Archive for School of Informatics

School of Informatics and Computing to participate in Passport to Hi-Tech

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The IU School of Informatics and Computing at IUPUI is joining with other organizations Saturday, March 8, to teach girls about careers in science, technology, engineering and math at Conner Prairie.

The school will bring two activities to Passport to Hi-Tech at the interactive history park. The event is open to all ages but targeted to girls ages 7 to 12. Passport to Hi-Tech takes place from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and is free with paid general admission to Conner Prairie.

It will feature interactive exhibits and hands-on experiments designed to inspire girls to learn more about careers in STEM fields such as informatics, engineering, biology, chemistry, manufacturing, computer science and others. Passport to Hi-Tech was organized by Women & Hi-Tech and Conner Prairie. It is sponsored by Roche Diagnostics.

One of the School of Informatics and Computing’s activities is dubbed “Ready, Set, Compute!” Participants jump into computing and become a working part of a machine in a fast-paced game that shows what a computer does as friends play a game on it. When the players select a move, volunteer students will race to the CPU or other parts of the simulated device to deliver a signal for action, showing what goes on in a computer game.

The other activity will be demonstrating a Finch robot, a small, two-wheeled robot with bird-like features. Polly Baker, Ph.D., a professor of media arts and science in the Department of Human-Centered Computing, has programmed the robot so it can be controlled with hand gestures.

“The robot is approachable, and young people see they can control it,” said Vicki Daugherty, a school recruiting specialist. “It’s empowering. They say to themselves, ‘Hey, I can do this.’”

School of Informatics and Computing hosts robotics competition

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The IU School of Informatics and Computing at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis will host the 2014 Indiana VEX IQ Robotics State Championship on Feb. 22 at the Informatics and Communications Technology Complex on the IUPUI campus.

The championship, presented by the Office of Education Innovation and Robotics Education & Competition Foundation, is a competition to spur science, technology, engineering and math activities at area middle schools, with some competitors coming from elementary schools.

“Today, informatics plays a key role in many different industries,” said Polly Baker, professor of media arts and science in the Department of Human-Centered Computing. “Robotics is an example of a field where students can engage by making and designing information technology to serve people and augment our abilities to operate in the world.”

“It’s amazing to see how many students are already interested in getting involved in this exciting area of study,” said Davide Bolchini, interim chair of the Department of Human-Centered Computing and professor of human-computer interaction at the School of Informatics and Computing.

The competition is divided into different parts. The day will include team cooperative and skill competitions, as well as evaluation of design books, and mathematical research components.

Seven of the competing teams will qualify for the VEX IQ World Championship on April 17 in Anaheim, Calif. About 30 teams are expected to compete in the event at IUPUI.

IUPUI health informatics professor receives $100,000 grant

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An IU School of Informatics and Computing faculty member at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis will receive a $100,000 grant and two years of targeted scientific mentoring after being selected as an early-career scholar by a national center that seeks to improve population health.

Brian Dixon, an assistant professor in health informatics, will receive the award from the National Coordinating Center for Public Health Services and Systems Research. The center is housed at the University of Kentucky College of Public Health and funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Dixon is also a research scientist at the Regenstrief Institute and an investigator in residence for the Center for Health Information and Communication, part of the Department of Veterans Affairs’ Health Services Research and Development Service.

In a statement, the National Coordinating Center for Public Health Services and Systems Research said the funding and mentorship are designed to speed the discovery of strategies for improving the nation’s public health system. Dixon and the three others who were named early-scholars are expected to become the next generation of national leaders in the field of public health services and systems research.

The scholars’ studies investigate innovative public health programs and practices that have the potential to improve health status on a population-wide basis but currently have insufficient evidence about their effectiveness and value, the center said.

The project Dixon will focus on is titled “Improving Vaccine-Preventable Disease Reporting and Surveillance Through Health Information Exchange.”

Dixon’s research will implement and evaluate an automated process designed to improve reporting rates for vaccine-preventable diseases in Indiana, and to support more efficient provider reporting to public health agencies. The process takes advantage of Indiana’s statewide health information exchange that enables data-sharing between clinical and public health organizations, and it replaces existing, inefficient reporting procedures involving manual completion of health department forms.

Data from the health information exchange will be used to partially complete many of the required fields submitted to public health departments leaving blank only a small number of fields for clinical providers to complete. The process will also help identify cases of vaccine-preventable diseases that providers might otherwise forget to report because of high patient volumes or missing information.

Regenstrief Institute investigator Dr. Shaun Grannis, associate professor of family medicine at the Indiana University School of Medicine, and P. Joseph Gibson, director of epidemiology at the Marion County Public Health Department, will serve as Dixon’s mentors. Grannis collaborates closely with state, national and international public health stakeholders to advance technical infrastructure and data-sharing capabilities for population health. Gibson oversees disease surveillance for Marion County and advises state and federal authorities on using information technologies to improve public health practice.

