LEIF Exchange: Detailed project information

LEIF: A Multicultural Exploration into Research and Education for Surface Computing

Title of project

October 1, 2010 - September 30, 2013

Duration of the project


Interactive surface computing systems allow users to interact with computer media and digital information by touching or using pen-based input technologies directly on the surface of a computer information display, for example on a large multi-touch wall or tabletop system or a mobile smartphone, such as the iPhone. These surface computing systems introduce new opportunities for interacting with and sharing digital information and media, as well as new design challenges for managing new styles of user interaction (e.g. multi-touch interaction) and of expanded user support (e.g. multi-user collaborative interaction). Though only introduced recently commercially, interactive surface computing systems are rapidly being adopted, driving an emerging technological hardware and software development to keep up with this demand and the new potentials offered by these systems. Due to such new technology, only few industry technologists have expertise or background in these areas, and require a substantial on-the-job learning curve to effectively develop new systems for companies wishing to enter this technology area. As a consequence, new graduates specifically trained in this field are needed. Then graduates should be educated in methods of international collaboration targeted at this important emerging domain. Summarizing, the objectives are as follows:

  1. Establishing a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to allow for smooth student mobility across partner institutions that allows for credit transfer and recognition and tuition fee waivers at host institutions.

  2. Enable at least 64 advanced undergraduate and graduate student mobility experiences in interactive surface computing systems through scholarships for research internships at partner universities.

  3. Enable faculty interactions for dissemination of recent developments in interactive surface computing and for joint faculty research collaborations.

  4. Development of a specialized curriculum for interactive surface computing. Development of joint software framework to be used to support course projects in interactive surface computing courses and in joint research projects across faculty at partner institutions.

  5. Enabling the acquisition of intercultural competencies, the ability to work in an international team, and the establishment of social and research networks early in the students’ careers.

The basic language of instruction will be English. However, it is intended to also foster cultural exchange in terms of language skills. This will be supported by lecture and courses in the native language of the institution (i.e. also French and German).

General information and objectives

  1. Representatives from partner institutions will negotiate a consortium agreement to develop appropriate commitments and procedures that will enable advanced undergraduate and graduate student exchanges.

  2. Collectively design and implement a mechanism for student exchanges with active recruitment of outstanding students.

  3. Key program faculty will visit partner institutions for short durations to facilitate curriculum development, guest teaching, joint research projects, and dissemination of emerging research results.

  4. Discuss curriculum development, exchange course syllabi, teaching materials and methods, etc. among partner faculty, and discuss with students and industry partners to develop information, methods, and skills requirements for specialized course curriculum. Develop specialized course modules related to hardware, software, and interface design for interactive surface computing to be shared among partner institutions. Annual project workshops will be held in conjunction with the leading surface computing international confer-ence, ACM International Conference on Interactive Tabletops and Surfaces (ITS), to facilitate curriculum de-velopment and joint research collaborations. Annual attendance at the Program directors’ meeting will be used to assess course and curriculum development.

  5. Specialized course modules will be developed related to hardware, software, and interface design for interactive surface computing to be shared among partner institutions. Modules will be taught by some combination of home faculty, faculty from a partner institution, or co-taught by faculty in different partner institutions as part of a distributed, multi-institutional course, depending on demand.

Project activities

European Partners

Canadian Partners


At least 38 students from EU and 26 students from Canada (64 total) will stay for at least 4 months in Canada and EU respectively.

5-6 faculty exchanges are expected per year (2-3 from Canada, 2-3 from Europe), 16 faculty exchanges in total.

Faculty exchanges will be 1-1.5 weeks in duration.