ICS Appoints Two New Department Chairs

July 14, 2021

The Donald Bren School of Information and Computer Sciences (ICS) welcomed two new leaders on July 1, 2021 with the appointments of Tony Givargis as chair of the Computer Science Department and Melissa Mazmanian as chair of the Informatics Department. Both start their three-year term with more than a decade of experience in ICS, a great appreciation for their predecessors, and excitement about the prospect of leading faculty and students to success in cutting-edge research and education with real-world impact.

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ComicBook: “Cartoon Network Partners With Raising Good Gamers to Promote Positive Online Gaming”

July 13, 2021

Cartoon Network has partnered with Raising Good Gamers, an initiative by Games for Change and Connected Learning Lab at the University of California, Irvine, to “inspire kids to stop bullying before it starts by creating more positive online gaming communities.” The announcement came as part of a larger slate of pro-social youth programs during the 2021 Games for Change Festival this week, which includes a collaboration with the TED-Ed Student Talks program as well as a series of youth workshops. But the Cartoon Network partnership is the only one that has Gumball from The Amazing World of Gumball and BMO from Adventure Time.

Read the full article at ComicBook.

Professor Theresa Tanenbaum Wins Dynamic Womxn of UCI Award for Social Justice Activism

July 7, 2021

In early 2019, when Informatics Professor Theresa Jean Tanenbaum first started compiling all of her work for tenure consideration, she had no idea that her efforts would lead to recognition at the 2021 Dynamic Womxn of UCI Awards event. At the May 2021 ceremony, Tanenbaum received an Outstanding Social Justice Activist award, which “honors individuals that have demonstrated a commitment to working on anti-sexist endeavors and who work to end multiple forms of oppression.”

How did the tedious yet routine process of trying to earn tenure put Tanenbaum on a path to receiving an anti-sexist activism award? Her journey starts with a name change.

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Informatics Professor Paul Dourish Named Steckler Endowed Chair

July 6, 2021

As the UCI community continues to mourn the loss of beloved alumnus Vincent Steckler, who led the tremendous growth of Avast Antivirus Software during his time as CEO, solace can be found in seeing the impact of his legacy. Steckler, who graduated from UCI in 1980 with a B.S. in information and computer science and a B.S. in mathematics, was a dedicated advocate for socially responsible technology. As announced in January, a generous gift from Steckler and his wife, Amanda, led to the creation of the Steckler Center for Responsible, Ethical and Accessible Technology (CREATE) in UCI’s Donald Bren School of Information & Computer Sciences (ICS). Funding from that gift also helped establish the Steckler Endowed Chair, with Chancellor’s Professor of Informatics Paul Dourish taking on that role effective July 1, 2021.

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The Resilience of the Class of 2021

June 24, 2021

UCI’s 56th annual commencement, though not unique in marking the university’s now second ever virtual ceremony, nevertheless represented something extraordinary. “The class of 2021 will have a unique place in our institutional memory as the most resilient and responsive class we have ever had the privilege of teaching,” said Chancellor Howard Gillman during his opening remarks. “Under the most extraordinary circumstances, you rose to the occasion, supported each other, adapted and persisted.”

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In Memoriam: Vince Steckler ’80

June 23, 2021

The UCI community mourns the loss of beloved alumnus, friend and supporter Vincent Steckler ’80. The former CEO of Avast Antivirus Software died unexpectedly on June 15, 2021 at the age of 62. 

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The New York Times: “Do Chance Meetings at the Office Boost Innovation? There’s No Evidence of It.” (Judith Olson quoted)

At the same time, technology — like Zoom, Slack and Google Docs — has made idea generation as effective online, researchers said. Judith Olson, a professor of computer science at the University of California, Irvine, has studied the effect of distance on teamwork for three decades. Distance matters much less now, she said: “Because of the technology these days, we’re actually inching closer and closer to replicating the office.”

Read the full article at The New York Times. (Subscription my be required.)

Capstone Program Showcases Growing Talent of ICS Students

June 22, 2021

The first incarnation of the capstone course in the Donald Bren School of Information and Computer Sciences (ICS) was in 2009, with 19 students from the Department of Informatics working on five project teams. Now, more than a decade later, the Informatics capstone course is offered three times a year, and ICS has added undergraduate capstone courses for its computer science and data science majors. It also offers capstone courses through its Master of Human-Computer Interaction and Design (MHCID), Master of Computer Science (MCS) and Master of Software Engineering (MSWE) professional programs. Even with the global pandemic moving people out of classrooms and offices and into online spaces this past year, more than 130 ICS capstone projects were successfully completed.

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