New Lab for Social Computing at RIT. Time for collaboration in NEO!

Submitted by Norm Roulet on Tue, 12/21/2004 - 01:42.

Many universities around the world are focusing on the study of social computing - from technology and application development to man-machine interface. REALNEO is already working with Purdue on a Drupal documentation project and we welcome additional research affiliations, and will explore teaming up with RIT. We are well affiliated with Case's Center for Regional Economic Issues and it seems time to get the IT side of the campus involved - any other Northeast Ohio universities interested to really understand this communications and human interaction revolution that is transforming politics, economics, knowledge management, industry and society? Post your suggestions here, after reading the thoughts of the social network lab director at the exceptional Rochester Institute of Technology...

December 20, 2004

New Lab for Social Computing at RIT

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!)