By Shannon Vicic
Only a few weeks from now, the UI will celebrate the birth of one of the most famous fictional computers with Cyberfest '97, a week-long celebration of computers and technology.
In the 1968 novel and motion picture, "2001: A Space Odyssey," HAL, the smooth-talking, chess-playing and ultimately all-too-human computer, said he became operational in Urbana, Ill. HAL's birth in Urbana is the launch pad for what is being called a "Woodstock for the [computer] wired."
Scheduled for March 10-15, the event will give computer and movie enthusiasts an opportunity to revisit the visionary film as well as to reflect upon the past, present and future roles of computers in people's lives.
A partial list of activities scheduled for Cyberfest '97 are listed below. Most events are free and open to the public. For a complete listing of events, visit the Cyberfest '97 web site at: http://www.cyberfest.uiuc.edu. A more comprehensive listing of events will appear in the March 6 issue of Inside Illinois.
THE MAKING OF "2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY"
7 p.m. March 11, Foellinger Auditorium
Piers Bizony, author of the critically acclaimed "2001: Filming the Future," and Harry Lange, a production designer and technical adviser on "2001," will team up for a two-hour presentation about the making of the movie.
7 p.m. March 12, 1320 Digital Computer Lab
Scientists will discuss the computational and philosophical issues raised by the movie. Guests at the forum will include Murray Campbell and Joe Hoane, researchers working on IBM's Deep Blue chess computer; Tom Mitchell, a leading researcher in machine learning and artificial intelligence at Carnegie-Mellon University; and Stephen Wolfram, physicist, developer of Mathematica software, and president of Wolfram Research.
COMPOSERS AND COMPUTERS: AN ON-GOING COLLABORATION
8 p.m. March 12, Krannert Center for the Performing Arts
Created and performed by faculty and students from the UI's School of Music, this concert will blend live performances with electronics, offering a look back at the early days of electro-acoustic music as well as a display of current trends in that genre.
Tickets for the event are $5 ($4 for senior citizens, $2 for students). For tickets and information, call the Krannert Center ticket office, 333-6280, or e-mail email@example.com.
A SHOWING AND DISCUSSION OF "2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY"
6:30 p.m. March 13, Virginia Theater, Champaign Roger Ebert, a Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist for the Chicago Sun-Times, will host a showing of the film in its original 70mm stereo format. General admission tickets are $12. To order, call the Virginia Theater at (217) 356-9063.
DISEMBODIED CREATIVITY: THE SOCIAL AND AESTHETIC IMPLICATIONS OF INTELLIGENT MACHINES
March 14, Levis Faculty Center
A daylong symposium on artificial intelligence featuring prominent scholars such as Bruno Latour, the leading French sociologist of science, and N. Katherine Hayles, an English professor at UCLA and author of several books on the social and artistic implications of the development of artificial intelligence. For information on session times, call (217) 333-2391.
THE CYBERFEST GALA
8 p.m. March 14, Festival Theater, Krannert Center for the Performing Arts
Also hosted by Ebert, the gala will be a tribute to computers, "2001: A Space Odyssey," and those involved in the making of the film, many of whom will be in attendance, either live or by videotape.
Gary Lockwood, the actor who portrayed astronaut Frank Poole, will attend the gala and speak about his experience working on "2001."
Arthur C. Clarke, co-author of the film's screenplay and author of the novel, will appear live via the Internet from his home in Sri Lanka, and Keir Dullea, who played astronaut Dave Bowman, will appear in a videotaped interview.
Another highlight of the gala will be a one-of-a-kind, "virtual time-space performance," which will integrate images and sounds from "2001" with computer-generated art and music.
Tickets for the gala are $18 for main floor seating ($15 for students), and $12 for balcony seating ($9 for students). For tickets and information, contact the Krannert Center ticket office.
THE CYBERSHOWCASE: A FUTURISTIC TECHNOLOGY FAIR
March 13 & 14, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Illini Union (corporate fair) and Grainger Engineering Library and Information Center (faculty/staff fair)
The CyberShowcase will include high-tech exhibits from more than 40 computer companies -- including Apple, Lotus, Oracle, IBM, Dell and Microsoft -- as well as from UI faculty and staff members.
Computer companies will offer a variety of seminars during the CyberShowcase, and the fair also will feature several showrooms, including a living room, office and classroom of the future.
National partners: Apple Computer Corp., HAL Computer Systems, Lotus Development Corp., Oracle Corp., United CD-ROM and Wired magazine.
Corporate co-sponsors: Precision Graphics Inc., Wolfram Research, the Chicago Sun-Times, Ameritech and Microsoft Corp.