Friday, December 30, 2011

2012: New year, new course, new blog

Happy New Year everybody!

In October 2011 the new edition of the Field Computational Ecology course has officially began. We are building on the success of the pilot version of the course from 2010. We started with the background preparation mini lecture course, given by various faculty experts at UIC and Princeton to students at both universities (given over a telepresence link). By December, students were ready to start planning projects and have come up with ideas for about half a dozen of exciting interdisciplinary and innovative projects. And now we are ready to go! We will leave on January 4, 2012, converging in Nairobi on January 5, then off to Mpala on January 6 and will begin in earnest. Follow us on this blog!

The pilot version of the Field Computational Ecology course in 2010 (read about it below) was a huge success, with 7 great interdisciplinary projects that have resulted in a dozen of conference presentations and publications for the students. The most well-publicized project is StripeSpotter, a program for automatic identification of individual zebras from photographs (you may have heard about it on NPR or read about it in National Geographic). This new iteration is funded by the National Science Foundation of US.