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« Updated Meskill | Main | a little late to the party »

December 20, 2004

New Lab for Social Computing at RIT

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Posted by Liz Lawley

I don’t often write here about things going on at RIT, because until recently we haven’t been doing a whole lot with social software. However, that’s about to change. Our college (the B. Thomas Golisano College of Computing and Information Sciences…) has just established a new Lab for Social Computing, of which I’m the director.

This lab is my baby, and I hope to use it to start creating a degree program in our IT department that focuses on social computing applications, leveraging our relatively unique combination of strong technology development skills and knowledge of the human interface issues associated with that technology. We already have several degree programs well-suited to students interested in studying in this field—our BS and MS degrees in Information Technology, and our MS in Communication and Media Technology (all of which are described and linked from the Academics section of the LSC web site).

I’ll be working with a lot of great faculty and students here at RIT, in both the computing departments (Info Tech, Computer Science, and Software Engineering) as well as the College of Liberal Arts. We’re also exploring partnerships with other universities for research initiatives and grant funding, as well as businesses for real-world projects and financial support.

(I should point out here that if your company is looking for a way to make an end-of-year fully tax-deductible donation to the Lab, we’ll be happy to facilitate that! RIT will allow you designate a gift for a specific unit, and even for specific uses in that unit—say, to support faculty research or student employees, or to purchase equipment or software. We’re also more than open to gifts of software and/or hardware! Contact me directly for details…)

We’ve lined up an all-star industry advisory board to work with the Lab and help keep us focused on topics that are important in this increasingly important market sector. Board members include Stewart Butterfiled, Elizabeth Churchill, Joi Ito, Simon Phipps, Howard Rheingold, Linda Stone, and Mena Trott. I’m really honored that all of these people have agreed to be advisors to the LSC!

Our first major project is a new wiki on social computing and social software, which we’re hoping will serve as a clearinghouse for research, tools, and information about social computing. Right now it’s mostly just a collection of links to empty pages, but we have begun populating the lists of industry research labs and researchers in the field. We welcome your input and involvement in this new collaborative site.

(By the way, we know the site is pretty bare-bones right now in terms of visual design. Not to worry…I’ve got six teams of students in my web design class competing to give it a new look and feel by the end of winter quarter!)

Comments (4) + TrackBacks (0) | Category: social software


1. elijah wright on December 20, 2004 11:07 AM writes...

Liz, in addition to the list of "industry research labs", you might consider listing other university labs and research groups that are working in the same area.

It would be pretty cool to have a "social computing research" hub site - maybe RIT's lab can serve that role for the community.

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2. Liz Lawley on December 20, 2004 11:11 AM writes...

Elijah, we've got a placeholder for academic programs, which is where I thought university labs and research groups might go--but I'm happy to have them have a separate category. Want to add it? :)

And yes, our goal is to create exactly that kind of a "research hub" site, and we really want it to be a collaborative effort with participation from people engaged in practice. Jump in!

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3. Adam on December 20, 2004 8:33 PM writes...

Well, heck. Congrats, Liz, and best of luck with the new lab.

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4. joe on December 21, 2004 8:50 AM writes...

That really would be cool if they had a social computing research hub site for the community.

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