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EFF acknowledges UW CSE’s Franzi Roesner for contributions to “Privacy Badger”

bfThe Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) has released a beta version of Privacy Badger, a browser extension for Firefox and Chrome that detects and blocks online advertising and other embedded content that tracks you without your permission.

Privacy Badger includes UW CSE’s ShareMeNot, a browser extension that prevents third-party buttons (such as Facebook’s “Like” or Twitter’s “tweet” button) from tracking you, while still allowing you to use them.

UW CSE’s Franzi Roesner is acknowledged in the EFF press release “for exceptional work in enhancing Privacy Badger’s widget-handling algorithms.”  (Franzi completed her Ph.D. at UW earlier this summer and will join our faculty in the fall.)

Read more here.

July 22, 2014

UW CSE @ CRA Conference at Snowbird

Maria2When Harvey Mudd College president Maria Klawe needed to demonstrate how to handle a know-it-all male student during her Tuesday keynote “Broadening the Computing Research Community” at the Computing Research Association’s semi-annual Conference at Snowbird (a gathering of the leaders of North America’s Ph.D.-granting academic programs, industry labs, and government labs in computing), who’d she pick as her victim?  UW CSE’s Ed Lazowska.

UW CSE was highlighted multiple times during the meeting: by Peter Swire (Georgia Institute of Technology) in his Monday keynote “A Policy Wonk’s Plea for More and Better Policy Research and Engagement from Computer Scientists” for CSE’s leadership in advocacy for the field and advocacy for broadening the field; in the session “The Growing Enrollments in Computing Courses” led by Jim Kurose (University of Massachusetts, Amherst) and Ed; in Maria’s keynote for CSE’s leadership in gender diversity; in a panel on “Refining the Computer Science Postdoc Experience” that included CSE’s Gaetano Borriello; and in a panel on “CS Research on MOOCs and Online Education” where Marti Hearst (UC Berkeley) highlighted work by CSE’s Zoran Popovic and his Center for Game Science.

UW CSE’s Snowbird attendees included Gaetano Borriello, Dan Grossman, Ed Lazowska, and Hank Levy.

Our Ph.D. alums were also well represented:  Anne Condon (Head of the Department of Computer Science at the University of British Columbia), Janet Davis (professor at Grinnell College), Soha Hassoun (Chair of the Department of Computer Science at Tufts University), Kevin Jeffay (Chair of the Department of Computer Science at the University of North Carolina), and Thu Nguyen (Associate Chair of the Department of Computer Science at Rutgers University). Plus adjunct professor Batya Friedman (UW Information School), affiliate professor Eric Horvitz (Managing Director of Microsoft Research Redmond), and former faculty member Ken Sloan (Chair of the Department of Computer and Information Sciences at the University of Alabama at Birmingham).

July 22, 2014

NY Times: “Microsoft’s Top Lawyer Is the Tech World’s Envoy”

21MicrosoftSUB2-master675A wonderful New York Times profile of Brad Smith, Microsoft’s general counsel:

“Mr. Smith is one of the most influential voices inside Microsoft …

“But Mr. Smith’s weight extends to the wider tech industry as well, partly because of his understanding of Washington. Mr. Smith worked for years as a lawyer there before moving to Microsoft’s headquarters here outside Seattle. While much of the tech industry looks upon government with a strong sense of skepticism, if not disdain, he has cultivated relationships there for years.

“‘He brings a much more Washington sensibility to the West Coast than many of his peers,’ said Anne-Marie Slaughter, a former State Department official who now runs the New America Foundation and attended Princeton University with Mr. Smith. ‘He recognizes the necessity of government engagement’ …

“Ed Lazowska, a professor of computer science at the University of Washington, said Mr. Smith has also used his bully pulpit at Microsoft to advocate investments in education and changes in immigration policy, both important issues for Microsoft and the technology industry.

“‘There are very few people for whom I have as much admiration,’ Mr. Lazowska wrote in email. ‘Imagine me saying this about a lawyer!’”

