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Nova Barlow of UW CSE’s Center for Game Science delivers straight talk on community management at GDC

Nova Barlow

Photo credit: J. Hayter

Next week, tens of thousands of interactive game industry professionals will converge on San Francisco for the annual Game Developers Conference® (GDC) – the world’s largest and longest-running event of its kind – for five days of lectures, roundtable discussions, tutorials, and celebrations of all things game-related. Among them will be Nova Barlow, community manager at UW CSE’s Center for Game Science, who is leading a panel of industry veterans in some straight talk about community management.

Noting that “community management is no longer a quiet job behind the scenes,” the organizers are staging the first-ever Community Management Summit and devoting an entire day to this aspect of the game industry. Nova’s panel will discuss the history and challenges of community management and identify ways to transition this increasingly popular role from stepping-stone job to viable career path.

“I was encouraged by my co-workers at the Center for Game Science to submit the idea for the panel – a topic I’ve been kicking about in my own head for a while – to the GDC organizers,” said Nova. “I’m looking forward to contributing to the conference and being able to draw upon the experience of my fellow panelists.”

The Game Developers Conference® is March 2-6.

Learn more about Nova’s GDC session here.

Check out the latest news from the Center for Game Science here.

February 27, 2015

SRO for UW CSE Ph.D. alum and Google Senior Fellow Jeff Dean

IMG_4755 copyThe fire marshal was blessedly AWOL for today’s UW CSE Distinguished Lecture featuring 1996 Ph.D. alum Jeff Dean, “Large-Scale Deep Learning For Building Intelligent Computer Systems.”

JeffJeff joined Google in 1999 and is currently a Google Senior Fellow in Google’s Knowledge Group, where he leads Google’s deep learning research team in Mountain View. He has co-designed/implemented five generations of Google’s crawling, indexing, and query serving systems, and co-designed/implemented major pieces of Google’s initial advertising and AdSense for Content systems. He is also a co-designer and co-implementor of Google’s distributed computing infrastructure, including the MapReduce, BigTable and Spanner systems, protocol buffers, LevelDB, systems infrastructure for statistical machine translation, and a variety of internal and external libraries and developer tools. He is currently working on large-scale distributed systems for machine learning. Jeff is a Fellow of the ACM, a Fellow of the AAAS, a member of the U.S. National Academy of Engineering, and a recipient of the Mark Weiser Award and the ACM-Infosys Foundation Award in the Computing Sciences.

February 26, 2015

UW CSE: Reaching more students than ever and expanding opportunities for women in computer science

14x growth in introductory course enrollment at UW CSEHere at UW CSE, we are experiencing record interest in our undergraduate major and record enrollments in our introductory courses. This explosion of interest is happening across the country, but UW is doing particularly well among a key demographic underrepresented in the field: women.

When principal lecturer Stuart Reges attended a recent meeting organized by the National Center for Women & Information Technology, he talked about the tremendous growth of student interest in computer science. He shared UW CSE’s enrollment data to illustrate his point: around 2,800 students per year enroll in our first intro course – representing nearly half of the freshman class – and around 1,800 students per year in our second course. These two courses alone account for about 1.6 percent of all undergraduate student units taught on UW’s Seattle campus.

Building on what is already a good-news story, UW CSE is also seeing record percentages of women taking our introductory courses and pursuing our undergraduate major. The 2013-14 Taulbee Survey found that, nationally, less than 15 percent of undergraduate computer science degrees were granted to women.  At the UW, 30% of bachelors degrees in the most recent year were granted to women. And we expect this trend to continue: In our first intro course (CSE142), the class is currently 35% women.

A key element of our success has been our undergraduate TA program. CSE has 83 undergraduate TAs helping us to teach the 1,800 students currently enrolled currently in CSE142. Thirty-nine of those TAs are women; at 47 percent, this is the highest concentration of women we have seen in the last 10 years. Seeing young women a year ahead thriving in the field provides the best possible encouragement!

There is more work to be done, but we are proud of the way our commitment to diversity in computer science is helping us to lead the nation in engaging more women in the field!

View our video about the explosive growth in student participation in CSE’s intro courses here.

Learn more about the steps UW CSE is taking to broaden participation in the field here.

February 26, 2015

Seattle Business: “Seattle area tech leaders ask state to allocate money for a new computer science building”

20070405_uwcse_001Seattle Business writes:

A who’s who of 23 Seattle area leaders including executives from F5, Facebook, Google, Amazon, Microsoft, Redfin, Concur, Zillow and Apptio sent a letter today to the Washington State Legislature in support of a $40 million capital appropriation for a downpayment on a second building for UW’s department of  Computer Science and Engineering. The remainder of the money required to build the $110 million, 130,000 square-foot building would come from private sources.

“Ed Lazowska, the Bill & Melinda Gates Chair in Computer Science & Engineering, who played a key role in raising money for the existing Paul G. Allen Center for Computers Science & Engineering, is optimistic about UW’s prospects for raising private funds to supplement the state money for the second building. In the case of the Allen Center, completed in 2003, Lazowska says, the school received 200 gifts including three gifts of more than $5 million each, seven gifts of $1 million, and dozens of gifts of $100,000 or more.”

Read more here.

February 25, 2015

GeekWire: “Tech leaders lobby for $40M in state funding for new UW computer science building”

20070405_uwcse_001GeekWire writes:

“A group of 23 technology leaders in Washington state – including representatives of Microsoft, Amazon, Facebook, Google and other tech giants – are asking the state Legislature to approve $40 million in capital spending to help fund a new, $110 million University of Washington computer science building.

