IT | The American University of Iraq Sulaimani

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IT Students Display Creative Projects

  On November 18, 2015, the Department of Information Technology (IT) hosted an “IT Day” to showcase the fun and interesting side of the IT world to the AUIS community. Several students displayed creative projects ranging from online shopping portals to games and ultrasonic sensors. “This is an event that we do every semester and the goal is to introduce IT to students, especially first semester and APP students. It is a way to show them what Information Technology is about and what our senior students can do,” said Dr. Atheer Matroud, chair of the IT department. Dr. Matroud further explained that the diverse and interesting projects on display by the IT students were either part of their current courses like robotics or interactive media, or their final year Capstone projects. “This is an important way to introduce IT to young students. Some of them do not know what IT is and what they can do after studying the subject,” he added. Mahmoud, a 7th semester IT student developed a project around artificial intelligence, and based it on J.A.R.V.I.S - the fictional character from Iron Man. Guests could put on headphones and have a witty discussion with J.A.R.V.I.S. Mahmud used an open-source online software to create the project. Berzy Bahzad, an IT senior, created a paper lantern in the shape of a heart cloud. The project used an LED strip which lit up with the pulse of the persons connected to the display. A group of four students used ultrasonic sensors on a remote controlled car to sound an alarm if it approached anything in its way. The project was part of their robotics class.  Pshtiwan Kamal, another senior, is currently working on creating an online shopping portal which will allow customers to purchase products using a secure in-built charging/credit card system without having to use their own personal credit cards. Maazan and Dashty, both IT majors, created an interesting computer game based on Javascript. Another senior, Karzan Fadhil, hopes that his application can help make the booking system easier for AUIS learning centers. He has created an online system for the new AUIS IT tutoring system, where students can book time and dates for the course of their choice online. The Capstone project by Eenas can help local hospitals and clinics replace their paper records with a simple computerized system. Doctors and staff will be able to login and share information on a system that does not require internet to record patient details, medical history and prescriptions all in one place. Other students displayed more games, online search engines as well as home automation devices such as personalized security systems and device controlled lamps and lighting in the house. The  event was organized and led by students with support from their teacher, Mr. Alan Amin, lecturer in the IT department. 

First Seminar on E-Government, its Theories and Practices

Students and instructors from AUIS and Sulaimani University crowded the lecture hall to listen to Dr. Farzad Sanati and Ala Barzinji speak on the theories and practices of E-Government. Dr. Sanati, who has published widely on the subject, is an assistant professor at AUIS, at the Department of Information Technology, with many years of experience working on E-Government projects in Australia. Ala Barzinji is a doctoral candidate researching E-Government at Stockholm University with a focus on cyber crime and social network analysis of terrorist groups. She is currently teaching Information Security at the University of Sulaimani. The two hour seminar introduced the audience to the concept of E-Government and the prerequisites for its implementation before enumerating the obstacles facing such a project in the KRG. Dr. Sanati began the seminar by defining E-Government, that it is not simply the digitization of the government’s processes but rather the government’s use of information technology to deliver services to its citizens. He stressed the need for research and planning before undertaking such large projects, saying “The more we research, the more we practice, the more we plan, the better we are prepared and the better we implement our goals.” He highlighted the many dimensions of the governance of a project like E-Government, all of which begins not with computerization but in the halls of parliament where the leadership must provide a legal framework to regulate and standardize the process; or else, he warned, the government will face the very chaos it intended to counter. For any E-Government project to succeed, he went on, the government must undergo organizational change and reinvent itself, it must socially engineer digital literacy among its citizens, and finally it must have the people with the technological knowhow to put the network in place and maintain it. He emphasized that success is dependent upon a government’s institutional capacity, its geographical reach, the digital literacy of its citizens, and the ability to train resources; without any of which an E-Government project is doomed to failure. Ala Barzinji tackled the issue of E-Government’s implementation in the KRG and why the time has come for replacing the traditional paper system with a new E-Government system. Security, she pointed out, is the first and foremost problem needing to be solved. Furthermore, she covered the serious challenges facing the KRG, from corruption to a lack of technocrat employees, to masked unemployment and bureaucracy.There are simply too many employees in the government sector, she said, and this leads to corruption as people try to avoid bureaucracy through recourse to nepotism and bribery. It is no surprise, she continued, that in these conditions Iraq was listed as one of the most corrupt countries in the world in 2010-2011. She emphasized the need for the government to provide a private and secure way to access E-Services and its need to ensure “authentication, authorization, confidentiality, integrity and availability.” The seminar struck a chord with the audience, many of whom expressed a profound interest in realising the implementation of E-Government in Kurdistan and wished to discuss in detail the ways a society can move towards an E-Government. Most attendees questioned the panelist about the ways E-Government can be applied to the KRG and the consequences this may have on society, such as mass unemployment. To this, Dr. Sanati responded that the creation of new technology, while leading to unemployment compels the workforce to upgrade their skills. The discussion that followed expounded not only on the difficulties of planning and implementing E-Government, but also the positive aspects concerning its design and creation in a place like the KRG.


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