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Two more faculty jobs at UC Santa Cruz

UC Santa Cruz has two more faculty jobs in games and computational media. One is an Assistant Professor in game design (apply by February 1st) and the other is a Teaching Professor position in computational media available for applicants at any level of seniority, and open to a wide range of specialties (apply by February 23rd).

The game design position is for one of the founding faculty of the new BA in Art & Design: Games & Playable Media. The ideal applicant is a designer with experience pushing games in new directions, working with innovative design and technology approaches. This position is in the Arts division.

The Teaching Professor position is a bit unusual, so some explanation may help. This position has a higher teaching load than is normal in our School of Engineering (more akin to arts and humanities teaching expectations). It also means that the faculty member’s professional activity does not need to be what is normally expected in engineering — it could focus on game making, or software studies, or generative artwork, or many other practices. The person in this position will be a full member of the UCSC academic senate, will have full voting rights in the Computational Media department, and will have security of employment like traditional faculty. Letters of reference must be received by February 23rd, so if you’re interested it’s time to start the wheels in motion.

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Four Jobs at UC Santa Cruz

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I’m happy to announce that UC Santa Cruz is currently searching for four jobs in areas of computational media (and we expect to announce two more soon). Two of the currently-advertised positions are in Engineering and two are in Arts. Read More »

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Seeking Program Director for Professional Games MS

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Interested in working on innovative games, with passionate people, in an academic position in Silicon Valley?

We’re seeking a leader for the UC Santa Cruz professional MS in Games and Playable Media. The MS is offered through our Silicon Valley campus, now expanding into a new building (with about 5000 sq ft dedicated to the program) and in active planning to shift to a two year program.

The position will include working both with our current game faculty and with new personnel hired specifically for the program. The degree is focused on expanding the possibilities for games — and on helping students build the skills and connections they need for what they want to do next.

Application review begins July 17th, and much more information is in the official flier.

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Curing Games’ Amnesia with NLP


Video game playing is plagued by amnesia. One reason is that there are no good tools for finding related video games across time. Everything is focused on the present or future. Yet if you are fascinated by a certain game, the best next games to investigate are not necessarily the other ones featured in Amazon’s “bought together” display.

All that is about to change. Today UC Santa Cruz is introducing two new, free web tools that use natural language processing to help people find related games. One tool, GameNet, is a network of 12,000 games, connected based on their relatedness. GameNet doesn’t use a simple idea of relatedness, like genre, but rather one derived from analyzing the full text of the Wikipedia entries for these games. The other tool, GameSage, allows you to describe a hypothetical game (using any words you like) and find its location in GameNet — something no previous tool has provided. Read More »

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Donald Brinkman on “Tin Cupping for Plutonium” (Media Systems)

How can people embedded in large, for-profit companies find a way to direct some of the present expertise and resources to make a positive difference? In this talk from the Media Systems gathering, Donald Brinkman describes how he has worked to do this within Microsoft. In particular, he describes Microsoft’s role in enabling the digital projects engaging the AIDS Memorial Quilt that were also discussed in Anne Balsamo’s talk.

These projects explore the potential of digital memorials in an era when, as Balsamo references in Wendy Chun’s work, “we must be reminded that memory and storage are not the same thing.” Balsamo and collaborators began exploring the concept of creating a digital version of the quilt, allowing one to see and move across its massive surface, in 2001. With the emergence of national support for the digital humanities, a 2010 NEH Digital Humanities Startup Grant allowed them to begin work on the project — and led to an invitation to include their digital version in the physical display of the AIDS Quilt on the National Mall being organized by the NAMES Project Foundation for 2012. Read More »

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Pamela Jennings on “Field Building” (Media Systems)

In an emerging, interdisciplinary area, how can those getting started understand the possible paths forward? One way is through looking at the (often wending) paths taken by pioneers. In this week’s Media Systems talk from Pamela Jennings (recently-appointed director of the Center for Design Innovation) she provides insight into how she became a field leader, as well as into the work she has done to help the nascent field find its way. Jennings has been a key figure in much of the field development of recent decades, including recent successes such as the NSF’s CreativeIT program and the founding of the SEAD network. (Some related reflections can be found in the Media Systems talks of Brenda Laurel and Janet Murray.)

Jennings also discusses her ongoing work as CEO of the startup company Noblewire. In particular, she describes the CONSTRUCTS Toolkit, a wireless sensor mesh network system for new mixed-reality (virtual and physical) applications in education, gaming, and design prototyping. Providing new hardware/software possibilities such as these can help in engaging diverse groups, spark new kinds of speculations, and make possible the construction of new demonstrations and prototypes that could lead to new insights and products. This in turn, is one strategy for creating the kinds of “digital sandboxes” that aid field building by providing opportunities for those from different disciplines to engage, communicate, collaborate, and play. Read More »

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