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Disney's "Fantasia" to help test programming skills at UCR

Disney's "Fantasia" to help test programming skills at UCR

(March 9, 2001)

Computer Science students at the University of California, Riverside will test their programming prowess in a team competition Monday to see how well they can transfer a television image to a computer screen, using a state-of-the-art "media processor."

Media processors are becoming increasingly popular in set-top boxes, digital TV's, video games, video conferencing, and other devices. Expertise in the area will give students in the Bourns College of Engineering an advantage in the job world.

Professor Frank Vahid, through cooperation with TriMedia of San Jose, has set up a contest that involves converting a TV video signal to a PC monitor signal quickly and as completely as possible.

"We have a TV and a PC monitor set up side-by-side, playing a "Fantasia" DVD so you see the full picture on the TV, but only the top fraction of the picture on the PC monitor," Vahid said. "Students have to modify the program to take advantage of the special features of the media processor to display more of the picture."

Graduate students Jason Villarreal and Tony Givargis organized the contest, which includes about 25 computer science majors. The winning team earns movie tickets -- and some credibility in their next job interview.

When: 7:30 to 9 p.m. Monday, March 12
Where: Embedded System Design lab, 122B in the Statistics/Computer building
Who: UCR Professor Frank Vahid and Kees Vissers, principal architect at TriMedia and a member of the Advisory Board for the Department of Computer Science, Bourns College of Engineering.
Why: To sharpen computer-programming skills relevant to the current job market.

The University of California, Riverside ( is a doctoral research university, a living laboratory for groundbreaking exploration of issues critical to Inland Southern California, the state and communities around the world. Reflecting California's diverse culture, UCR's enrollment has exceeded 21,000 students. The campus opened a medical school in 2013 and has reached the heart of the Coachella Valley by way of the UCR Palm Desert Center. The campus has an annual statewide economic impact of more than $1 billion.

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