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Gerhard Fischer: “Doctoral Level Independent Study” Fall Semester 2006

Assignment 8a— The ATLAS Institute at CU Boulder


Tuesday, November 7, 10am on the SWIKI class website

Bobby Schnabel (, director of the ATLAS (Alliance for Technology, Learning, and Society) Institute at CU Boulder, will present a guest lecture in this class meeting.

To do:

1) visit and analyze the ATLAS website at

2) articulate one question for Prof. Schnabel about ATLAS – related to your personal interests and/or the topics which we have discussed in the course


1) insert your question directly (with your name) on the Swiki page of Assignment 8a

2) submit on time so that I can forward the questions to Prof. Schnabel

Questions by...

MacFerrin, Mike – Prof. Schnabel, the Atlas website (particularly the Research Group) summarizes its current research efforts (in part) as maintaining a "special interest in studying the participation of under-represented groups in information technology fields." ( The research projects being pursued by your grad-students, undergrads & post-docs currently focus almost entirely upon increasing the participation of women in CS and other technology fields. It's undoubtably a noble goal, as it's been a serious issue for many years. However, are there any efforts being made within your groups to reach (or at the very least, study) other populations that are dramatically under-represented in CS, along lines of socio-economic status or race? Having taught in poor city high schools for several years, this is an issue I hold dear to my heart, and I'm curious what (if any) genuine efforts are being made in that direction.

Huang, Yingdan – How can we use facilities in the Atlas building? For example, what should I do if I want to use the sound mixing studio for one of my projects?

Hadjar Homaei Prof. Schnabel, I noticed that there are some classes that are being held at ATLAS building that are not even part of the ATLAS curriculum, so I wondered if these classes, their curriculum and method of teaching are used as a subject of (or are the results of) ATLAS current research projects or if Atlas only provides these classes with the IT facilities that they need, or I could place my question like this: what is the idea behind all the IT equipments and gadgets that are in Atlas building now? are they there for some people who can use it in a multidisciplinary research, or they are there for some people to work on them and they, themselves be studied as subjects is a meta-researchs about how to use IT in different disciplines.

Ben Robinson Prof. Schnabel, are there some classes introduced by the ATLAS program that would not otherwise be in the coursebook? Or is ATLAS primarily focused on modifying what's on the syllabus of existing classes?

Betty Eskow I'm wondering if something like a project oriented course in computational biology could (eventually) be added to the elective courses offered in the MAT certificate program. Would that type of course be appropriate for the MAT program?

Karie Shipley I read that ATLAS does a lot of interdisciplinary work bridging technology with the arts and humanities. I've heard about a number of fine arts projects at ATLAS, and I know that there's a joint project with the Center for Spoken Language Research, but what other areas of the humanities is ATLAS involved with? Might ATLAS help form interdisciplinary connections between the humanities and other scientific fields besides technology?

Daniel Crumly It seemed as though ATLAS mostly concerned itself with applied sciences and fields that were not normally associated with the Information Technology field; what about more theoretical fields (pure math, physics, etc.) or fields that normally are closely coupled with IT? Was it felt that these fields didn't need a catalyst like ATLAS?

John Giacomoni I have a general question relating to the creation of a new center and student curriculums. Could you discuss what criteria might be considered when deciding if it is time to form a new center to formalize a field of interdisciplinary and/or transdisciplinary studies? Continuing on the same question, what criteria could be used to decide when a field has matured enough to introduce undergraduate and graduate degree programs?

Kevin Bauer Atlas is clearly a trans-disciplinary endeavor. What is the relationship between the Atlas program and the Computer Science department or other departments at the University of Colorado?

Abhishek Jaiantilal Prof. Schnabel, as ATLAS is a very unique project for the university itself: How is the course content decided? Are there other peer schools that have such a project, so looking at their curriculum gives an idea or Is there a discussion among the participating organizations and Is there a say from the Students? That is I would like to ask in General: how such a curriculum is developed for ATLAS?

Jeff Fifield The curriculum and course offerings of ATLAS seem rather small compared to other departments. What plans are there for offering more classes, degree programs, or certificate programs? How important is teaching vs. research for ATLAS?

Jaeheon Jeong The three technologies, IT,BT, and NT, are known as 21 century's big issues. BioInformatics is already a well-known displine between IT and BT. There might be some other areas combined from these three. Do you have any idea of next generation's possible research areas, such as micro-medical-robotics and computational-nano-dynamics?

Aaron Beach How would you respond to the assertion that programs like ATLAS simply draw upon keywords and trends within society in order to attain money and success among the research world, rather than identifying "trend-independent" problems that face mankind (whether they know it or not) and striving to explain the problem to the world, convince others of its worth, and then provide a solution. In short, is ATLAS research driven much like pop-media? and if so, is this justified? (maybe it is)

Chih How, Bong – As the huge efforts had been taken to attract more women to get involved in technology development, society also call the women to take out the sacred role of a full-time mother and all-taking-care wife in her family. How does your research endeavor taking into account of balance up this phenomenon in the aspects of socio-economy of the nation?

Peng Shao – What is your philosophy of the ATLAS program? With the construction of the new ATLAS building, clearly the University believes the program is not only worthwhile, but also one of the most important stepping stones to the future in many disciplines. What is your response to this? With the resources that you are now provided, what sorts of avenues can you pursue that has not been pursued before? Lastly, what would you say to those researchers whose interests lie not in the multidisciplinary but the unidisciplinary?

Assad Jarrahian What is your main priority/goal for ATLAS's contribution over the next 4-5 years?

Praful Mangalath I am a little confused about the scope of this program - from your quote in the Colorado Daily “This program doesn't offer its own courses, they take courses from across campus,” - how is this any different from certification programs like the Embedded Systems/HLT already offered in the ECE dept - where a prescribed course outline is the qualifying criterion for an interdisciplinary background in your field of interest.

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