School Director Honorary Speaker at Convocation

Dr. Selim G. Akl, Professor and Director of the Queen’s School of Computing, was the Honorary Speaker at the Queen’s University Convocation Ceremony on Thursday morning, June 11, 2015. Dr. Akl addressed the graduands from Anatomy & Cell Biology, Biochemistry, Kinesiology & Health Studies, Medicine, Microbiology & Immunology, Pathology, Pediatrics, Pharmacology & Toxicology, and Physiology. Some excerpts from Dr. Akl’s speech follow.

“I am a Computing Scientist and my message to you this morning is that our two disciplines, yours, the science of life, and mine, the science of computation, these two seemingly different occupations, indeed share a strong common thread. This unifying thread is information. Health scientists collect and study information at different conceptual levels, from the molecular and the cellular, to complex organisms such as humans. Computing scientists specialize in algorithmic information processing; we build computational models as abstractions of the world around us. Together, we can accomplish a great deal, both in the creation of knowledge and in the application of this knowledge to the service of humanity.”

“Together, the health scientists and the computing scientists are creating what we believe is the future of health care. A future of which you will be the main architects.”

“Ultimately, we shall be able to model the behavior of a living cell as an algorithm. In this way, a cell with a disease can be viewed as a computer program with an error. Correct the error and you cure the cell. This is a lofty goal in itself, but you can aim for much better. Strive for a day in which health care will mean more than caring for the sick. Build a future in which health care is primarily and effectively about disease prevention. You can do it. I trust you fully.”

Here is a link to a video of Dr. Akl’s speech:

Photos by Dave Dove.

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