Monday, November 17, 2008

Nov 2008 Irish Chapter of ACM SIGCHI Launch (Dec 2nd)

Irish Research into Human-Computer Interaction

A new Irish Chapter of ACM SIGCHI will be officially launched at Trinity College Dublin on Tuesday 2 December 2008, 4pm, reception to follow.

SIGCHI brings together people working on the design, evaluation, implementation, and study of interactive computing systems for human use. The Irish chapter brings together researchers and designers from across the Irish third level and commercial sector. With ever increasing amounts of technology in our cars, mobile phones, workplace and private lives, there is a huge challenge faced in designing systems which meet the needs of people in the real world.

Prof. Liam Bannon, Chair of the Irish SIGCHI, and Director of the Interaction Design Centre at the University of Limerick, welcomed this announcement, noting "While research has been done over many years in Irish Universities that fits under the umbrella of HCI, until relatively recently there have been few fora for researchers and practitioners to come together to share their experiences and discuss developments in this increasingly important interdisciplinary field. With the launch of an annual Irish HCI Conference series in 2007, and now the establishment of this ACM SIGCHI Chapter in Ireland, we are well on the way to creating a thriving and successful professional infrastructure to promote all aspects of HCI within Ireland, and provide a clear identity for the field in Ireland at the EU and international level."

The launch will be accompanied by an inaugural lecture from Professor Alan Dix of the University of Lancaster as detailed below.

NOTE: Please RSVP your attendance by Tuesday the 25th of November to sigchi.ireland@gmail.com

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SIGCHI Ireland Inaugural Lecture - Prof. Alan Dix

Human-Computer Interaction in the early 21st century: a stable discipline, a nascent science, and the growth of the long tail

Tuesday 2 December 2008, 4pm, reception to follow.

Venue: Lloyd Building LB08 Trinity College Dublin

(See http://sigchi.cs.tcd.ie)

Abstract:
In this talk I will give a personal view of the state of HCI as a design discipline and as a scientific discipline and how this is changing in the face of new technological and social situations. Going back 20 years a frequent topic of discussion was whether HCI was a 'discipline'. It is unclear whether this was ever a fruitful topic, but academic disciplines are effectively about academic communities and the establishment of SIGCHI Ireland is yet another sign of the long term stability of the international HCI/CHI community. However, as in computer 'science', the central scientific core of HCI is perhaps still unclear. A strength of HCI is the closeness between theory and practice, but the corresponding danger is that the two are often confused.

For twenty years the desktop GUI interface has been dominant, but in recent years the computer has 'escaped' the office desktop into the physical world of ubiquitous computing, into the virtual world of the internet, into our homes and our social lives. I will discuss one such change the move from a small number of applications used by many people to a 'long tail' of large numbers of applications used by small numbers of people. This change calls for different practical design strategies; focusing on the peak experience of a few rather than acceptable performance for many ... or as I sometimes refer to it 'Mars Bar vs. baked bean design'.

These changes are a challenge and an opportunity for new research and novel designs. However, as we see more diversity both in terms of types of systems and kinds of concerns, this may also be an opportunity to reflect on what is core across these; potential fragmentation becoming a locus to understand more clearly what defines HCI, not just for the things we see now, but for the future that we cannot see.

Alan Dix is Professor of Computing at Lancaster University. He has taught and researched in human-computer interaction (HCI) for over 20 years, has published over 300 articles and is author of one of the key textbooks in the area. He began as a mathematician at Cambridge University (and mathematics is still his first love) but moved into computing and HCI whilst doing his PhD at University of York. He has worked in several universities, agricultural engineering research, local government, hi-tech start-ups and even submarine design.

His research interests are eclectic: formalisation and design, physicality and digitality, the economics of information, structure and creativity and the modelling of dreams. Recently he and a colleague have developed technology for autonomous pixels that can be configured to turn any surface or space into a two or three dimensional display

For more information contact Dr. Gavin Doherty Vice-Chair (TCD) or Dr. Aaron Quigley Secretary/Treasurer (UCD). Gavin.Doherty@cs.tcd.ie, aquigley@ucd.ie

NOTE: Please RSVP your attendance by Tuesday the 25th of November to sigchi.ireland@gmail.com

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