The 26th Western Canadian Conference on Computing Education (WCCCE) 2024 May 2-3, 2024

We are pleased to announce the 26th Western Canadian Conference on Computing Education at Okanagan College. The conference is a forum for discussing the development of computing programs and curricula and for sharing innovative strategies and tools for teaching & learning in fields such as computer science, software engineering, computer technology, information systems and information technology. It will bring educators from the western provinces, the rest of Canada, and beyond, allowing them to share their experiences and learn from one another. The Department of Computer Science at Okanagan College is pleased to be hosting the conference in 2024.

Venue

WCCCE 2023 will occur in Kelowna, British Columbia, Canada, May 2-3, 2024 (Thursday and Friday). The conference sessions will be held on the Okanagan College campus. WCCCE 2024 will have an in-person format.

Registration is still open at Eventbrite ($280, $200 and $100 for seniors and students) at  https://www.eventbrite.ca/e/the-26th-western-canadian-conference-on-computing-education-wccce-tickets-804199170367?aff=oddtdtcreator or through vTools for IEEE Members ($100) without Dinner on Thursday at 6 pm (https://events.vtools.ieee.org/event/register/419091). Please use the Eventbrite URL above to Register for the Conference with Dinner.

Keynote Speakers

  1. Dr. Ramon Lawrence

Impact of Artificial Intelligence on Approaches to Assessment and Student Help

Artificial intelligence has a significant impact on approaches to engaging, helping, and assessing students. Even before generative AI systems such as ChatGPT, students often questioned the value of assignments, may not consistently engage with instructors and teaching assistants during office hours and labs, and struggled to find the motivation and support necessary for their learning. This talk describes several research studies and systems designed to improve student engagement and learning. The first project focuses on automating assessment using PrairieLearn for both asynchronous labs and real-time classroom engagement using a gamification approach. The second project describes the HelpMe system supporting on-demand help for students using virtual labs rather than scheduled lab times. Virtual labs help with accessibility and engagement while reducing the computer lab resources used. The third project analyzes the impacts of generative AI on assessments and support systems. This includes research on detecting AI submissions in Computer Science courses and using course-specific chatbots to help answer questions for students. Attendees will be able to take away some practical approaches for use in their own classes.

Bio: Dr. Ramon Lawrence is a professor of computer science and Academic Director for the Centre for Teaching and Learning at the University of British Columbia Okanagan.  His teaching recognitions included the UBC Award for Teaching Excellence and Innovation in 2017, the Killam Teaching Prize in 2020, and a 9-time member of the teaching honour roll recognizing the top 10% of instructors at UBC Okanagan.  His scholarship in teaching and learning research is in the areas of automatic assessment and help systems and the impacts of artificial intelligence on education.  The research has resulted in changes to how labs are delivered for many courses. He is the founder of Unity Data Inc. (www.unityjdbc.com), which provides software for data integration from multiple sources and is a database consultant for enterprises requiring Big Data solutions.  Recent work produced software for SQL querying and integrating MongoDB with enterprise relational systems used by numerous companies worldwide. Dr. Lawrence is a senior member of the ACM and a senior member of IEEE.

2.

Dr. Ben Stephenson

Tales from the Trenches: Experiences from Two Decades of Post-Secondary Teaching

I have been teaching at the post-secondary level since 2001.  During that time, I have used a variety of activities and interventions to engage students, manage my workload, improve assessments, and better students’ experiences in both my own courses and others.  In this talk I will survey the practices that I have implemented; everything from TA training to snake charming, and textbook writing to computer generated art.  I’ll tell stories about what has worked well, some well-intentioned ideas that didn’t have as much impact as hoped, and maybe even a complete flop (or two).  My hope is that you come away from this session with new ideas to try in your own classroom and the ability to avoid some of the mistakes that I have made.

Bio: Ben Stephenson is a Professor (Teaching) at the University of Calgary with more than two decades of post-secondary teaching experience during which he has taught thousands of students.  He is the author of a dozen pedagogically focused papers, five “nifty” assignments, and two textbooks.  Ben is a significant contributor to the Canadian and international Computer Science Education communities and is currently recovering from his recent work as Co-Chair of the 2023 and 2024 SIGCSE Technical Symposia on Computer Science Education.  Outside of working hours he is a husband and father of two, an avid Lego builder, a solar panel enthusiast, and a frugal grocery shopper.

Sponsors

Platinum Sponsor

Gold Sponsors

Screenshot

Silver Sponsors

In-Kind Sponsorship

Cooperating Organizations

WCCCE 2024 is presented in cooperation with the ACM Special Interest Group on Computer Science Education (SIGCSE — Pending) and will be Supported by the IEEE Okanagan Subsection and IEEE Vancouver Section (Pending). For more information about the WCCCE conferences, please see here: https://dl.acm.org/conference/wccce.