Read the New York Times profile here.

July 20, 2014

“The Creative Mind”: Conversations with Brown University computer scientists Andy van Dam and Chad Jenkins

AvDBrown University has produced video interviews with one dozen of its leading faculty members in a series titled “The Creative Mind.”  Included in the series are computer science faculty members Andy van Dam – who mentored UW CSE faculty members Ed Lazowska, David Notkin, Zoran Popovic, David Salesin (now at Adobe), and John Zahorjan, plus countless UW CSE graduate students, as undergraduates – and Chad Jenkins.

The full set of interviews is here.  Andy’s interview is here.  Chad’s interview is here.

July 20, 2014

Bellingham Herald and The Olympian: “Expand, don’t dilute, UW medical school”

workforce.gapThe Bellingham Herald and The Olympian, in identical editorials, argue persuasively that the most cost-effective way to expand medical education in the Pacific Northwest is to grow the University of Washington’s now-43-year-old WWAMI program, rather than spending $150M to create a new medical school at Washington State University.

“It was a revolutionary concept in 1971 when the University of Washington School of Medicine pioneered the nation’s first collaborative medical school with the University of Alaska and Washington State University. The goal was to expand UW’s world-class medical school to train new doctors in hospitals and clinics located throughout the two states.

“The concept was ‘way ahead of its time,’ according to former state senator Lisa Brown from Spokane in an article she co-wrote last year. The cost-effective medical school is known today as WWAMI, an acronym for the five-state region it serves – Montana and Idaho joined in 1972 and Wyoming in 1996 …

“WWAMI has been rated No. 1 in the nation for primary care medical education for the past 22 years. It also ranks No. 1 in family medicine and rural medicine. And it achieves those results at about a third of the national average in cost per student …

“Washington State University has commissioned a $250,000 feasibility study for a new medical school due later this summer. No doubt it will show a positive economic impact for Spokane. But is that a persuasive reason to spend the state’s limited tax dollars?

“Wouldn’t it make more sense to invest in expanding the WWAMI enrollments, if and when the Legislature can fund them?”

The need for common sense approaches is particularly acute given the judicial mandate for increased investment in K-12 education, and the fact that computer science – and engineering more broadly – exhibits a severe workforce shortage in our state, coupled with extraordinary unmet student demand.

Let’s spend our precious education dollars where we get the greatest bang for the buck!

Read the Bellingham Herald editorial here.  Read The Olympian editorial here.  Learn the facts about our state’s workforce gap – and the unmet student demand – here.

Read more here: http://www.bellinghamherald.com/2014/07/20/3753610/expand-dont-diluteuw-medical.html#storylink=cpyThe
Read more here: http://www.bellinghamherald.com/2014/07/20/3753610/expand-dont-dilute-uw-medical.html#storylink=cpy
Read more here: http://www.bellinghamherald.com/2014/07/20/3753610/expand-dont-dilute-uw-medical.html#storylink=cpy
Read more here: http://www.bellinghamherald.com/2014/07/20/3753610/expand-dont-dilute-uw-medical.html#storylink=cpy
WWAMI has been rated No. 1 in the nation for primary care medical education for the past 22 years. It also ranks No. 1 in family medicine and rural medicine. And it achieves those results at about a third of the national average in cost per student.
Read more here: http://www.bellinghamherald.com/2014/07/20/3753610/expand-dont-dilute-uw-medical.html#storylin

July 20, 2014

Bloomberg interviews Ed Lazowska, Matt McIlwain, others, on Microsoft job cuts

matt.edBloomberg interviewed UW CSE’s Ed Lazowska, Madrona Venture Group’s Matt McIlwain, and others regarding the impact of Microsoft’s job cuts on the Puget Sound region.

‘”We all have effectively an infinite number of open positions for software developers, program managers,’ said Spencer Rascoff, chief executive officer of Zillow …

“‘I guarantee you Microsoft is going to keep hiring like crazy,’ said Ed Lazowska, Bill & Melinda Gates Chair in Computer Science & Engineering at the University of Washington in Seattle. ‘They’re just going to shift their focus.’”

