Stewart Tansley, the Academic Relations at Facebook, said the Namibians were invited in line with the policy of his company to empower people involved in the field of Information Technology. “Giving people the power to share and connect requires constant innovation. Collaborating with university researchers on real-world problems and sharing our work at academic conferences, helps Facebook researchers push the boundaries of products and science,” he said.
The trip was sponsored by the Association of Computing Machinery (AMC) Special Interest Group on Computer Human Interaction (SIGCHI), to enable the team to attend a Development Consortium workshop and the Human-Computer Interaction Conference (CHI2016). The workshop and conference are held to discuss and learn about the future of how people interact with technology. The CHI community has, for decades, helped to transform the experiences people can have with new technologies. These range from understanding users’ needs to exploring the impact of new technologies and building those empowering technologies. The CHI community takes action every day to bring about change.
The Dean of the Faculty of Computing and Informatics, Dr Anicia Peters, received a Best Paper Award Honourable Mention during the conference for her paper on “Finding Gender-Inclusiveness Software Issues with Gender Mag: A Field Investigation.” Her research has shown that generally about 80% of software designers are men who do not take women’s requests into consideration.
Suama Hamunyela, a PhD student and NUST staff member who was part of the delegation, said: “This was an amazing experience as we were treated to talks and presentations of a very high standard by Facebook and Google staff.”