Universities are open for encounters. Openness and education are important foundations for integration – that’s a few of many reasons why Austrian universities will open their courses for refugees. „More“ is an initiative of the „Universitätenkonferenz“ that creates the framework that allows refugees to enter universities.
Non-bureaucratic ways to assess qualifications, languag promotion, access to libraries, waivers of tutorial fees and a buddy system to provide orientation are a few examples of that framework.
A possible follow-up could be a „No-Border-Academy“ that includes refugees in the planning and teaching of classes, explains Elisabth Fiorioli, general secretary oft he Universitätenkonferenz.
Informatik Austria and the institutes and faculties of computer science of the Austrian universities support this initiative and will provide offers for refugees.
The institutes of Computer Science of the Alpen Adria University Klagenfurt will offer 50 places for refugee-students and create a course in object oriented programming. The faculty of informatics oft he Technical University Vienna (TU) will accept refugees as extraordinary students and create a buddy-system. Moreover, a follow up of the initiative „Welcome.TU.code“ is being considered: During the summer, the TU offered beginners’ classes in computer science for young refugees.
On Friday, the first ever media seminar of informatik_austria took place. Silvia Miksch and Franz Wotawa gave an overview on computer science in research and education on Austrian universities. Roderick Bloem gave an introduction to verification and validation, Werner Purgathofer took the audience on a round trip through Visual Computing in Austria.
In the evening, informatik_austria invited to the open discussion of Gerhard Widmer and Peter Norvig at Café Heuer. The moderator was Elke Ziegler; Widmer and Norvig discussed on intelligence and other antropomorphisms in computer science (Do we really believe, that machines think) and answered questions from the audience.
Seven Austrian universities teach computer science in in total 83 courses.
The largest course is Software & Information Engineering at the Technical University of Vienna with 1710 students. The currently smallest course is Bioinformatics at the University of Linz with 16 students.
The research areas comprise some classical areas like software engineering, visual computing and research on parallel and distributed systems, more application oriented topics like Aerospace Research in Salzburg an reach up to areas that – at the first glance – don’t really sound like computer science at all. As an example, biomedical engineering was just recently transferred to the Faculty of Informations an the Technical University Graz.
That’s only one of many indicators, that computer science is becoming more and more a crucial element in other sciences rather than just a tool.
Another indicator for the diversity of computer science may be seen in the gender equality of students. The most male class is Scientific Computing at the University Vienna with over 91 percent of male students. On the other side, almost half of the students at the Didactics of Computer Science class at the University of Vienna are female. The overall ratio of male and feamle students is 80:20 – computer science is more female than other technical studies.
This overview was part of the first media seminar of informatik_austria. Other topics were an overview on Software Engineering and Verifictaion research by Roderick Bloem, and a crash course on Visual Computing by Werner Purgathofer.
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Questions like these are the main topic at Ars Electronica 2015. Cities change, they have to cope with new challenges – and informatics is an important player in the quest for innovative and working solutions. Especially the creation of new urban ideas is one of the most exciting examples for the interaction of technology and social organisation.
The Ars Electronica Festival will put these questions on the main stage and address them in the typical combination of arts, technology and society. From 3. to 7. September 2015, international experts will discuss at the “Future Innovation Summit” which range of choices we have in creating urban habitat in the 21. century and beyond. The detailed agenda is to be announced on the AEC-Website.