October 23, 2007

Computer science: It’s not all fun and games…is it?

The Nov. 6 STEM lecture will examine the fun and serious sides of computer games. The Nov. 6 STEM lecture will examine the fun and serious sides of computer games.

Are video games simply toys or are they tools that make them candidates for serious academic study? That’s the topic of the second science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) lecture program, 7:30 p.m., Tuesday, Nov. 6, in the University Union’s Redwood Room.

John Clevenger, a professor in Sacramento State’s College of Engineering and Computer Science, will examine the $60 billion a year video gaming phenomenon and discuss how video games are moving beyond entertainment and gaining the attention of the academic world.

“A common reaction of professionals in scientific disciplines, academicians in general and parents everywhere is that games are not a serious topic,” says Clevenger. “However, video games are increasingly being used in medicine, public service, corporate business, education and the military. Because of that, a number of universities have begun offering courses, and in many cases entire degree programs, in game design and implementation, and many of these programs place heavy emphasis on the scientific and technical aspects of computer games.”

Clevenger earned his doctorate degree in computer science from UC Davis and has more than 30 years experience teaching introductory programming, algorithms and data structures, software design, computer architecture, computer graphics and computer games. He has received the College of Engineering and Computer Science’s Outstanding Teaching Award twice and the Upsilon Pi Epsilon Computer Science Honor Society’s Outstanding Faculty Award five times.

The lecture is the second of four in the annual STEM lecture series. The next lecture is Feb. 26. The topic will be announced at a later date.

For more information, contact Clevenger at (916) 278-6087. For media assistance, contact Sacramento State’s Public Affairs office at (916) 278-6156.