Why a Center for Mobile Computing?
Greg Smith, Chief Technology Officer
The Center for Mobile Computing, CMC, began taking shape back in early 2008 when our Computer Science professors approached me with the concept that there might be a more relevant and effective way to teach computer programming. We talked about what was really required to teach the concepts of logic and programming and why not teach those concepts on a platform that was more relevant and interesting to this mobile generation. At about the same time we decided to transition our laptop program to all Apple, which of course further opened our eyes to the incredible potential of mobile computing stimulated by the iPhone.
The result today is the announcement of our Center for Mobile Computing that will incorporate software development concepts from Apple’s iPhone development suite and general cell phone development into the curriculum of our Computer and Information Science, CSIS, program. But to do this effectively the CSIS department realized that a true software development process needed to be created to take a students idea to a production application. This is why they asked for the relationship with our IT department knowing that IT could complete the process by offering an opportunity for student birthed applications to reach production status with possibilities for entrepreneurial opportunities.
As it turned out our IT department just happened to have a programmer, Brian McLaughlin, who has been programming for mobile devices for over a decade. Along came the iPhone and it was obvious to Brian that finally a mobile device accompanied by a powerful development environment was worthy of his time and talent to create the software application most requested by his favorite hobby, Geocaching. Of course the iPhone design is not only perfect for GPS based applications but is extremely conducive to a huge new market of mobile solutions. Hence the match was made for a Center for Mobile Computing with the support of the University IT department, anchored by one of the iPhone communities leading developers and inspired by the finest Computer Science professors. Place that Center in a University committed to utilizing technology located in the rich programming region of the Northwest and you have a very exciting opportunity for students to reach their full and desired potential to become software developers.
Fall of 08 the CSIS department announces the creation of Information Systems as a distinct major. As a result, the department now becomes the Department of Computer Science and Information Systems. The department previously offered one degree with Computer Science and Information Science "tracks". The new approach separates the two tracks into distinct majors, strengthening each major. Students in either major will be engaged by the new Center for Mobile Computing Applications. The postcard pictured on the left was sent out to the many student prospects that have expressed an interest in the CSIS program.