CSC News

October 31, 2007

40th Year Reception & Technical Symposium Cap Semester of Celebratory Events

On Wednesday, October 24th, University officials, faculty, staff, student leaders, and key corporate & alumni guests celebrated the 40th Year anniversary of the NC State Department of Computer Science with a special evening reception on Centennial Campus.  The event featured entertainment by “The Grains of Time” a cappella group, historical and congratulatory comments, and a special slideshow commemorating the department’s history.

Billed as a day-long ‘celebration of our past and a look toward the future of computing’, the 40th Year Technical Symposium held on Thursday, October 25th, served as the capstone event for the department’s 40th year celebrations this semester.

Photo of Dean Martin-VegaCongratulatory remarks were offered by University officials including Dr. John Gilligan, Vice Chancellor for Research and Graduate Studies, and Dr. Louis Martin-Vega, Dean of the NC State College of Engineering. Dr. Mladen Vouk, professor and department head, also provided historical comments and voiced his appreciation to all who have contributed to the success of the department.

Alum and Strategic Advisory Board member, Sidd Chopra, emceed the star-studded symposium.  The event featured four outstanding keynotes throughout the day, divided by a mid-day “Five Minute Madness” presentation, in which nine different department faculty members provided entertaining and insightful overviews of their research efforts.

Dr. Al Aho, Lawrence Gussman Professor of Computer Science at Columbia University, provided the audience an intriguing and thought-provoking presentation outlining six of the “Quintessential Questions of Computer Science”.   From this theoretical start, the keynotes progressed throughout the day to more specific applications.

Department alum, Dr. Larry Hodges, Professor & Chair of the Department of Computer Science at UNC-Charlotte, presented “Is It Friendship if One of Us is Computed and Rendered?”, a riveting discussion about how ever-improving AI technology is being applied in more and more roles requiring direct interface. 

Alumnae, Dr. Dorothy Strickland, President of Do2Learn, kicked-off the afternoon session with a presentation entitled “The Societal Relevance of Computer Science – Using Technology to Help Children with Special Needs”, highlighting the incredible work that she has done using advanced technology to aid children with autism and other special needs.

Photo of Wozniak with studentsSteve Wozniak, innovator, technology icon, philanthropist, and co-founder of Apple Computer anchored the symposium.  During his talk, “iWoz: Perspectives on Personal Computing”, Woniak gave a packed audience a retrospective “behind-the-scenes” account of his life, complete with stories about his fondness for practical jokes, his drive to make things simpler and more efficient, and the incredible life journey that led to the development of Apple Computer.  Wozniak, who holds a honorary doctoral degree from NC State, proudly told the audience that as he tours the world, he talks more about NC State than any other university including UC Berkeley, where he received his actual degree.  Despite waking up with laryngitis, Wozniak wowed the crowd for over an hour. 

To accommodate all the students who wanted to hear Wozniak speak, a live video feed was set up, simulcasting his talk in an adjoining lecture hall.

Following the technical symposium, Wozniak greeted students for a special reception and book signing in the east atrium of EBII.  The festive environment included refreshments and retro, tech-friendly music, like “She Blinded Me with Science” and “Hail to the Geek”.

The 40th Year Reception & Technical Symposium serve as the capstone events among many which have been planned throughout the fall semester to celebrate the department’s milestone anniversary.  Other events and activities include the launch of the Fidelity Investment’s “Leadership in Technology” executive speakers series, a special online auction to help raise funds for a new scholarship endowment, a Geek-A-Thon PC refurbishment weekend, and a special 40th Year Alumni Homecoming Tailgate.  Information about these events is available here.

The 40th Year Celebration has been co-chaired by Ken Tate, and Dr. Annie Anton.  They wish to thank the corporate sponsors for the 40th Year Celebrations including Platinum sponsors Red Hat, Tekelec, EMC, Cisco Systems, SAS Institute, and Network Appliance, and Gold sponsors Butler & Curless Associates, The Prometheus Group, and Strategic Technologies, and everyone else who helped make these events possible.


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