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Gaetano Borriello Feet on the Ground Humanitarian Symposium


Eric Brewer

IEEE award

Melissa Westbrook and Jim Jeffries


John Bennett


Ed Lazowska


Richard Anderson, Carl Hartung, Sam Sudar, Waylon Brunette, and Nicola Dell

UNESCO award

Melissa Westbrook and Sheree Wen

Saturday marked the Gaetano Borriello Feet on the Ground Humanitarian Symposium, held in conjunction with the IEEE Global Humanitarian Technology Conference (GHTC 2015).

Following an introduction by Ed Lazowska, awards commemorating Gaetano’s achievements were presented to his wife Melissa by IEEE USA President Jim Jeffries and by UNESCO United States National Commissioner Sheree Wen. Eric Brewer (UC Berkeley) and John Bennett (University of Colorado), leaders in ICTD, presented keynotes. Richard Anderson, organizer of the symposium, chaired a panel that included Gaetano’s students Waylon Brunette, Nicola Dell, Carl Hartung, and Sam Sudar. The symposium concluded with technical presentations by Lorenzo Violante Ruiz (International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies), Kiersten Israel-Ballard (PATH), Roy Want (Google) Heather Underwood (University of Colorado), and David Thau (Google).

The symposium was a wonderful way to commemorate Gaetano’s extraordinary leadership in developing and deploying appropriate technologies to improve the lives of the under-served throughout the world.

Videos of the talks will be available soon.

October 11, 2015

“The Master Algorithm” reaches #7!

wapoPedro Domingos’ popular book about machine learning, The Master Algorithm: How the Quest for the Ultimate Learning Machine will Remake our World, is #7 on the Washington Post‘s best seller list!

Watch out, The Martian – can a feature film be far behind?

Late to the party? Buy it from Amazon here!

And check out Pedro on the big screen, here and here.

October 10, 2015

UW spinout SNUPI and Sears make a deal for WallyHome technology

Shwetak Patel

Shwetak Patel

SNUPI Technologies, the startup resulting from the research of  UW CSE and EE professors Shwetak Patel and Matt Reynolds and graduate student Gabe Cohn, and led by serial entrepreneur (and UW CSE alum) Jeremy Jaech, has sold its WallyHome sensing technology to Sears. SNUPI, which stands for “Sensor Network Utilizing Powerline Infrastructure,” also plans to license related technology to the company and to consult on the development of future products. As part of the deal, Sears announced it is opening an engineering office in Seattle — on the UW campus.

From the GeekWire article:

“The deal gives Sears technology that can sense changes in moisture, temperature and humidity — alerting property owners to water leaks and other potential problems. The technology promises to bolster the company’s lineup of Connected Solutions smart home devices.


Matt Reynolds

“As part of the acquisition, Sears will also assume a 10,000-square-foot lease on the University of Washington campus, where the retail and home services giant will operate a new tech development center….”

“Patel, who sold a previous startup to Belkin, said in a statement that the deal with Sears ‘further amplifies the University of Washington’s leadership in the research and commercialization of IoT solutions.’ ”

This is the second corporate engineering office located in Seattle as a result of Patel’s research: a year ago Belkin located the headquarters of its WeMo home automation division in Seattle after acquiring Patel’s earlier startup Zensi.

Jeremy Jaech

Jeremy Jaech

Read the full article here.

October 8, 2015

Artificial intelligence researchers invited to take the Allen AI Science Challenge

AI2 logoPaul G. Allen, founder of the Allen Institute for Artificial Intelligence (AI2), aims to spur the development of artificial intelligence that can understand and answer general questions about the world. Today, AI2 CEO (and UW CSE professor) Oren Etzioni announced the creation of the Allen AI Science Challenge – inviting academic and industry researchers to demonstrate that their AI system can outperform all others on an 8th grade multiple choice science test.

“IBM has announced that Watson is ‘going to college’ and ‘diagnosing patients’…But before college and medical school — let’s make sure Watson can ace the 8 th grade science test. We challenge Watson, and all other interested parties — take the Allen AI Science Challenge,” Etzioni said in the press release announcing the competition.

