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By high-altitude diving, Zac means deep water dives into bodies at high altitudes, like in the Himalayas. A passionate environmentalist, he had been learning about the effects of global warming on glaciers—melting them into deep, unstable water bodies that can wash away communities below them.

Conducting dives in these waters, Zac, and colleagues at his company, Vanguard, can gain a better understanding of the dangers of melting glaciers and share the information locally to help detect and prevent disasters.

“I understand the magnitude of what we are facing as a species,” say Zac. “If a commercial diver can figure out how to do something about climate change on top of the world, I would hope that might serve as inspiration for others to see what they can do in their backyards.”

Bradly Hoover, a Computer Programming and Analysis graduate, now Software Development degree student, is also having a global impact, thanks to his interest in video gaming processors.

His work with a program called Travel, has helped to speed up calculations being done at CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research, in Switzerland. These calculations are used in CERN’s linear accelerators to smash atoms into elementary particles.

“The accelerators take beams of particles of lead or gold and spins them around at 99.99 per cent the speed of light,” explains Bradly. “It then smashes them together, and, from the results, scientists can simulate conditions around the time of the Big Bang.”

This project developed when Bradly expressed a desire to try writing programming for high performance graphics processing units. Professor Chris Szalwinski reached out to a contact at CERN, and Bradly was in. The result was performance that was 72 times faster in certain instances; what used to take months could now be accomplished in days.

During his studies, Bradly has been teaching as well. He wants to provide his students the kinds of opportunities Chris made possible for him.

Bradly Hoover’s groundbreaking work at CERN began with a professor’s connection.

Ali Al Dallal came to Seneca via Iraq and Thailand and began his career at Mozilla with a co-op placement.

“If a student comes to me and says, ‘I’m really interested in this,’ then I am going to find all the information I possibly can, and guide them to where they want to go,” says Bradly.

Another Seneca grad interested in using computers for good was inspired by his fascination with Apple products, much to the chagrin of Silicon Valley.

Ali Al Dallal, who was born in Iraq, grew up in Thailand and found his way to Seneca’s Computer Sciences program, because he was, a self-proclaimed “Apple fan-boy.” He was always developing new software to hack his phone, and he’d blog about Apple’s new initiatives in Thai. Apple wasn’t impressed.

“I had 30,000 followers on Facebook at the time,” says Ali. “People followed me because they didn’t understand English, and they loved Apple stuff. But Apple shut me down. They thought that I was stealing their business.”

Ali has since turned his attention to bringing the Internet to people in remote regions, through his work with the Mozilla Foundation and now with Scotiabank. His experience with Mozilla started with a Seneca co-op placement. Now Ali works on developing infrastructure for people around the world to access the Internet in their own languages, and within appropriate cultural context—a process known as “localization.” It’s not just Ali’s computer skills that make him a perfect fit for this kind of work.

“My multicultural background allows me to understand how things work within different communities,” says Ali. “Localization isn’t just translating words. You still have to understand the culture.”

So whether it’s a commercial diver tackling climate change in the Himalayas, a computer programmer who applies gaming theory to improve understanding about the universe, or a hacker working to localize the Internet, Seneca graduates are lending their talents and passions—and technology—to evoke positive change.

“My multicultural background allows me to understand how things work within different communities.”

32 RED 2016