Roberta Ellen Lamb Memorial Endowed Fellowship Recipient Investigates Online Democratic Discourse

February 12, 2019

Informatics Ph.D. student Eugenia Rho recently earned the Roberta Ellen Lamb Memorial Fellowship. Established through an endowment in 2007 by Bob and Mosselle Pione, the fellowship honors the memory of their daughter, former ICS Associate Professor of Informatics Roberta Lamb, who passed away in 2006 after a short battle with cancer. In a personal remembrance following her passing, Informatics Professor Bonnie Nardi wrote, “Roberta’s genius was to ask big, nearly imponderable questions and to ground them in lengthy precise field studies, sophisticated theorizing and deep understandings of technology.”

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Professor Bowker’s Research as a CAS Fellow Tackles Timely Issues

February 11, 2019

The Centre for Advanced Study (CAS) in Oslo, Norway has brought together a group of Fellows to collaborate on a novel project, “In Sync: How Synchronisation and Mediation Produce Collective Times, Then and Now.” As explained in the project abstract:

Synchronised collective actions and experiences include political elections, sports events, demonstrations, parades, as well as other public rituals or performances…. But these synchronised collective times do not exist in and by themselves. They are always the result of work, and this work crucially involves and employs a wide range of communicative genres carried by different media.

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The New York Times: “Our Brains Aren’t Designed to Handle the Trump Era” (Gloria Mark cited)

In 2016, before Trump was elected, Gloria Mark, a professor of informatics at the University of California, Irvine, examined the daily habits of 40 information workers. She discovered they checked their email 77 times per day, on average, and slalomed between screens every 47 seconds. … For what it’s worth, Gloria Mark says that women, in her research, tend to self-interrupt less frequently than men. 

Read the full story at The New York Times or via campus-wide access provided by UCI Libraries.

UCI’s Record-Breaking Global Game Jam

February 5, 2019

Doubling the number of participants from last year, 304 people packed into Donald Bren Hall the last weekend of January to participate in the 2019 Global Game Jam (GGJ) — the world’s largest hackathon for game development. The GGJ UC Irvine site was one of the largest in the U.S., second only to New York’s Times Square site. Out of the 860 sites in 113 different countries totaling 47,044 jammers, UCI ranked an impressive eighth in size.

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Josh and Karen Tanenbaum Lead Career Workshop for Junior High Students

February 4, 2019

On Jan. 28, 2019, Informatics Professor Josh Tanenbaum and Assistant Project Scientist Karen Tanenbaum led a career workshop for junior high students at the Shalimar Learning Center in Costa Mesa, run by Think Together. Organized by the Tikkun Olam committee of University Synagogue as part of their career outreach efforts in the local community, the workshop involved hands-on learning activities. The Tanenbaums also discussed their educational journey through college and graduate school as well as their current work together running the Transformative Play Lab in the Department of Informatics at UCI.

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Marketplace: “Your car is not self-driving, no matter how much it seems like it is” (Ph.D. student Hillary Abraham quoted)

January 30, 2019

Safety advocates worry that drivers will cede responsibilities to the technology, effectively treating “driver support” technologies as “self-driving.”

“If that’s the attitude, then it’s only a matter of time until you get in an accident,” says Hillary Abraham, a doctoral student at University of California, Irvine, who studies vehicle safety. 

Read the full story at Marketplace.

Trio of ICS Professors Preview Tech Trends for 2019

January 29, 2019

How will technology trends and advances in computing influence various industries and affect our day-to-day lives in 2019? Offering predictions for the year ahead are three faculty members from the Donald Bren School of Information and Computer Science (ICS):

  • Assistant Professor of Informatics Stacy Branham, whose research sits at the intersection of human-centered computing and accessible computing;
  • Professor of Statistics Michele Guindani, an expert in Bayesian modeling and the analysis of high-dimensional data; and
  • Assistant Professor of Computer Science Sang-Woo Jun, who works on building innovative system architectures for low-cost high-performance computing.

Here, Branham, Guindani and Jun discuss everything from universal usability and mobile health to future computer architectures, weighing in on what they think will be the top trends of the year.

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Motherboard: “Social Media Is Broken, But You Should Still Report Hate” (Kat Lo quoted)

January 23, 2019

“When you encounter groups that you find to be in violation of platform policy or that are very toxic, it is useful for you to report them,” Kat Lo, an online community researcher at the University of California Irvine, told me in an email. “There is an uncomfortable relationship if you’re trusting that companies are just trawling and reading everybody’s social interactions, so a lot of them try to make it report-based.”

Read the full story at Motherboard.

UCI News: “UCI-led study finds Harry Potter fan fiction challenges cultural stereotypes of autism” (Rebecca Black quoted)

Online publishing platforms and digital media can provide opportunities for nonmainstream groups to push back against and offer alternatives to the simplistic stereotypes presented in literature and popular culture. A study led by the University of California, Irvine focused on Harry Potter fan fiction and discovered that autistic people, family members, teachers and advocates cast autistic characters in their stories in diverse ways that challenge typical representations.

Read the full story at UCI News.

Professor Ruberg Co-Edits Groundbreaking Game Studies Issue on ‘Queerness and Video Games’

January 18, 2019

The December 2018 special issue of Game Studies on “Queerness and Video Games” is the largest in the journal’s history. “This is a groundbreaking special issue,” notes Informatics Professor Bonnie Ruberg, who co-edited the issue with Amanda Phillips, an assistant professor of English at Georgetown University. Yet the issue’s significance stems not just from its impressive volume of content. “It’s the first time,” says Ruberg, “that this major venue has engaged in such depth with issues of gender, sexuality and identity.”

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