Innovation to shape future: A.I. and Quantum leap

Dr. Lucas Hui

Innovation to shape future: AI and Quantum leap
(Slides: IEEE AI Quantum 240130)

Time & Date: 5 p.m., Tuesday, January 30th, 2024
Location: Room E309 and online in Zoom, Okanagan College, Kelowna, 1000 KLO Rd, Kelowna V1Y 4X8
Registration is open now: https://events.vtools.ieee.org/m/401949

Abstract:

Knowledge and innovation will define the future of human society. This talk will focus on two powerful technologies: AI and quantum computing. The presentation will include basic concepts of the technologies, as well as the profound impact of these technologies and the pivotal role they play in our future.

The talk will cover the following topics:

  • The evolution of Artificial Intelligence: demonstrate the expectation of intelligent machines.
  • Significance of Machine Learning: why and how machine learning is important in modern society.
  • Impact of Artificial Intelligence in the near future: how Artificial Intelligence tools will impact human lives, and how humans should respond to that.
  • The Quantum Jump to Quantum Computing: Why Quantum Computing can significantly improve the Computing landscape.
  • Application of quantum computing in the near future: different areas in which quantum computing has significant contributions.
  • The synergy of quantum computing and artificial intelligence: how the interaction of these two technologies can create a greater effect.
  • Future opportunities: how can we take advantage of these two technologies?

Bio:

Dr Lucas Hui has more than 20 years of university teaching and research experience, covering computer science subjects including information security, Internet commerce, artificial intelligence, data structure and algorithms and others.

He had been CTO of the Hong Kong Applied Science and Technology Research Institute, leading researchers and student interns in multidisciplinary applied research projects. His current interest is in the impact of innovative technology on society. He is a senior member of IEEE.

For further information, please get in touch with Youry Khmelevsky (email: Youry at IEEE.org) and subscribe to the news at okanagan@listserv.ieee.org
Pizza and Refreshments will be provided

Okanagan College Department of Computer Science seeks capstone design projects from industry

The Okanagan College Department of Computer Science is looking for project proposals from industry for its Capstone Project courses COSC 224 and 471.

In the capstone project course, second-year students in teams of 3 to 5 and senior students in teams of 7 to 15 work on projects proposed by industry or other organizations.

The projects can be general in software development or specialized in software engineering.

For additional information on the projects and the Capstone Software Project courses, please visit http://www.okanagan.bc.ca/cosc and

  1. HowToSubmitCapstoneProjectProposal
  2. CapstonePartnerProposalForm

If you have any questions, please get in touch with the Computer Science Department at Okanagan College: capstones [dot] okanagan [dot] bc [dot] ca or chair[dot]cis at okanagan[dot]bc[dot]ca

From Robotic Process Automation (RPA) to Intelligent Process Automation (IPA)

Sergii Baibara
Director of IBA Ukraine, part of IBA Group

From Robotic Process Automation (RPA) to Intelligent Process Automation (IPA) (slides: RPA IEEE QR)

Time & Date: 9:30 a.m., Tuesday, December 5th, 2023
Location: Room HS 102 and online in Zoom, Okanagan College, Kelowna, 1000 KLO Rd, Kelowna V1Y 4X8
Registration is open now: https://events.vtools.ieee.org/m/386898 

Abstract:

In the ever-evolving landscape of corporate automation, the transition from Robotic Process Automation (RPA) to Intelligent Process Automation (IPA) is critical nowadays. Integrating Machine Learning (ML) technologies and sophisticated Generative Pre-trained Transformer (GPT) models reshape how financial institutions optimize their processes.

This presentation delves into Intelligent Process Automation, where traditional boundaries are surpassed, unlocking unprecedented possibilities. From the classification of tasks using ML algorithms to the revolutionary impact of GPT models, we explore each facet and unravel a narrative that underscores the transformative power of automation in the corporate sector.

During the talk, we will discuss the following topics:

  • The Shift from RPA to Intelligent Automation.
  • Classification Algorithms in Action — Illustrate how classification algorithms streamline corporate operations.
  • Information Extraction for Corporate Data — examine ML’s role in extracting data from unstructured corporate documents.
  • Signature Recognition for Enhanced Security — explore the role of ML in recognizing and authenticating signatures in various corporate documents.
  • Revolutionizing AI with GPT Models — uncover the latest advancements in Generative Pre-trained Transformer (GPT) models, highlighting their impact on the corporate sector.
  • Delegating tasks to AI: Balancing Trust and Risk — emphasize the importance of understanding the cost of errors in each process.
  • Specialized Platforms for Corporate Automation — advocate for a balanced approach with a human-in-the-loop for continuous quality improvement.

