6 September 2016

On Tuesday, 30 August 2016, the departments of Computer Science and Informatics in the School of Information Technology, situated in the Faculty of Engineering, Built Environment and Information Technology (EBIT), opened a new Collaborative Project Laboratory. Both departments have a third-year module where the students have to develop and implement a large software system for a client. The students work in groups of three to five and their assignment is to design and implement a working product for a client who is continuously involved in this process. Prof Sunil Maharaj, Dean of EBIT, calls this the ‘brain-to-market’ process. The aim of the laboratory is to become a platform for creative and effective diversity across various study fields and gender and race lines, leading to a wealth of ideas and innovative products.

The laboratory has 21 collaborative workstations, each equipped with an LCD screen connected to the cloud, where sponsors can upload marketing material that is displayed when the screens are not in use. Numerous wireless access points are available and there is a Skype room and three relaxation areas for students working around the clock. Each workstation is sponsored and branded by the sponsor.

Prof Alta van der Merwe, Deputy Dean of EBIT (formerly Head of the Department of Informatics) and Prof Andries Engelbrecht, Head of the Department of Computer Science, are extremely proud of this facility and grateful to the various sponsors. Prof Van der Merwe said that without their contribution, and the contribution of the University of Pretoria, this project lab would have remained a dream. Third-year students from the departments of Computer Science and Information Systems who don’t have access to a space to collaborate will find this new lab indispensable.

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