University awarded $1 million Google research grant

University awarded $1 million Google research grant

By Walbert Castillo

The University computer science department will use a $1 million Google Focused Research grant to upgrade undergraduate curriculum to prepare students for careers in the world of ground-breaking technology.

University computer science students will now have better access to mobile and cloud computer technology in classrooms, said Robin Kravets, associate professor in computer science.

The grant was awarded to fund two University initiatives. It will create more opportunities for collaborative research with other universities across the country.

“This is a very good research product for Google to focus on, and it’s great to be working with Google to be interacting with this particular project,” said Roy Campbell, computer science professor.

Google funds research that is of key interest to the company and supports academic research in computer science, engineering and other programs, according to Google’s research website.

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Google’s four major areas of focus include: machine learning, the use of mobile phones as data collection, energy efficiency in computing and privacy, according to Google’s Research Blog.

Kravets said Google decided to award the grant after she contacted Google researchers. Kravets said gathering contacts allowed her to create a proposal that would later be submitted to Google for funding.

The grant will fund three years worth of coursework – three required courses – including a new freshman-level software engineering course.

The courses will have a Mobile-First Research component, which will integrate Android, Google’s mobile operating system, as the primary mobile platform for students to utilize. Students will also have access to Google’s Cloud Platform that will provide students with real-world experiences using remote-cloud environments.

Kravets said the University started using cloud-based software in the spring and will start incorporating Android programming in the fall semester.

The University will also work with Carnegie Mellon University, Cornell Tech and Stanford University, on the Open Web of Things Expedition, also known as the “Internet of Things,” which is a program that enables users to interact with connected devices on the open web, according to Google’s website.

According to Campbell, the “Internet of Things” is the “leading edge” for where technology will take precedent into the future.

“All in all, we’ve got a great time. We’re going to benefit tremendously from Google,” he said. “As a team, we’re going to provide Google with lots of insights, thoughts and maybe inventions.”

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