Bio:

Sergii Baibara currently serves as the Director of IBA Ukraine, part of IBA Group, a position he has held since July 2012. IBA Group – 30 years in IT business, started as JV with IBM. He has 26 years of experience in the international IT software business, Including S&T AG and SAS Institute. Sergii has been developing RPA practices since 2016.

For further information, please get in touch with Youry Khmelevsky (email: Youry at IEEE.org) and subscribe to the news at okanagan@listserv.ieee.org
Pizza and Refreshments will be provided

IEEE Okanagan College Student Branch Annual General Meeting

Chair: Thais Santos Damasceno 
Vice Chair: Ashley Tumback
Tresure: Alexander Hopfner
Secretary: Alexander Ross

IEEE Okanagan College Student Branch Annual General Meeting
(supported by IEEE Okanagan Subsection)

Time & Date:  5 p.m., Wednesday, November 8th, 2023
Location: Room E 102, Okanagan College, Kelowna, 1000 KLO Rd, Kelowna V1Y 4X8 (Zoom: https://ca01web.zoom.us/j/65884995637?pwd=M2JqV25WMWNaYkJxK3kySGt3THplZz09)
Registration is open now: https://events.vtools.ieee.org/m/382340

Bios:

Thais Damasceno is a dynamic professional with 3+ years of work experience who is shifting from a legal career in Brazil to the world of technology in Canada. Following a year of legal practice, she relocated to Canada to enhance her English and discovered her passion for programming. Thais worked during a 9-month software developer internship at Willowglen Systems Inc, a pivotal experience that solidified her commitment to the industry. There, she worked mainly with JavaScript and C++. In Fall 2023, she embarked on her journey at Okanagan College, where she’s dedicated to advancing her technology expertise. This strives to bring innovative solutions to complex challenges, bridging her legal background with her technical knowledge.

Daniel Tumback has a background as a residential framer; however, his true passion is working on computers. After years of working in construction, he decided to go and get an undergraduate degree in computer information systems. He has a passion for building things, from assembling the components of a computer to building houses. He hopes to take that same passion into the computer science world and help build the future of computer components. He has a keen interest in the future of quantum computing and hopes to one day be on the front line of quantum development to truly help build the next generation of computing hardware.

Alexander Ross is a computer science enthusiast and aspiring professional. He is a 23-year-old Computer Science enthusiast with a strong foundation in programming and a dedication to innovation. His journey in the world of technology began at Okanagan College, where he is currently enrolled in the Computer Information Systems (CIS) program. As a third-year student, he has honed his skills in Java, C, C++, HTML/CSS, JavaScript, VB.NET, SQL, and SPARC while gaining expertise in Database Analysis and Design, micro-controllers, and circuitry design. In addition to his technical proficiency, he has had the opportunity to work in dynamic and high-stress environments. During his tenure at Kal Tire, he mastered adaptability and time management. Beyond his educational and work experiences, he is a quick learner with strong communication skills. He is excited about the possibilities and is eager to continue his journey in the world of technology.

For further information, please get in touch with Youry Khmelevsky (email: Youry at IEEE.org) and subscribe to the news at okanagan@listserv.ieee.org
Pizza and Refreshments will be provided

Quantum computing with superconducting qubits

Dr. Josh Mutus
Director of Quantum Materials at Rigetti Computing

Quantum computing with superconducting qubits

Time & Date:  5 p.m., Wednesday, December 6th, 2023
Location: Room E 309, Okanagan College, Kelowna, 1000 KLO Rd, Kelowna V1Y 4X8
Registration is open now: https://events.vtools.ieee.org/m/382333

Abstract:

What is a quantum computer, and what might it be useful for? I’ll describe how a quantum computer, based on superconducting qubits, works. I’ll also describe fault-tolerant quantum computing (FTQC), and the applications where a quantum computer might vastly outperform even the largest high-performance computing facility. What might such a “utility-scale” quantum computer look like, and how big would it be to solve problems intractable on today’s machines?

Bio:

Dr. Josh Mutus currently serves as the Director of Quantum Materials at Rigetti Computing, a position he has held since April 2021. He holds a Ph.D. in Physics from the University of Alberta and an undergraduate degree from the University of Windsor. Before joining Rigetti Computing, Josh was a member of the Google Quantum Hardware group as a Senior Research Scientist, where he worked for over six years from 2014 to 2021. Before Google, he did post-doctoral work at UC Santa Barbara.