Informatics research team awarded grant for clinical effectiveness research

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The Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute — created by the Affordable Care Act — has awarded a $2 million grant to a research team from the IU School of Informatics and Computing at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis to conduct comparative clinical effectiveness research.

Headed by Brad Doebbeling, Department of BioHealth Informatics chair and a professor of informatics, medicine and biomedical engineering, the team is the first in Indiana to receive an institute grant designed to include patients in the discussion of how to improve and expedite medical care.

In the coming months, Doebbeling’s team will work with community health centers around Indiana to understand how to provide better health care in a more timely fashion.

“We were funded to form a collaborative of community health centers from around the state of Indiana to gain a better understanding of how we can improve access to health care in Indiana,” he said.

Doebbeling’s team will examine how patients enter into clinic systems and engage patients, providers and staff in discussions about opportunities for change. They will study best practices and innovations that the community centers have discovered work for them on a physician, staff member or patient level to improve access to care.

“We’re right at the tipping point in health care informatics and health system redesign, where we can effectively use the information and data to make better decisions about organization and to provide more efficient, higher-quality health care,” Doebbeling said. “I’m excited; now is the time to solve those kind of problems. Our country is embarking on a grand experiment to work within existing insurance plans and delivery systems to expand care to the uninsured.

“There is tremendous data and information available that we need to utilize to provide better, safer and more efficient and effective health care. This is exciting because it’s a real partnership between patients, providers, staff, health systems and researchers all working together to solve problems with access to care.”

School of Informatics and Computing’s Davide Bolchini receives Google Faculty Research Award

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Davide Bolchini, interim chair of the Department of Human-Centered Computing and assistant professor of human-computer interaction at the School of Informatics and Computing at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis, recently received the prestigious Google Faculty Research Award.

The award is accompanied by a $44,252 grant that will support the study “Augmenting Screen-Reader Navigation by Linkless Dialogues” being conducted by Bolchini and human-computer interaction Ph.D. candidate Prathik Gadde. The study investigates how the blind and visually impaired can interact with and navigate through complex websites to compensate for their lack of sight. The study will examine novel solutions that could make surfing the Web easier for visually challenged users.

“The blind user experience with the Web is still very far from enjoyable,” Bolchini said. “There is so much more that we can do to make it not just slightly better but considerably more natural and desirable. Together with our stellar graduate students, we will explore strategies to help blind users understand where they are on a complex website, where they can go next from a page, or what to do to know more about a topic. This can make a significant difference in daily Web navigation tasks.”

The work will leverage the five-year collaboration with the Indiana School for the Blind and Visually Impaired. The study will build upon the research on “aural informatics” in collaboration with professor Steve Mannheimer and Executive Associate Dean Mathew Palakal in the Department of Human-Centered Computing, which already has a prior Google Research Award and two NSF-funded projects on Web accessibility, non-speech sounds and aural navigation.

Google Research Awards‘ mission is to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful. As part of that vision, the Google Research Awards program aims to identify and support world-class, full-time faculty pursuing research in areas of mutual interest.

This round, Google received 550 proposals from 50 countries. After expert reviews, 105 projects were selected for funding, with an acceptance rate of 19 percent.

Microsoft Research chief will keynote School of Informatics and Computing inauguration ceremonies

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Ceremonies inaugurating the launch of Indiana University’s newly merged School of Informatics and School of Library and Information Science will be highlighted by comments from Microsoft Corporate Vice President Peter Lee, head of Microsoft Research — an organization encompassing more than 1,100 scientists and engineers across 13 labs worldwide.

Lee will speak at 3 p.m. Friday, Sept. 27, at IU Bloomington’s Whittenberger Auditorium as the guest of IU President Michael A. McRobbie and IU School of Informatics and Computing Dean Bobby Schnabel. Anyone wishing to attend either the Bloomington event or a 2 p.m. live ceremony the same day at the Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis campus featuring IU Health President and CEO Daniel F. Evans Jr. are encouraged to RSVP by Friday, Sept. 20.

A live stream of the IU Bloomington ceremony and Lee’s comments will be offered at the IUPUI event, taking place at the Informatics and Communications Technology Complex Auditorium.

“Peter Lee is one of the foremost leaders and visionaries in the computer science community and draws on extensive experience from a distinguished academic career, government service and now as the leader of Microsoft Research,” Schnabel said. “I am delighted that the IU community and our friends will have the opportunity to hear him discuss his vision for the future of computing.”

