The Meeting of Industry, Scientific Minds

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

In working to develop a mobile app intended to draw interest in horse racing among a younger population, Carlos Sanchez began surveying his friends.

Sanchez, a University of Arizona student in the School of Information: Science, Technology, and Arts, or SISTA, found that his friends knew little to nothing about the industry, the rules of racing or the terminology used, making quite obvious what has been considered one of the greatest challenges the aging industry is facing.

But Sanchez and others who enrolled in ISTA/RTIP 497A, commonly known as "Building Apps for the Racing Industry," at the UA had both a plan and a mechanism to try and help solve some of the greatest challenges facing the race track industry.

A joint effort between SISTA and the UA's Race Track Industry Program, the interdisciplinary, action-oriented course involves students from both disciplines in projects meant to find technology-based solutions to the challenges.

The class culminates with students presenting their ideas to those in the industry during the 2012 Global Symposium on Racing & Gaming, which will be held Dec. 3-6 in Tucson.

"One of the biggest complaints in racing is that there needs to be younger people interested and participating," said Wendy Davis, a lecturer in the UA's animal science department, which houses the racing program, known as RTIP.

"Even for those people who love stats, it is hard to figure out how to make the stats work," Davis said. "But this generation understands technology, so we are using that format to find solutions."

If fact, the most ardent followers either grew up watching and attending races or were directly encouraged by friends to take an interest in racing, much like a mentor, Davis said.

Under a collaboration between the UA's Race Track Industry Program and SISTA, students have been developing Web-based and mobile applications to try and generate interest in racing among younger demographics.

Read more from this November 27 UANews article at the link below.

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