Tending To Infinity

What kind of thoughts does the word ‘infinity’ evoke in your mind? Do you visualize a never-ending expanse that stretches in all directions? Or maybe a straight line extending in both directions beyond visual perception. Some of us may even think of an astronomical figure and conceptualize infinity to lie much beyond this number itself. Yet, how does mathematics treat infinity? How do we logically/formally make sense of this idea and put it to great use to further enrich our understanding of this universe?

Let’s explore and demystify what this rather abstract construct really conveys to us through the language of mathematics. Continue reading

What about developer surveys for software engineering research?

In this blog post we present some ideas that one can consider before conducting a qualitative survey to evaluate new software engineering tools and systems. These tips derive from our own surveys conducted on Android developers as part of my research in software engineering.

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How do students differ in gamified education?

education

Gamification of University-level courses is becoming a common practice, as many professors decide to try offering their students a more engaging learning environment. Nevertheless, we still do not have a clear idea on how individual students engage differently with a gamified course. But now a detailed, long-term study from the University of Lisbon has presented some insightful observations on this topic.

During the course of their study, the researchers observed three editions of a gamified University of Lisbon course on Multimedia Content Production. The course employed a blended learning method that combined theoretical lectures, lab classes, and an online Moodle component where students engaged in discussions and completed online assignments.

Throughout the years, the researchers have learned from the experience and improved the course’s gameful design. A general observation from the student’s feedback is that they all felt the gamified course was indeed more engaging than the previous non-gamified editions. However, there were some noticeable differences on how individual students engaged with the course, which the researchers sought to investigate.

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Cancer: From Biology to Computer Science

October is the breast cancer awareness month. Cancer is classified as a genetic disease caused by the abnormal cell division that destroy body tissue. Wait! Cell? Body tissue? Disease? So now you might be wondering: what does this have to do with computers?

In fact, cancer research has been in the heart of life sciences for the past few decades. Since genetics play an important role in most cancers, computational methods are crucial in understanding the development of the disease as well as predicting the results of clinical trials for treatment. That’s where computer science comes into action.

Biological background

Before we define the computational problem, let’s review some biology from high school and learn some facts about cancer.

Our human body consists of trillions of cells. Although each cell has the exact same DNA all over your body, every cell carries out its own function. The DNA is a long sequence of nucleotides preserved inside a cell nucleus.

genecelldna

Photo adapted from: The Fatal Lover, Mata Hari (2016) watch online 1080

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CHI PLAY 2016 – Day 3

The third day at CHI PLAY 2016 ended the conference with important discussions focused on play, design, and the games industry. If you have not seen them yet, check the first and second day summaries out before continuing!

The day opened with an open discussion of future suggestions for the conference series and followed with the first Industry Panel, which counted with the expertise of Toni Phillips (Triseum), Sheri Graner Ray (Zombie Cat Studios), and Yelena Balin (b.well). The panelists addressed some of the challenges of the game industry, such as keeping up with the technology, innovating, engaging different audiences, and building diversity into games.

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