Wired: “D&D Must Grapple With the Racism in Fantasy” (Aaron Trammell cited)

January 26, 2021

Fantasy worlds are, definitionally, made up. There doesn’t have to be racism, yet in some of fantasy’s most cherished texts it is almost always present. Helen Young, author of Race and Popular Fantasy Literature, has cataloged the prevalence of fantasy racism across countless fantasy media. “I ended up finding that it’s rare for a fantasy world not to have an idea of race or racism built into it,” says Young, particularly in the way that fantasy heroes and beauties are often coded as white. University of California, Irvine informatics professor Aaron Trammell has written about this at length as well.

Read the full story at Wired.

Romper: “Here’s Why Your Kid Will Literally Not Stop Talking About Roblox” (Mimi Ito quoted)

“Roblox is a super compelling example of what game developers call a ‘sandbox game’ where players have easy-to-use tools and the freedom to create things and set their own goals,” Dr. Mimi Ito, a University of California, Irvine professor with an expertise in gaming and social media, tells Romper. “On top of the creative component, Roblox is also a social platform where children can connect with players and creators who share their interests, give constant feedback, and fuel their learning.”

Read the full story at Romper.

A Look at Health and Technology Trends for 2021 and Beyond

January 15, 2021

The fields of computer science, informatics and statistics have been influencing healthcare for decades, and 2020 served as an important reminder of the critical role both healthcare and technology play in people’s daily lives. The COVID-19 pandemic put a spotlight on healthcare, while stay-at-home orders significantly boosted technology use in general and telehealth practices in particular. Looking to the new year ahead, how might the connections between technology and health become further entwined, and how will this impact the future of healthcare? Here to address these questions are three professors from the Donald Bren School of Information and Computer Sciences (ICS):

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$5 Million Gift from ICS Alumnus Establishes UCI’s Steckler Center for Responsible, Ethical, and Accessible Technology (CREATe)

January 13, 2021

From healthcare to criminal justice, there are countless examples of the impact of AI — and of the human bias that can be carried within it. “Over the last decade, we have seen the absolute destruction AI can wreak on the world as well as the gifts it can bestow,” says Gillian Hayes, vice provost for graduate education and dean of the Graduate Division at UCI. So how might we reconfigure technological processes and infrastructures to center justice and promote human rights and social values? This is just one of the many questions that the new Steckler Center for Responsible, Ethical and Accessible Technology (CREATe), housed in UCI’s Donald Bren School of Information & Computer Sciences (ICS), aims to address.

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Computer Science and Software Engineering Professional Programs Showcase Student Success

January 12, 2021

On Dec. 17, 2020, the Master of Computer Science (MCS) and Master of Software Engineering (MSWE) programs held their first-ever virtual Capstone Showcase. The two professional programs, offered by the Donald Bren School of Information and Computer Sciences (ICS), joined forces this year to highlight the 142 students graduating on Dec. 18, showcasing their innovative projects. Both the graduation and showcase were virtual because of the pandemic, but that didn’t stop the students from presenting live, 15-miniutes pitches and demos over Zoom for the showcase. They then answered questions from the more than 80 guests in attendance, including industry professionals and UCI colleagues.

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Two Fellowships Support Ph.D. Candidate Phoebe Chua’s Research into Inclusive Hiring Practices

January 4, 2021

Informatics Ph.D. candidate Phoebe Chua was recently awarded a Chancellor’s Club Fellowship in the amount of $3,000. Fellows for this program are selected on the basis of demonstrated academic excellence, accomplishments and leadership qualities consistent with the mission of the Chancellor’s Club to represent, develop and support our future leaders. Chua also received $1,000 through a Public Impact Fellowship, which supports doctoral or MFA students conducting research that has the potential to substantially impact the public sphere.

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$5 Million in NSF Funding Boosts Development of Mixed Reality (XR) Platform for Workforce Training

December 17, 2020

What does the future of job training look like for manufacturing? With current innovations in augmented and virtual reality (AR/VR), it should look nothing like today’s inefficient and expensive processes based on paper pamphlets and in-person training from experts.

“The existing standard is the worst educational experience that I’ve ever seen,” says Kylie Peppler, a professor of informatics in the Donald Bren School of Information and Computer Sciences (ICS). Peppler is part of a multi-organizational team, led by Professor Karthik Ramani of Purdue University, that aims to greatly improve manufacturing workforce education with Skill-XR, a new training platform that leverages AR, VR and mixed reality (XR) applications.

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