Our world runs on information, with more and more aspects of daily life having information technologies and digital systems at their core. Topics such as open-source software, virtual organizations, online political campaigns, digital television, social media and computer games need to be understood and advanced from both a technical and human perspective simultaneously.
This is what Informatics does.
We seek to make a positive difference in how people live, work and build in a digital world. To that end, we study interactions among information technologies and people. We create innovative information technologies that serve the diverse needs of society and educate our students to be leaders in these endeavors.
Our work is shaped by four key values:
- Creativity. We create new technologies, new experiences and new ways of understanding. We believe that information technology provides a rich platform for expression, from programming environments to digital media and creative arts.
- Engagement. We focus on real-world concerns, with a strong empirical focus and a commitment to understanding and advancing technology in real life, around the world.
- Interdisciplinarity. We use knowledge and methods from multiple disciplines to study and improve the relationships among people, information and technology from a holistic perspective.
- Partnership. We build relationships across campus and beyond, partnering with other schools and educational institutions; with corporations and technology providers; with civic agencies and nonprofits; and with consumers, advocates and interest groups to locate novel and important contexts for conducting and applying our work.
These values help us deliver results that matter. Our research has, as just a few examples, resulted in technology that improves the early diagnosis of cerebral palsy in preterm babies; in apps that help kids with autism spectrum disorder live fuller lives; and in new tools that assist software developers in locating and fixing bugs — real results that make a difference every day.
Our values similarly define the nature of our teaching. Our students’ experience is not confined to campus. Instead, they are constantly exposed to the real world, the issues at play and the possibilities of information technology making a difference. For instance, students in our capstone design course have designed a customizable Analytics dashboard for Google; a new web portal for the Down Syndrome Foundation; an at-home energy saving recommender for Edison; a mobile application to capture statistical data related to clinical cases for the UC Irvine Medical Center; and a freelance game in which a mystical fish has to protect its aquatic environment.
Our constant work with the surrounding community is another natural outgrowth of our values. We benefit significantly from our relationships with corporations, technology providers, civic agencies and nonprofits, to name a few. These partners serve as field sites for our studies, perform trial deployments of new technology we develop, and support students’ class projects. Google, IBM, Intel, Microsoft, Raytheon, Northrup Grumman, Boeing, Children’s Hospital of Orange County, Disney, Boeing, Nokia, Mirth, HP, Accenture and Hitachi represent just a sample of our long list of partners.
Our research takes us beyond individual partners as well, frequently studying the interplay of people, information and technology in particular communities or societies. Our students and faculty, for instance, have engaged in extended field observations in Australia, Hong Kong, China, Korea, Thailand, India, Zambia, South Africa, China and other locales.
We encourage you to explore our web site. You will find additional examples of the many projects in which we are engaged, and learn how you can become involved in making a positive difference. These are exciting times!