50th Anniversary Schedule

The UI Department of Computer Science celebrated 50 years of  teaching, research, and scholarship at the University of Iowa. Our Feb. 26-28 alumni celebration coincided with the 2015 UI Computing Conference.

Although this successful event is behind us, we would still love to hear from you! Click here to share your favorite memory or proudest achievement, or explore our interactive timeline, a visual chronicle of our history (including some Alumni contributions).


Thursday, February 26th

Thursday, February 26th
Time Event Title Location
5:00-7:00pm Registration 14 MLH
5:00-7:00pm Social Mixer Airliner - 22 S Clinton St
7:00pm Women's Basketball - Iowa vs. Wisconsin Carver-Hawkeye Arena

Friday, February 27th

Friday, February 27th
Time Event Title Location
9:00-9:45am PDP-8 unveiling and demo 2520D UCC
10:00-12noon Campus Tour by Dave Jackson, Asst Dir of Facilities Management MLH and UI Campus
1:30-2:00pm Tour of Old Capitol


3:00-4:00pm Performing Robots UCC Recital Hall
5:00-6:30pm Reception at the President’s House 102 Church St
7:15-7:30pm UICC Kickoff - Introductions & Timeline W10 PBB

Keynote Address by Professor Larry Snyder

Booting Iowa's Computer Science Department: Computing at UI when the UI Was a Punch Card

Although Iowa’s Computer Science program launched in 1965, the talk focuses on the preceding year, when the department was booting up. In that period Gerry Weeg, the Department founder, arrived and set up shop; faculty such as Art Fleck were hired; and courses and curriculum were outlined. The focus was on computers, so we look at the machines, the computations, and how dra-matically computing has changed since the day of the punch card.

Bio: Larry Snyder, professor emeritus of computer science at the University of Washington, is a fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers and the Association for Computing Machinery. He graduated from UI in 1968 and was honored as a UI College of Liberal Arts and Sciences Alumni Fellow in 2012. 

9:00-11:00pm Puzzle Competition W151 PBB

Saturday, February 28th - UI Computing Conference

For additional conference details, such as, e.g., speaker bios, click here.

Saturday, February 28th - UI Computing Conference
Time Event Title Location
8:30-9:30am Continental Breakfast W101 PBB, Andersen Galleria

Talk by Greg Nichols

No Red Lights In a Car Chase: Building a Better Renderer for Big Hero 6 (While Making the Movie at the Same Time)

At Disney Animation, we're constantly building technology to make better movies. Often this means doing research, towards goals such as making more realistic hair (for Tangled), richer materials (for Wreck-It Ralph), and believable snow (for Frozen). When it came to Big Hero 6, our directors and artists had ambitious goals: primarily, to realize the fictional city of San Fransokyo with a scale and visual look far beyond the capability of our existing tools. To meet this need, we built Hyperion, brand new rendering software based on novel research. This talk will describe the challenge and opportunities of building a new production renderer - while using it to make a movie at the same time.

Bio: Greg Nichols is a Senior Software Engineer for Walt Disney Animation Studios; he received his PhD in Computer Science from the UI in 2010.

W151 PBB

Talk by Matt Tucker and Bill Lynch

From Iowa to IPO

Matt Tucker and Bill Lynch are the co-founders of Jive Software. Both received a BS in Computer Science from the UI in 2000. Matt and Bill started Jive Software right after college and grew it to a publicly traded company. They will discuss how they started it, how they built products, and what it means to create a high-growth technology company.

Bios: Bill Lynch is a software entrepreneur and advisor. He is one of the co-founders of Jive Software, a company he started in 2001. Bill lead product development efforts for 6 years and then transitioned to Product Management at Jive until he left the company in 2013. Jive grew from two co-founders to a team of almost 700 globally and a successful IPO in December 2011. Today, besides pursuing a couple of new projects, he is an advisor to local startups, organizes networking events for area Product Managers, and serves as the Entrepreneur in Residence at the Portland Development Commission. Bill has a BS in computer science from the University of Iowa.

Matt Tucker is the CTO & co-founder of Jive Software, as well as a startup advisor. He's passionate about open standards, sci-fi, and building awesome software. He's a '00 Iowa Computer Science grad.

W151 PBB
12:00-2:00pm Lunch Break Local Eatery of Choice
12:00-2:00pm No-Tie Job Fair (for UICC student participants) W401 PBB

Talk by Andy Grignon

The Future of Mobile

Being successful in "mobile" requires more than downloading a software development kit and knocking out the next Snapchat. This talk looks behind the scenes at the thinking employed by some of the world’s largest companies in their quest towards mobile world domination. Andy Grignon is the co-founder and CEO of Quake Labs, as well as University of Iowa alum. He has made a career of creating and shipping highly visible consumer products. In addition to working on iPod and MacOS at Apple, he was one of the first to help start iPhone at Apple, as well as webOS at Palm. Insights gained by over 20 years in industry at almost every layer of the management chain enable a unique viewpoint on the future of mobile.

Bio: Andy Grignon, founder and CEO of Quake Labs, Inc. previously worked at Apple Computer where he was instrumental in development of the iPhone and Quicktime. Attended the UI 1991-1995.

W151 PBB

Talk by Alessio Signorini

Be a Superhero, Study Computer Science

Computers are no longer just terminals. Programmers see them as blank canvases and use their fingers to paint with code. The Facebook movie made programming look cool so now "startups" pop up as fast as garage bands did in the 80's. Most of them will fail, but hey, iFart made millions playing flatulences on our phones, so your idea may actually work. I do not know what will be the next hit, but I will gladly share how I got here and perhaps inspire you to save a few million lives continuing to study what you love.

Bio: Alessio Signorini, co-founder of The Activity Exchange, previously served as Director of Technology at both Ask.com and OneRiot, and as CTO of Immersive Labs. He received his PhD in Computer Science from the UI in 2014.

W151 PBB
4:30-5:00pm Door Prize Drawings and Announcement of Puzzle Competition Winner W151 PBB

Alumni Dinner

Cocktail hour 6-7pm

Alumni Dinner 7-8pm

Talk by Dan Reed

Imagining the Future

The science fiction writer Arthur C. Clarke once said that any sufficient technology is indistinguishable from magic. We have certainly seen that claim realized over the past fifty years of computing advances. In that spirit, this talk will take a light-hearted ramble through computing technologies, societal effects and predictions – past and present. It will conclude with a look inside the cloudy crystal ball of the future, considering the magic that might unfold.

Bio: Daniel A. Reed is Vice President for Research and Economic Development, as well as University Chair in Computational Science and Bioinformatics and Professor of Computer Science, Electrical and Computer Engineering and Medicine, at the University of Iowa. 


Iowa Athletic Club

1360 Melrose Ave