It was in 2001 where the faculty of Information Technology, University of Moratuwa was born. It was a quiet start but a one that had filled with great hopes and later on turned into great achievements. Year 2008, marked the golden chapter of the faculty, after moving from the Borella building to the University premises in 2005, the faculty was stated in a temporary building at the university. But there was a dream in every student and a staff member of the faculty, which was to move into a home which is of their own. That dream came a reality in 2008, during the 7th year of the faculty. The building which was under construction for some time was finished and the faculty was moved there. To mark this occasion, the Faculty planned to hold a series of activities on the theme of “Graduation, Entrepreneurship and Success”, with the objectives of preparing students for the future challenges they face, enhancing interaction with the industry, and promotion of the Faculty among industry and prospective students. The events started off with a multi-religious program, which was followed by a symposium and a get-together, a six-a-side cricket tournament.
“Unlocking young minds” was an IT exhibition and it was last of the series of events which was organized in parallel to the 7th anniversary and the opening of the new building. This was successfully held on 14th, 15th and 16th of May at the new faculty premises. As the name implies “Unlocking Young Minds” is truly an occasion to see the real talents of the students of the faculty. As the final event of this event series, this was the successor to “Unlocking Young Minds”: the Fifth Anniversary Celebrations Exhibition held in July 2006. This was a great opportunity for the faculty students to showcase their talents and to people, students to get some valuable knowledge into the field of IT. And to witness the latest technologies and trends in the industry at present.
Information Communication Technology Agency (ICTA) along with Sri Lanka Telecom (SLT) sponsored this edition of ‘Unlocking Young Minds’. The opening ceremony for the exhibition was held on the 14th of May with participation of many. It was a simple but a very nice opening ceremony. SLT Mrs. Chairperson Leisha Chandrasena graced the occasion as the chief guest. Dean of the Faculty of Information Technology Prof. Mrs. Dileeka Dias delivered the welcome speech, there she was very impressed and happy with the way the students had organized this event. It was so great to hear such encouraging words from the Dean of the faculty.
The exhibition was categorized in to several sections based on the exhibits and the field which it belonged. Some of the zones in the exhibition are mentioned below. The Software zone of the exhibition comprised of some of the outstanding projects which were done by the faculty students. This was a great opportunity for those students to show their talents to the rest of the world. These projects were the results the knowledge which the students had gained from the faculty and the researches they had conducted. Hardware zone was another attractive section of the exhibition. This included some of the very old but important hardware components which were used in the earlier computers. Some of these were very rare artifacts; hence this was a great opportunity for the students to see and get to know them. Apart from the older versions of the computer some new hardware technologies too were in show. ‘Motorola’ corporation too had provided some tools to be shown at this zone that too was very interesting. Artificial Intelligence section of the exhibition was an area where most of the keen followers of IT were so much interested in. That zone provided the history of AI and his current evolutions, this too was very interesting.
Geographical Information Systems (GIS) is an area which is rapidly becoming popular in the world at the moment, so the faculty had decided stage a separate section for this field. It included some very interesting presentations as well as provided some valuable intel into this field. A competition for schools was held with related to this exhibition, for that number of schools took part, and some very good projects were on show from them. It was a great opportunity to some schools to showcase their IT knowledge on the big stage. Schools from far away areas like Jaffna, Vauniya, Wallawaya took part in this competition. Another zone in the exhibition was given to ‘Microsoft’, there were some interesting Microsoft technologies like Multipoint were showcased. Apart from that some of the awards wining Microsoft Imagine cup projects were demonstrated there. This was a great opportunity to those who were interested in Microsoft technologies. Just next to the Microsoft stall was the Open source technology stall, there open source projects like ‘Sahana’ was demonstrated, and a good understanding was given on most of the available Operating systems like Ubuntu, Sun Solaris and many more were on display then.
Network zone too attracted many visitors; it displayed the mechanism in which data is transmitted via networks and the tools that are used in network connections. But above all the as with the case most other exhibitions, the game zone attracted the most number of visitors. It was visited by many game lovers and keen followers of latest games. The two things which attracted many were the X Box game controller and Nintendo Wii game controller. For many these were new technologies, so they had the very rare chance of playing these games and getting some really good experience. There was lot of school children from many pats of the country, for them a special series of technical sessions were organized, some renowned speakers from the industry conducted these technical sessions, so it was a great opportunity for those who came from far away places. ‘Intecs’ the Information Technology society of the faculty conducted an IT awareness program to those who came from far away areas. The objective of this was to give them an idea about what IT really is and the opportunities it presents.
Overall the 2nd edition of “Unlocking Young Minds” was a great success; it was praised by many who visited the place. The most senior batch to the most junior batch in the faculty gave their fullest support to make this event a great success. And the staff led by Prof. Mrs. Dileeka Dias gave their valuable advice and guidance to make this event a great success. It was truly a great experience for everyone in the faculty.