Whether examining tweets to better understand crime levels, or monitoring comments posted on public forums to identify health trends, researchers need methods and tools specifically designed for social media analytics. That is why Computer Science Professor Chen Li decided to organize UCI’s first SoCal Social Analytics Workshop on May 11, 2018. Sponsored by the UCI Data Science Initiative and the UC Institute for Prediction Technology (UCIPT), the goal was to bring together people from different disciplines to exchange ideas regarding social media as a data source.
This summer, Howard Chen will wear a cap and gown for the first time in his life. The computer science major finished high school at age 16, and with a GED in his back pocket attended Mt. San Antonio College in Walnut for two years before transferring to UC Irvine during the 2017 winter quarter. Now, age 20, Chen will soon say goodbye to UCI, diploma in hand, but not without leaving his mark. Shortly after beginning his Anteater career, Chen founded the Cyber @ UCI club and the first UCI National Collegiate Cyber Defense Competition (CCDC) team. Originally under the faculty guidance of Richert Wang, and now Ray Klefstad, Cyber and the CCDC team have continued to grow in size and popularity. Graduating this summer to begin exciting work at a Southern California tech company, Chen leaves behind an evolving student cybersecurity culture here at the Donald Bren School of Information and Computer Sciences and UCI.
When Jonathan Young talks about a course, his friends in the Donald Bren School of ICS might think he’s talking about a computer science course, but his teammates would likely assume he’s talking about the golf course. The same is true for Ryan O’Connor. Both Young, a senior majoring in computer science, and O’Connor, a senior majoring in business information management, are members of the men’s golf team — recently crowned “Big West Champs!”
How does a distinguished professor who has made seminal contributions to the field of theoretical computer science (TCS) celebrate his 60th birthday? If you’re Vijay Vazirani, Distinguished Professor of Computer Science in the Donald Bren School of ICS, you attend a conference workshop held in your honor, organized by some of your former students.
When Computer Science Professor Aditi Majumder first received the National Science Foundation’s (NSF) Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) funding for her startup, Summit Technology Laboratory, she had visions of impacting education. She thought STL’s innovative platform for projection-based, multi-user and sharable augmented reality — grown in the Interactive Graphics & Visualization (iGravi) Lab at UCI — would be great in K-12 classrooms. Then her academic passions collided with the realities of the business world.
What do UCI alumni Kevin Mekhitarian, Shary Sajjadi, Justin Turpin and Johnny Zarate all have in common? These four ICS graduates currently work at AutoGravity, the Irvine startup that surpassed 1 million users in November 2017. Founded in 2015 by Andy Hinrichs, Nicholas Stellman and Serge Vartanov, AutoGravity’s car-buying app lets users find a car and dealership and, within minutes, apply for financing and select a lender.
Graduating computer science major Santiago Martin had no trouble transitioning from Orange Coast College to UCI, perhaps because he’s an Orange County native or perhaps because he’s the third in his family to attend UCI. He quickly joined the Power Lifting Club and put his computer science knowledge to good use, developing an iOS strength training app. He’s now ready to transition to something new as he graduates this spring and leaves the OC behind, moving to Seattle to start work at Google.
Students had fun stepping into virtual worlds at UCI’s first VRcade event, hosted by the Virtual Reality Development Club (VRDC) in collaboration with UCI Esports. VRDC president Edward Lok says the event, held on April 23 at the Esports Arena, was a “great success,” with approximately 50 people attending throughout the night. “Many students got the chance to try VR for the first time and were completely blown away by it.”
If you visit the LinkedIn page of graduating senior Kevin (Zijia) Ke, you’ll see several mottos, two of which are “never give up” and “stay positive.” Such optimism no doubt helped the computer science major progress from being an undeclared freshman who spoke very little English in 2014 to being a senior who finished his coursework in Winter 2018, and now has a job offer from Amazon and graduate school admission letters from both UCI and UC San Diego.
Back in 1975, UCI alumnus Barbara Kew was one of two female computer science students in her class and, as she has noted, female ICS role models were scarce. By 2017, Kew had been inducted into the ICS Hall of Fame, and the number of female ICS undergraduates had grown to 685. Furthermore, there is now a plethora of available resources and mentors, thanks to UCI’s Women in Information and Computer Sciences (WICS) student organization.