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UW CSE News

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”

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“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

Seattle Times on UW CSE’s Center for Game Science and non-profit educational startup Enlearn

enlearn“Educators have been struggling for decades to resolve a fundamental problem: Students who are in the same grade because of age often vary greatly in skills, abilities and experiences, even on the first day of kindergarten.

“Teachers are told to differentiate their instruction so that each student gets what she needs ­ a good idea in theory, but hard to pull off in a real classroom …

“That’s the big puzzle that University of Washington computer science professor Zoran Popović hopes to solve with insights gained over the last five years of developing computer learning games that adapt to the skills of individual players so they progress more efficiently toward mastery.

“Popović directs the university’s Center for Game Science.

“He also is the founder and chief scientist at Enlearn (a contraction of “engaged learning”), a not-for-profit organization started with money from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.”

Read the article here.

July 15, 2014

Remembering Brett Helsel

111H5BrettBrett Helsel, a friend of UW CSE for nearly 30 years, died last week at age 54 after suffering a cardiac arrest while paddle boarding on Lake Washington.

Brett is best known for leading the engineering teams at Seattle’s F5 Networks (1998-2003) and Isilon Systems (2008-2012). His history with UW CSE, though, goes back to the late 1980s, when he was an engineer with Digital Equipment Corporation. Working with UW CSE’s Ed Lazowska, Brett arranged for DEC to donate equipment to 8 of UW’s top junior faculty members in a wide range of scientific disciplines, making it possible for them to collect their National Science Foundation Presidential Young Investigator Awards, which required an industrial match.

Brett’s memorial service will be held on July 24th at 2 p.m. at the University Presbyterian Church in Seattle’s University District.

Read about Brett in GeekWire here.

July 15, 2014

CSE startup GraphLab to release GraphLab Create

GLlogo_FU_STACKED_300GraphLab, a Seattle-based startup launched in 2013 by UW CSE professor Carlos Guestrin and backed by our friends at Madrona Venture Group, is releasing next week its first commercial software, called GraphLab Create.

Guestrin says that the goal of Create is to help savvy engineers or data scientists take their machine learning projects from idea to production. It includes modules for building certain types of popular workloads, including recommendation engines, graph analysis and clustering and regression algorithms.

Read more in Gigaom here.  Learn about GraphLab here.  Learn about Guestrin’s research program here.

July 15, 2014

Alumni startup Captricity raises $10M Series B round

imagesCaptricity Inc., a Berkeley, CA-based SaaS firm that gives enterprise customers fast and easy access to high quality data, today announced a $10 million Series B round of financing led by Atlas Venture, with Social+Capital also participating.

Captricity was founded by Kuang Chen, whose Ph.D. research in Tanzania and Uganda revealed the need to transform paper-based documents into digital data to improve organizations’ efficiency and service.  Kuang is a UW CSE Bachelors alum, and completed his Berkeley Ph.D. working with UW CSE Ph.D. alum Tapan Parikh and fellow Berkeley faculty member Joe Hellerstein.

Read more here.  Learn about Captricity here.

July 15, 2014

Mirabile dictu! Computer Science is part of STEM!

imagesMost of the intellectual excitement in STEM is in Computer Science.

Most of the jobs in STEM are in Computer Science.

Most of the student interest in STEM is in Computer Science.

Unfortunately, the chemists, physicists, biologists, and astronomers are partial to the STEM status quo of 100 years ago.  But today, thanks to the U.S. House of Representatives, Computer Science is officially part of STEM.  By voice vote, the House passed HR 5031, the STEM Education Act of 2014, “To define STEM education to include computer science.”

Kowabonga!

July 14, 2014

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