Computer science and engineering fascinate high-school students

Approximately 250 Grade 11 and 12 students from schools in the Greater Toronto Area learned that computer science and engineering are not only fascinating subjects but also a lot of fun. They discovered this during a recent open-house day in York’s Department of Computer Science & Engineering, Faculty of Pure & Applied Science, when they had a chance to watch demonstrations in various labs and even get involved with some of them.

Students were given a guided tour of the following areas:

  • Human-Computer Interaction lab
  • One of the Centre for Vision Research labs
  • Perception lab
  • York University Computer Museum
  • Vision, Graphics and Robotics lab

Right: The IVY Cube Room

In each of the labs, the visiting high-school students were treated to interesting demonstrations of research projects under development by York graduate students and faculty members. For instance, visitors had an opportunity to enter the IVY (Immersive Visual environment at York) cube, which has computer-generated images projected on all four walls as well as the ceiling and floor, to give the user a complete experience of a virtual environment.


Left: Eric Ruppert

“One student said he would like to have an IVY in his backyard – but doesn’t have the thousands of dollars to build one,” said Professor Eric Ruppert of the Department of Computer Science. “Another felt a bit dizzy when she looked at the floor, which seemed to be moving beneath her feet.”

Students also tested new types of computer input devices – for example, one that uses a laser pointer and another that uses a robot arm – and saw demonstrations of programs designed to track human hand gestures.

The day included two talks: “Computer Vision Research at York and Beyond”, by computer science Professor Richard Wildes (left), and “Multimedia Communications: Technology and Applications” by computer science Professors Uyen Trang Nguyen (right) and Amir Asif (below, right).

Part of the funding for the day’s events was provided by the Natural Sciences & Engineering Research Council of Canada.

The above information was provided by Professor Ruppert.