“The second building, proposed last fall, would allow for a doubling of enrollment in the University of Washington Computer Science & Engineering program. The department granted 315 degrees in June, its largest class ever, but the program is at capacity and was able to accept less than a third of the undergrads who applied in the last admissions period.”

Read more here.

February 25, 2015

Seattle Times: “Tech leaders urge state to help pay for new UW computer science building”

20070405_uwcse_001The Seattle Times writes:

“Microsoft, Amazon, Google, Facebook, Zillow: A who’s-who of tech company leaders have written a letter urging the Washington Legislature to fund $40 million of the $110 million cost for building a new computer science and engineering building on the University of Washington campus.”

“The UW’s fast-growing computer science department has already run out of room in its 11-year-old building, the Paul G. Allen Center for Computer Science & Engineering. Securing the money to build a second building is one of the university’s priorities for the current legislative session, said provost and soon-to-be interim president Ana Mari Cauce during a campus-wide meeting Tuesday.”

Read more here.

February 25, 2015

23 WA technology leaders line up in support of expanded facilities for UW CSE

signaturesToday, 23 leaders from the State of Washington – from Alberg to Zapolsky … Amazon to Zillow – sent a letter to the Washington State Legislature supporting a $40 million capital appropriation to partially fund a second building for UW CSE, which will accommodate a doubling of our enrollment. (The project is expected to cost $110 million; the remainder will be raised privately.)

The leaders wrote:

“We are writing to express our collective support of the University of Washington’s request for $40 million in the FY 2015-17 state capital budget for the construction of a 130,000 square-foot Computer Science & Engineering building.

“Our region’s computer science community has fast become one of the leading areas for growth and innovation in the country. Home to the world’s largest software company, online retailer, and online travel company, our stellar pool of talent is charting new territory in mobile technology, enterprise software, cloud computing, interactive media and cyber security. The University of Washington is a huge engine for this industry, home to one of the top ten programs
in the nation …

“Please help us make sure Washington state continues to maintain its place at the forefront of the computer science industry and sets a strong base for future growth by ensuring UW can continue to produce the graduates we need …”

Profuse thanks to our friends for this support!

The Puget Sound region is literally the software capital of the world: more Software Developers (Systems + Applications) are located here, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, than in the San Francisco Bay Area.  Computer Science is also the field with by far the greatest gap in our state between “jobs available” and “degrees granted.”  UW Computer Science & Engineering is by far the leading program in the state at preparing Washington’s students for these great Washington jobs.

A few items that may be of interest:

Washington’s top students deserve the opportunity to become prepared for Washington’s top jobs!

February 24, 2015

UW CSE alum Ben Hindman offers advice on career and life as part of Leadership Seminar Series

Ben Hindman at the UW CSE Leadership Seminar SeriesToday, UW CSE alum Ben Hindman (B.S. ’07), co-founder of data center operating system startup Mesosphere, offered current CSE undergrads advice on what to do when your path diverges from your plan, as part of our Leadership Seminar Series.

Among Ben’s top tips for students approaching life after CSE: “always be learning” (great advice regardless of what one does after graduation), and “love your co-workers” (emphasizing the importance of picking one’s partners, employees and investors carefully).

Ben’s first stop after earning his undergraduate degree at UW CSE was a brief stint at Google, followed by graduate school at UC Berkeley, where he co-created the Mesos data center kernel as an open source project. Twitter was among the companies that adopted Mesos to better manage resources in running their data center applications, enticing Ben away from academia in the process. Upon leaving Twitter three years later, instead of resuming his studies, Ben decided to go the entrepreneurial route by starting Mesosphere – a venture-backed company that recently surpassed 50 employees.

Ben was generous with his advice and candid about what daily life is like as a start-up executive. When asked about fundraising, Ben urged budding entrepreneurs to make sure they can articulate a compelling story about where the company came from and where it is going, calling it “the most important part of the pitch deck.” He also noted that team can trump technology, and both culture and communication are critical for building a successful company.

Ben closed by noting that in both life and business, there is only a handful of truly important decisions that one has to make along the way. “Figure out those questions,” he said, “and you will know what to focus on.”

Read our previous post on Ben here.

February 24, 2015

Seattle Times: “Higher ed is getting a smaller slice of the budget pie”

washingtonstate-spending-c-1020x557 copyKatherine Long writes in the Seattle Times:

“Thirty-five years ago, higher education received 16 percent of the budget …  In the last biennium, it received only 9 percent of the budget …”

Read more here. And note overwhelming voter support for increased investment in computer science education here.

February 24, 2015

UW CSE Ph.D. alum Tessa Lau: One of “50 Women in Tech Dominating Silicon Valley”

3d9e2caTech.Co has “scoured Silicon Valley for 50 women in tech who are empowering all of us to never stop chasing our dreams.”

Number 23 on the list is UW CSE Ph.D. alum Tessa Lau, “cofounder and Chief Robot Whisperer, Savioke. Lau’s passion is building systems that improve people’s lives. Her background in machine learning enables her to understand what roboticists are saying, while her expertise in human-computer interaction drives her to understand people’s needs and build user-focused systems that address those needs. Her goal at Savioke is to guide the development of robots that will revolutionize the service industry.”

See the full list here.

February 24, 2015

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