Read more, and watch the interviews, here.

July 19, 2014

Noah Smith joins UW CSE, helping to create a world-class NLP group at UW

Noahwork-2011Noah Smith, an expert in natural language processing (NLP) and computational social science, will join UW CSE next year. He is currently Finmeccania Associate Professor in the School of Computer Science, Language Technologies Institute, at Carnegie Mellon University.

Noah is widely regarded as a leading researcher in NLP, known for significant contributions in both core algorithms and innovative applications. His honors include a Best Paper Award from the Association for Computational Linguistics for work in syntactic parsing and a Five-Year Award from the Workshop on Statistical Machine Translation for his work on feature-rich machine translation. He is also leading the way in bridging NLP and social science with his recent efforts to, for example, use Twitter posts to model geographic variation in word usage, predict public opinion without polling, and automatically measure consumer confidence.

Noah received his Ph.D. in Computer Science from Johns Hopkins University in 2006, and B.S. and B.A. degrees in Computer Science and Linguistics, respectively, from the University of Maryland in 2001.

Noah joins CSE along with Yejin Choi, currently a faculty member at SUNY Stony Brook and also an expert in natural language processing (more details here).   The addition of Noah and Yejin to Luke Zettlemoyer and others already on campus creates a world-class NLP group at the University of Washington.

Welcome Noah!

July 17, 2014

UW CSE featured: “Some Universities Crack Code in Drawing Women to Computer Science”


“From left, Camille Birch and Robby Blood during a computer programming course at the University of Washington in Seattle on Wednesday. Women at the university earned 30 percent of the computer science degrees this year, well above the national average.”

The New York Times reports:

“One of the reasons so few women work in tech is that few choose to study computer science or engineering. Only 18 percent of computer science graduates in the United States are women, down from 37 percent in 1985.

“At a few top college programs, though, that appears to be changing.

“At Carnegie Mellon University, 40 percent of incoming freshmen to the School of Computer Science are women, the largest group ever. At the University of Washington, another technology powerhouse, women earned 30 percent of computer science degrees this year. At Harvey Mudd College, 40 percent of computer science majors are women, and this year, women represented more than half of the engineering graduates for the first time.

Slide1“These examples provide a road map for how colleges can help produce a more diverse group of computer science graduates.”

What are we doing in UW CSE?  Read about it here.

What impact is this having?  We have a long way to go, but we are graduating Bachelors women at a rate more than twice that of other research-intensive universities – see the figure to the right.

Interest in computer science is booming among all students.  See the data here.

Learn about DawgBytes, our extensive K-12 outreach program, here.

And read today’s New York Times article here.

(The New York Times story is also linked from the Seattle Times “Education Lab Blog,” which states “The University of Washington is one of a few colleges leading the way in an effort to get more female students interested in studying computer science.”)

July 17, 2014

CS4HS 2014: Supporting K-12 teachers

IMG_3224This is the 8th year of CS4HS, a computer science summer workshop for middle school and high school teachers of STEM subjects.

CS4HS is sponsored by Google.  The program was initiated by UW, Carnegie Mellon, and UCLA in 2007, and in recent years has had more than 100 participating universities.

60 teachers are joining us this week for 3 days of intensive exposure to computer science and “computational thinking” led by UW CSE faculty, staff, and friends.

Learn about CS4HS here.  Learn about DawgBytes, UW CSE’s many-dimensioned K-12 outreach program, here.

July 16, 2014

U.S. Representative Derek Kilmer: “How America can produce the next Bill Gates”

DK-blue-headshot-CopyA phenomenal essay by U.S. Representative Derek Kilmer from Washington’s 6th District:

“America must play for keeps in this increasingly competitive environment. If we’re going to have any chance at keeping up, we absolutely have to make research and development a top priority.”

Read it!  It’s worth your time.  It’s here.

July 16, 2014

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