by Meredith Dault
March 10, 2011
The members of the Graduate Computing Society are busy these days. That’s because they’re ramping up for their second annual conference, taking place this weekend (March 11 and 12) on campus.
“We’re trying to foster collaboration, cross domain research and also disseminate knowledge” says Sunny Gupta, co-chair of the conference organizing committee, and president of the Graduate Computing Society. “A conference like this gives graduate students a chance to present their work in a safe environment. It gives them a sounding board for their own research, without having to worry about presenting at an international conference.”
Gupta, a PhD candidate, explains that the Graduate Computing Society started the conference last year after noticing that a number of other universities -- most notably the University of Waterloo -- were running peer-reviewed conferences. “I think we just realized that we had so much research to offer,” he says thoughtfully. Giving students a chance to present their work to an in-house audience seemed like a way not only for graduate students to share their work with their peers, but also a way to attract interest from other departments, with a goal of eventually enabling more interdisciplinary research. “It’s a chance for us to showcase our capabilities and to brainstorm with other departments to create more novel research,” Gupta explains. He cites collaborations between the School of Computing and the School of Medicine as key examples of what can happen when departments work together, furthering research in applications like computer-aided surgery and diagnostic ultrasounds.
While last year’s conference was strictly in-house, this year’s event will also include students and presenters from Royal Military College. The long-term plan, says Gupta, is to invite students at universities from the region to participate and, eventually, to produce a conference journal summarizing the technologies and research presented.
Gupta says he hopes that undergraduate students will attend the conference as well. “It’s a great way to get exposed to graduate student work,” he says, adding that it’s also a way to “entice them to grad school.” The conference is also a way to attract industry attention -- and Gupta is intent on “building relationships with companies that have a vested interest in working with computer science students.”
This year’s conference will feature approximately 12 speakers, along with about 40 poster presentations. Friday’s events will include a keynote address by Dr. Scott Knight, an Associate Professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the Royal Military College of Canada, on computer security. It will be followed by a programming contest, and a social event at Alfie’s. Saturday will be devoted to presentations. “We tried not to reject anyone,” says Gupta. “I’m pretty sure that anybody who wanted to present or put up a poster will have the opportunity to do so.”
For more information visit: http://qgcsc.cs.queensu.ca/