During the last 50 years informatics, or Information and Communication Technology (ICT), has grown to become one of the sciences (or maybe the science) with largest impact on the development of society. Informatics is everywhere. In order to secure a sustainable development, the society needs an ICT workforce with new knowledge and broad competence within the realm of informatics. Norway has therefore invested in a new informatics building at the University of Oslo. This building, including all its research and education facilities and modern equipment, is by far the largest investment in ICT research and education in Norway ever.
200 years anniversary
The Department of informatics at the University of Oslo moved to the new building during spring 2011, and mid August this year we could, for the first time, wish freshman welcomed to brand new facilities. This year the University of Oslo also celebrates its 200 years anniversary and the official birthday is September 2. It was, therefore, natural to arrange the official opening of new building on this date. The informatics building was officially opened by Tora Aasland – the Norwegian minister for Research and Higher education.
The new building
The new informatics building, drawn by the architects at Lund Hagem, is particularly constructed for students and organized for modern education. The three first floors of the almost 30.000 sqm large building is constructed as a huge learning arena for Bachelor student, with all necessary facilities and flexibility covering modern auditoriums, a series of lecture rooms, huge open spaces, and small quiet rooms where students can work in groups or alone. Several nice pieces of art create an engaging work environment for more than 1500 bachelor students on the ICT-programs and ICT-courses at the University of Oslo. In the basement, the students has their own pub with the name of «Escape».
From the fourth floor and in the tower of the building, the Department of informatics has its offices and laboratories. All master- and PhD-students have their work environment together with the research groups carefully designed into the layout of the building. Currently, the Department of informatics has approximately 450 Master´s students and 220 PhD-students in addition to approximately 1500 Bachelor students. Approximately 50% of the PhD-students come from countries outside Norway and from fall 2011 all Master´s programmes are opened for applicants from abroad. Research are organized in 13 research groups covering a broad range of topics within informatics.
The building is named Ole-Johan Dahls House after the first Professor in informatics at the University of Oslo. Together with Professor Kristen Nygaard, Ole-Johan Dahl, invented object-oriented programming including the first object-oriented programming language Simula in the 1960s. They were awarded both the Turing Award (2001) and the IEEE John von Neumann Medal (2002) for this achievement. The old informatics building, situated besides the new building, is named Kristen Nygaards House. All lecture rooms in the new building is named after programming languages and our magnificent auditorium has, of course, been named Simula.
University of Oslo has five education programmes within ICT. Each programmd is divided into a three-year Bachelor programme followed by a two-year international Master´s programme. The following are short presentations of the five Master´s programmes;
The Informatics: programming and networks program - provides a deep insight into how computers work and how they can be used to solve problems. The programme covers the core of computer science and provides a thorough education in programming, software languages, logic, systems modelling, software engineering, and distributed systems, utilizing concurrent processes inside computers to world-wide systems like the Internet.
The Informatics: design, use, interaction - provides multidisciplinary skills essential for understanding the role of ICT in society and how ICT solutions can be used to solve important tasks. The programme includes training in systems development in use contexts, the understanding of large and complex information systems, ICT management, interaction design and digital media production.
The Informatics: nanoelectronics and robotics - provides necessary knowledge and skills for building nanoelectronics systems and intelligent robots. The education involves signal processing and software development, and students will be involved in space technology and the development of medical equipment.
The Informatics: language and communication – provides the opportunity to study how computers handle and model human communication through language. The students learn how computers are able to translate human languages and how search engines in particular and software systems in general are based on language technology.
The Informatics: Scientific Computing - provides in-depth knowledge of programming with a solid foundation in mathematics combined with domain knowledge in medicine and science of nature. The students can specialise in computational mathematics, image processing and biomedical computing.
Welcome to the new informatics building and the ICT education programmes at the University of Oslo. For more information about the Master´s programmes, see here. You can also download a PDF-version of this article here.