UCI Esports: “Esports Lab Spotlight: Maria J. Anderson-Coto” (Informatics graduate student)

March 6, 2019

Despite the field’s rapid growth in the past few years, academic research on the subject of esports is rare. The UCI Esports Lab’s aim, according to their website, is to “understand and enrich esports” through their student research. The faculty and graduate students there focus their study on methods to optimize esports teams, and they apply their findings to educational spaces like the North America Scholastic Esports Federation (NASEF). Such research often involves how players function in teams, particularly when they need to communicate and work together.

This article focuses on Maria J. Anderson-Coto, a first-year doctorate student at the Esports Lab. Her research topics include player performance, retirement in esports, and gender inclusion. More information, including contacts, can be found at https://www.uciesportslab.org/

Read the full story at the UCI Esports website.

Academics and Activists Unite to Tackle Digital Discrimination

March 5, 2019

On Friday, March 8, at 9:30 a.m. in Donald Bren Hall 2011, Yeshimabet Milner, founder of Data for Black Lives, will be giving a talk, “Abolish Big Data.” The talk, which is open to the public, kicks off a two-day workshop, “Datafication and Community Activism: Redrawing the Boundaries of Research,” hosted by Informatics Professor Roderic Crooks in collaboration with Milner. The rest of the workshop, by invitation only, will bring together a diverse group of activists and academics.

Continue reading

Alumni Spotlight: Erin Bradner Designs Technology to Amplify Our Creativity

March 4, 2019

When Erin Bradner ’01 was first introduced to human-computer interaction and artificial intelligence as an undergrad at UC San Diego, she was intrigued by the concept of neural networks. “Why wouldn’t we mimic the circuitry of the human mind to make software smarter?” This intrigue followed her into the workforce and ultimately led her to UCI, where she earned her M.S. and Ph.D. in Information & Computer Science (ICS). Now, as director of robotics at Autodesk, where she co-founded the Generative Design initiative, she is constantly exploring how technology can “amplify human creativity.” Here, she talks about everything from digital design tools and robots in the workplace to her need to “reverse-engineer” her induction into the ICS Hall of Fame.

Continue reading

Seeing Video Games in a New Light

February 25, 2019

By exploring gender and sexual identity in video games, Bonnie Ruberg’s latest book seeks to provide a sense of belonging for LGBTQ players while also offering readers of all backgrounds a new perspective on video games that foregrounds diversity.

Continue reading

VentureBeat: “How the ESA’s acting CEO views video game addiction” (Constance Steinkuehler mentioned)

February 22, 2019

“At the federal level there is a lot of interest in the power of games. You have, for example, the Department of Education that funds game research and how to use games in educational ways. Past administrations have actually had a video game guild, where they talk about games. Obviously there was Constance Steinkuehler, who’s a professor at UC-Irvine now. She spent time at the White House promoting the value of games in learning. There is a lot of interest in the power of games.”

Read the full story at VentureBeat.

Graduate Student Spotlight: Hillary Abraham Driven to Explore Future Transportation

A recent Marketplace article, “Your Car Is Not Self-Driving, No Matter How Much It Seems Like It Is,” quotes informatics Ph.D. student Hillary Abraham in response to concerns from safety advocates that driver-support technologies will be viewed as self-driving. “If that’s the attitude, then it’s only a matter of time until you get in an accident,” she explains. The article reports on a study Abraham conducted while working as a research assistant at MIT’s AgeLab. She found that car dealerships don’t always sufficiently explain to customers how advanced safety features work. Now at UCI, Abraham is exploring broader questions about the future of transportation from a variety of perspectives.

Continue reading

UCI Applied Innovation: “AVIAA Merges Fleets, Acquires Convolus”

February 20, 2019

AVIAA, an international group purchasing organization for business aviation and UCI startup company, has reached an agreement to merge operations with Convolus, Europe’s smart purchasing business. The acquisition will increase AVIAA’s European presence by establishing an office in Munich, Germany, in addition to their U.S. and U.K. locations.

“We are delighted to have formalized this agreement with Convolus,” said Gillian Hayes, AVIAA CEO, in a press release. “It marks a significant strategic step for AVIAA, which will enable us to deliver larger scale global purchasing for our collective members and suppliers.”

Read the full story at UCI Applied Innovation.

ICS Honors Four Alumni at 2019 Hall of Fame Celebration

February 15, 2019

On Friday, Feb. 8, the Donald Bren School of Information and Computer Sciences (ICS) inducted four esteemed alumni into its Hall of Fame. In a joint ceremony with UCI’s Schools of Engineering and Physical Sciences and their own 2019 inductees, ICS celebrated the achievements of its newest inductees in the impressive expanse of the Tustin Hangar. Noted for being one of the largest wooden structures in the world, the immense venue — with a rotating spotlight highlighting the vast open space surrounding the vibrant central event — seemed a perfect reflection of the far-reaching accomplishments of the night’s inductees.

Continue reading

Informatics Professor Gillian Hayes Receives Social Impact Award

February 14, 2019

Winners of the 2019 SIGCHI Awards have been announced, and the Social Impact Award went to Gillian Hayes, the Robert A. and Barbara L. Kleist Professor in Informatics in the Donald Bren School of Information and Computer Sciences (ICS). The award, which comes with an honorarium of $5,000, recognizes those “who promote the application of human-computer interaction research to pressing social needs.”

Continue reading

EdSurge: “Playing Games Can Build 21st-Century Skills. Research Explains How.” (Katie Salen Tekinbaş and Kurt Squire quoted)

February 13, 2019

“In the moment they’re talking about it, you get a lot of learning for free because they might have to think about technical terminology,” says Kurt Squire, a professor at the University of California, Irvine, who has studied how games impact learning. “That’s a general finding in research in other fields, but it works in kind of a cool way in games.”

Read the full story at EdSurge