Lee joined Microsoft in 2008 as distinguished scientist and managing director of the Microsoft Research Redmond Lab. He later took on leadership of Microsoft’s U.S.-based research operations, comprising seven laboratories and over 500 researchers, engineers and support personnel.

Before joining Microsoft, Lee held key positions in both government and academia. His most recent position was at the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, where he founded and directed a major technology office that supported research in computing and related areas in the social and physical sciences. Before DARPA, Lee served as head of Carnegie Mellon University’s nationally top-ranked computer science department.

The live event at IUPUI, according to Executive Associate Dean Mathew J. Palakal, will provide guests an opportunity to hear Evans talk about the intertwined relationship between technology and health care.

The School of Informatics, the first of its kind in the country, was founded as a school in 2000 and introduced the nation’s first Ph.D. in informatics; IU’s longstanding Computer Science Department joined the school in Bloomington in 2005. The school is an international research leader in areas including bioinformatics, complex networks and systems, cyber-infrastructure, data and search, human-computer interaction, networks and systems, programming languages, social informatics, and security and privacy.

IU School of Informatics and Computing develops massive multiplayer game for Gen Con

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When Gen Con opens its doors in Indianapolis, a massive multiplayer alternate reality game created by 40 Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis students and six faculty will be center stage.

The game, “Return of Aetheria: A game by the Media Arts and Science program at the IU School of Informatics and Computing at IUPUI,” uses video mapping and projectors that will create a large crystalline display; stereoscopic 3-D; a smartphone app; the entire convention center as a play area; and costumed actors portraying characters.

“Return of Aetheria” was developed as a result of an educational partnership between the Media Arts and Science program and Gen Con, one of the largest gaming conventions in the world. Known for introducing revolutionary gaming to the public, the annual convention has taken place in Indianapolis since 2003, attracting 40,000 visitors in 2012. Gen Con 2013 takes place Aug. 15 to 18 at the Indianapolis Convention Center.

The IUPUI students and faculty worked eight months on the project, crafting a game based on the theme of an epic quest to restore magic to the world. The app will guide players through various quests.

As quests are completed, players will see the results on the large crystalline display in real time through video mapping projectors. As the game continues, more and more dramatic events will appear on the crystalline structure and surrounding space.

The Media Arts and Science program has partnered with several businesses — including Mayfair Games, one of the largest board games companies in the world — to offer players $3,000 worth of prizes.

“We are combining several unique levels of technology and game design to create this experience,” said Mathew Powers, a lecturer in the IUPUI Media Arts and Science program and the project’s leader. “This has never been attempted before at this level, and we will demonstrate what the heck we can do, because I think we do some amazing things here.”

The partnership between Gen Con and the Media Arts and Science program brings together an event committed to the advancement of play and gaming and an academic program dedicated to the creation and production of games, Powers said.

Since the partnership was established last year, the Media Arts and Science program has added two classes, one on pre-production and the other on production of games, Powers said. While students learn how to create games, he said, perhaps most importantly they gain what potential employers want: the real-world experience of actually doing it.

The project has involved 3-D and 2=D artists, video mapping, animators, computer programmers, and narrators and actors who will be costumed and role playing as part of the game.

“We are blurring the lines between reality and the game through the use of cutting-edge technology,” Powers said. “Having the entire convention center space act as our play area will bring an uncanny gaming experience to all our players.”

Three students and a faculty member will don costumes and play game characters. They are student Robert Lastinger as Ah K’in, the Fire Champion; student Brittnee Thompson as Irisi, the Air Champion; professor Albert William as Espir, the Spirit Champion; and student Elspeth Eastman as a mystery character.

Faculty who have assisted with the project are Todd Shelton and Travis Faas, who worked on programming; Albert William, who worked on 3-D; Thomas Lewis, who worked on video/media; and Joseph Defazio, director of the school’s Media Arts and Science program.

Other students and students who graduated who contributed to the project are Brittney Conway, who has been the project’s dedicated assistant; Adam Glasscock, video mapping expert; and Kathryn Steele, art lead.

Powers plans to have students add on to the game each year, creating new versions for display at other conventions.

IAHI and Indiana Humanities Present: Mathew Powers, “Why Everything is a Game” (November 15)

Mathew Powers Flier
Mathew Powers, “Why Everything is a Game”
Date: 11/15/2012
Time: 7:30-8:30
Location: IUPUI University Library, Lilly Auditorium
Gaming and gaming culture is not just a leisure activity, it is becoming a crucial element of our everyday lives. Games will soon become integral to job advancement and education, from 1st grade through college.  Mathew Powers, a professor of gaming at the IUPUI School of Informatics, explores the gamification of our lives in this informative talk.
Co-hosted with the Indiana Humanities
Tickets are free, but make sure to reserve your tickets here.