In today’s digital age, questions about technology surround us. How do we design online communities where children can safely engage? What is needed to design socially responsible AI that is inclusive and equitable? How might technology assist in managing mental health? How can we better secure our apps? Can we leverage esports to enhance K-12 education? These questions, and many others, are the domain of informatics.
Who We Are
Here in the Department of Informatics at UC Irvine, we are at the forefront of exploring the exciting challenges that arise from the intersection of people, information and technology. Bringing together faculty, students, practitioners and community stakeholders, we work to improve our understanding of technology’s extraordinary impact. Wherever technology touches people, it must be designed with ultimate care. We understand that this requires mastery of technological knowhow as well as a deep appreciation of the social, cultural and organizational forces at work.
We seek to make a positive difference in how people live, work and build in a digital world.
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 political campaigns, healthcare data, virtual organizations, social media, software design, and global sustainability need to be understood from both a technical and human perspective simultaneously. This is what Informatics does.
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.
Values & Vision
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.
- Equity. We actively foster an inclusive environment that welcomes a wide variety of perspectives and provides broad access to opportunity. We believe that technology should be designed and built both by and for people of diverse backgrounds and abilities.
- 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 are integral to our approach, which is interdisciplinary in nature. We use knowledge and methods from multiple disciplines to study and improve the relationships among people, information and technology from a holistic perspective. This helps us deliver results that matter.
Our research is varied and cutting-edge. We perform long-term field studies in China, Africa and Australia to understand aspects of technology and its use in different cultures. We propose bold visions concerning topics such as values in design, sustainability and the quantified self. We create deep technological innovations in massive virtual world infrastructures, educational apps and advanced software development tools. We do this in partnership with local government, such as the city of Los Angeles, and with organizations such as the Dayle McIntosh Center, the Children’s Hospital of Orange County, Toyota, Connected Camps, IBM, Intel, Microsoft, Boeing, Disney, North America Scholastic Esports Federation, Accenture, Google, and Nokia. We also cultivate long-term relationships with grassroots organizations that serve and advocate for racialized and minoritized communities. Our connection with the real world drives us, strengthening both our results and our impact.
We encourage you to explore our website to learn more about us. Undergraduates can select from five complementary degree programs:
- Business Information Management
- Game Design and Interactive Media
- Information and Computer Science
- Software Engineering
Graduate students can select from research-driven programs — M.S. and Ph.D. programs in informatics and software engineering — and professional-oriented programs — Master programs in human-computer interaction and design (MHCID) and software engineering (MSWE).
For each program, we apply the lens of people, information and technology, treating them in unison to prepare students for outstanding future careers in a wide variety of fields.