 new U.S.-based NAE members.

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Julius Baer Vision Magazine: “The Familiar Faces of Interfaces” (Gillian Hayes quoted)

February 2, 2018

In her lab, Professor Hayes is working on tangible interfaces for blind
people that focus on interactions based on an augmented sense of
touch. Instead of using a screen reader to describe a visual interface,
which makes technological interaction difficult for the blind, one of
her projects in this area focuses on the development of a motorised
virtual scroll bar. Among other things, this scroll bar gives different
levels of resistance depending on the size of a document. “So, if it is a
short document, [you feel] light resistance, and you can pull quickly
down,” she explains. “Longer documents have more resistance so it
feels like the scroll bar is bigger than it is.”

Read the full story in this PDF. (Article starts on page 44.)