For further information, please get in touch with Youry Khmelevsky (email: Youry at IEEE.org) and subscribe to the news at okanagan@listserv.ieee.org
Pizza and Refreshments will be provided

Unleashing Potential: Harnessing Foundation Models (Large Language Models) in Business and Research

Fatemeh Hendijani Fard, PhD
Assistant Professor
Irving K. Barber Faculty of Science| Computer Science
The University of British Columbia

Unleashing Potential: Harnessing Foundation Models (Large Language Models) in Business and Research
(IEEE-Okanagan_Chapter-Oct24th-2023)

Time & Date:  5 p.m., Tuesday, October 24th, 2023
Location: Room EME 1121, UBC Okanagan, The University of British Columbia, Kelowna BC, V1V 1V7 Canada
Registration is open now: https://events.vtools.ieee.org/tego_/event/manage/378215

Abstract:

Leveraging Large Language Models (LLMs) has marked a significant milestone in recent months, notably with the introduction of ChatGPT in early 2023. These models have demonstrated remarkable potential in addressing straightforward queries and tasks. However, to fully exploit their capabilities in handling routine inquiries, adept prompt engineering is essential. Furthermore, the adaptability of LLMs to novel tasks and domains is pivotal. It is crucial to recognize that each company or research field possesses unique requirements, necessitating tailored adaptations of LLMs. The specificity of these needs often hinges on domain-specific data, demanding meticulous consideration. How can these models be tailored to classify your data effectively? What strategies can be employed when dealing with a limited dataset? Complex scenarios, such as querying vast repositories of textual files stored in directories, underscore the challenges. These files encompass diverse modalities, formats, and structures, ranging from structured to entirely unstructured content.

In this research presentation, we will delve into an exploration of LLM capabilities and pinpoint the areas where they encounter limitations. Subsequently, we will elucidate various techniques for fine-tuning these models, especially in scenarios where data availability is constrained. By addressing these challenges, we aim to provide valuable insights into harnessing the full potential of LLMs, ensuring their optimal performance in diverse and data-intensive applications.

Bio:

Dr. Fatemeh Hendijani Fard is an Assistant Professor at The University of British Columbia, Okanagan, Canada, where she leads the Data Science and Software Engineering lab. Her research interests lie at the intersection of Natural Language Processing and Software Engineering, with a focus on code representation learning and transfer learning for low-resource languages, as well as mining software repositories. She collaborates closely with industry partners and has contributed her expertise as a program committee member and reviewer for esteemed journals and conferences, including IEEE Transactions on Software Engineering, ACM International Conference on the Foundations of Software Engineering, and IEEE/ACM International Conference on Automated Software Engineering. Dr. Fard is an IEEE Senior member, and she actively gives back to the community by mentoring females interested in Artificial Intelligence.

For further information, please contact Youry Khmelevsky (email: Youry at IEEE.org) and subscribe for the news at okanagan@listserv.ieee.org)
Pizza and Refreshments will be provided

Creating Accurate Predictions in the Stock Market

Emilio Sagre, Gustavo Dutra, Niha Siddikha Sachin, Steven Whang 
Data Analytics, Langara College

Creating Accurate Predictions in the Stock Market

Time & Date:  5 p.m., Wednesday, December 14th, 2022
Location: Room HS301 and via Zoom (see an email and registration information)
Registration is open now: https://events.vtools.ieee.org/m/337514

Abstract:

Creating accurate predictions in the stock market has always been a great challenge in finance. With the rise of machine learning as the next level in the forecasting area, this research compares four machine learning models and their accuracy for forecasting three well-known stocks traded in the NYSE in the short term over the period from March 2020 to May 2022. We deploy, develop, and hypertune XGBoost, Random Forest, Multi-layer Perceptron, and Support Vector Regression models and report the models that produce the highest accuracies from our evaluation metrics: RMSE, MAPE, and MPE.

Speakers Bio:

  • Emilio Sagre is a licensed Civil Engineer in the Philippines. He is a student at Langara College finishing his Post-Degree Diploma (PDD) in Data Analytics. His passion for machine learning and its practical applications led him to enter this field.
  • Gustavo Dutra has a Bachelor of Engineering and works in the Tech Industry, helping companies improve their data management and operations. Being passionate about business data, he’s also finishing his PDD in Data Analytics at Langara College.
  • Niha Siddikha Sachin In the 5 years that Niha spent crunching numbers for the e-commerce and retail industries as a lead and a product analyst in a trillion-dollar and a Fortune 500 company, respectively, she has solved problems for various categories, created reports to track PnL and maintained servers for the banking and finance domain. Having a Bachelor of Engineering degree in IT, she became interested in data interpretation and manipulation, where data alter the perception and when the perception alters output. Niha is currently finishing her PDD in Data Analytics at Langara college.
  • Steven Whang has a Bachelor’s Degree in Financial Economics. He is finishing a PDD in Data Analytics at Langara College. He aspires to be working in the data science field in the future.

For further information, please contact: Youry Khmelevsky (email: Youry at IEEE.org) and subscribe for the news at https://listserv.ieee.org/cgi-bin/wa?SUBED1=okanagan&A=1)
Pizza and Refreshments will be provided