Working as Departments Chief for ACM XRDS Magazine over the past few years has put me in contact with talented individuals and interest groups ranging from California’s exuberant Silicon Valley to Indonesia’s remote tapestry of mountainous islands. During this process of dialogue and discovery, I was often humbled by my ever-growing awareness of the cultural and geographical diversity of the world’s Computer Science community, and how little I actually knew about Tech in other parts of the world.
“How is campus life in the Computer Science departments in Santiago, Chile?”
“Is Systems Programming taught better in Eastern Europe than in the US Midwest?”
“How much emphasis on Mathematics is there at HCI departments in Japan?”
“How do students organize departmental LAN parties to play Counter Strike in South Africa?”
“Which university has the best community for drone programming in India?”
There are all questions that my younger self could have never dreamed to crack. My horizon and preconceptions were constrained not only by my limited access to information and travel destinations, but also by my social sphere and the rigid official advertising facade put up by institutions in foreign lands and cultures.
The UIST student innovation contest (aka the “SIC”) is one of those rare moments in a student’s life: a chance to present work at the heart of one of the top venues in Human Computer Interaction (HCI). In fact, UIST (i.e., ACM’s conference for User Interface Software and Technology) is often acclaimed as the top conference for those driven by hardware / software novelty, mad inventors of the HCI kind, and the likes.
So if you are a student interested in HCI and never had a chance to visit one of the main conferences, here’s your chance; because the UIST SIC is not only a place to meet some of your favorite researchers while they try out your demo, it is also a remarkable conference to learn about the bleeding edge of the field, a financially supported opportunity for those teams that have less support by applying the UIST SIC travel grants,` a chance to get some fabulous prizes — there’s 3K USD for the winning teams but also participation awards — last but not least, it is your chance to get in touch with some novel hardware: electrical muscle stimulation: