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Opening Plenary, Tuesday 5 April

Opening Plenary Speaker

Randy PauschRandy Pausch
Carnegie Mellon University

A Technologist's Comments on Psychologists, Artists, Designers, and other Creatures Strange to Me

Cross-disciplinary collaboration is hard. I'm a computer scientist who has worked in areas like Virtual Reality, which made it both easier (and necessary!) for me to work across disciplines. But it was still really, really hard. In this talk, I will cover successful collaborations I've been part of:
  • Working with psychologists to evaluate effectiveness of various kinds of virtual environments.
  • Working with neurosurgeons to build user interfaces for neurosurgical planning.
  • Working with designers, artists, and engineers at Walt Disney Imagineering to build theme park attractions.
  • Working with artists at CMU's Entertainment Technology Center, which I co-direct with Don Marinelli, a professor of Drama and Arts Management.
  • Creating the "Building Virtual Worlds" course, which unites students from all disciplines in order to build Virtual Reality worlds, and teaches them how to get along with each other.

Some highlights from the talk regarding Cross-Disciplinary Collaboration:
  • Shotgun marriages don't work
  • Neither side can be there "in service of" the other
  • It takes time, patience, and courage
  • A goal that is "above" either discipline really helps
  • Different disciplines have different values, moral and otherwise

Randy Pausch is a Professor of Computer Science, Human-Computer Interaction, and Design at Carnegie Mellon, where he is the co-director of CMU's Entertainment Technology Center (ETC). He was a National Science Foundation Presidential Young Investigator and a Lilly Foundation Teaching Fellow. He has done Sabbaticals at Walt Disney Imagineering (WDI) and Electronic Arts (EA), and has consulted with Disney on user interfaces for interactive theme park attractions and with Google on user interface design and testing. He is the director of the Alice software project, once delighted his mother by appearing in Reader's Digest, and has been in zero-gravity.

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