2nd Summer School opening (Dubrovnik, July 9th 2008)

Good morning everyone, good morning students and teachers, and welcome to the second Peach summer school.

My name is Giulio Ruffini and I work at Starlab in Barcelona. I don't really like giving talks, so in the spirit of this meeting and in an experimental fashion I am having my computer give the talk for me.   I will try to animate the presentation with some facial expression dynamics.

I am here as the the co-ordinator of PEACH, an action supported by the Future Emerging Technologies program of the European Commission, and whose objective is to support and stimulate the Presence community. You are here because you represent the next generation in this Community.

It is my great pleasure to see so many of you participating in our second PEACH Summer school. As you know, the theme of this event is "Presence: technologies and applications". Last year, in Santorini, the title was "Presence: towards human-machine confluence". In this summer school we are shifting the focus somewhat to applications, as opposed to foundations. But there is really a lot be done in both areas!

Presence lies at the intersection of three research areas: Human Cognition (how do our brains work, how do they construct the experience we call reality?), Human Machine-Interaction (how can we build better sensors and effectors), and Machine Cognition (how can we make computers smarter and more powerful illusionists?). The goal of the field is to develop the science and technology for control of the very fabric or reality, as is constructed by our brains using sensory information and interaction. It is also concerned with a quickly evolving set of related applications and their social impact. Social presence is becoming an important aspect of the field.

In this school, we have brought together a fantastic set of speakers with expertise in these areas, and created a three day long space for you to interact with them in a beautiful, relaxed scenario. Learn, think, interact with them and enjoy!

Finally, I would also like to encourage you to participate in PEACH, now entering its third year, through our Working Groups. The meeting will take place next April, under the auspices of the Edinburgh Science Festival. If you would like to participate, sign up! 

I hope the information you exchange in this event will stimulate you. You are the next generation of Presence researchers and technologists.  Have a great and profitable time in Dubrovnik.

Now back to my human avatar.

Thank you.