We have experienced pupils from Culture school in Trondheim who have shown us art, music, and clown art. These are children who dream looking at the stars as each of us has done and does in our life.
I grew up in Pisa, few hundred meters from Pisa airport that was under construction in the years when I was a little child. I still remembering looking up from that small street into the night sky and trying to see stars, airplanes, and the lights of the control towers and distinguish between stars, artificial lights, and my own dreams. Nobody has managed to answer how many millions of stars do exist and the question still fascinate scientists as well as philosophers, musicians and dreamers. I have been 33 years in computer science education, practice, and research, first as a student, PhD student, programmer, researcher, professor and department head. The question of how to become a star by making the world better due to excellence in computer science intrigues me and should challenge all the people in this room today and in the years to come.
Welcome to the first gathering at the new Department of Computer Science (Institutt for datateknologi og informatikk, IDI), NTNU. Staff from Kalvskinnet, Gjøvik and Gløshaugen, and close friends and partners have been invited to an evening filled with scientific contributions, art, music, and good food – balm for both body and mind, following the traditions of ITovation.
To build a new and even better team we need to gather and learn to know each other, and what we strive to achieve. The new national Center for Excellent Information Technology Education (excit-ed.com) and the new Telenor-NTNU AI-Lab constitutes new possibilities for all of us, and are core themes of the program.
We have personally invited the best possible stars that will inspire us toward international excellence in computer science education, research, and innovation. Tatiana Rizzante, Heidi Austlid, Bjørn Taale Sandberg, Barbara Ericson, and Mark Guzdial, were our first choices when we set up our initial program. And they all answered yes to my invitation to be keynote speakers at our event. We are all deeply thankful and proud for this.
Excellence is to dare to look at the stars to be inspired and enlighten. Nobody can be a star at the same time in education, research, innovation and leadership. Even if the university system is based on indicators, you should not compare yourself and compete with your near colleague. On the contrary, research and education are a team effort. We have been asking the question about why we merge. We merge because we want to make an even better contribution to the society we are an important part of.
E quindi uscimmo a riveder le stelle – And thence we came forth to see again the stars (Dante Alighieri 1300) Again Welcome to the first gathering at the new Department of Computer Science and thanks for being here.
Edvard Munch, Sternennacht / Starry Night, 1922-1924