The institute has partnered with Kaggle, an online community of data scientists that holds competitions to encourage the solution of complex data science problems, to administer the challenge. In addition to gaining serious cred in the computing community, competitors have a shot at a top prize of $50,000 for the AI system that answers the most questions correctly, with second and third prizes of $20,000 and $10,000, respectively. AI2 will announce the winners next February at the AAAI 2016 conference in Phoenix, Arizona.

Learn more and enter the competition here. Read the GeekWire article about the announcement here. Check out the recent breakthrough in AI research by AI2 and UW – which tested an AI system’s ability to solve SAT math questions – here.

October 8, 2015

UW CSE’s Tom Anderson recognized with ACM SIGOPS “Hall of Fame” Award

tomA number of major technical conferences have introduced “Test of Time” awards recognizing research papers that have had the greatest impact with the benefit of (typically) ten or more years of hindsight.

The “ACM SIGOPS Hall of Fame” is the “Test of Time” award for the operating systems community.

At this week’s ACM Symposium on Operating Systems Principles, UW CSE professor Tom Anderson’s 1993 ACM SOSP paper “Efficient Software-Based Fault Isolation” – co-authored with Robert Wahbe, Steve Lucco, and Susan Graham when Tom was on the faculty at UC Berkeley – was inducted into the ACM SIGOPS Hall of Fame. The citation reads:

This paper demonstrated that compiler or code-rewriting techniques could isolate untrusted code modules, preventing them from writing or jumping to addresses outside their “fault domain,” without the overhead of crossing hardware-enforced address space boundaries, and without much increase in execution time of code within a domain. The paper inspired substantial subsequent research, and the basic techniques have been implemented in widely-deployed software, such as Web browsers.

(We also note with pride that two other papers inducted this week to the ACM SIGOPS Hall of Fame were co-authored by UW CSE Ph.D. alums: “The Google File System” from the 2003 SOSP, co-authored by Shun-Tak Leung, and “MapReduce: Simplified Data Processing on Large Clusters” co-authored by Jeff Dean.)

UW CSE faculty and students have an extraordinary record of “Award Paper” and “Test of Time” recognition at the leading networking and operating systems conferences:

Award Papers

ACM Symposium on Operating Systems Principles (SOSP): 1979, 1985, 1987, 1989, 1991, 1995, 1997, 1999, 2003

ACM Special Interest Group on Communications and Computer Networks Conference (SIGCOMM): 1993, 2002 (Student Paper), 2008, 2011, 2013, 2015 (Student Paper)

USENIX Symposium on Operating Systems Design and Implementation (OSDI): 2002 (Student Paper), 2004, 2014

USENIX Symposium on Networked Systems Design and Implementation (NSDI): 2007 (Student Paper), 2008, 2010, 2013, 2015

Test of Time Awards

ACM SIGOPS Hall of Fame: 2009 (for a 1985 paper),2015 (for Tom’s 1993 paper)

ACM Special Interest Group on Communications and Computer Networks Conference (SIGCOMM) Test of Time Award: 2014 (for a 2002 paper)

October 7, 2015

UW CSE Ph.D. alumna A.J. Brush of Microsoft Research to lead CRA-W virtual town hall

AJ BrushUW CSE alumna A.J. Brush (Ph.D., ’02) is kicking off the CRA-W’s new series of virtual undergraduate town halls on Thursday, October 8th at 2:00 pm with a talk on inventing technology for homes and families.

The CRA-W virtual town hall series offers undergraduate students an opportunity to interact with leading women in the field of computing and get answers to their questions on topics ranging from how to get involved in undergraduate research, to professional development, to how to prepare for graduate school.

A.J., who focuses on human-computer interaction and co-leads the Lab of Things project at Microsoft Research, is a terrific role model for young women contemplating a career in computing. She serves as co-chair of CRA-W, a committee of the national Computing Research Association that works to increase the number of women engaged in computing research. In 2010, A.J. was recognized with the Borg Early Career Award for her positive contributions to the advancement of women in computing.

In a happy coincidence, A.J.’s town hall will be followed later in the day by a reception for women of the UW CSE community – an annual tradition in advance of the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing. Learn more and register to participate in the virtual town hall here.

October 7, 2015



The 2015 UW CSE SOSP contingent: Adriana Szekeres, Ellis Michael, Niel Lebeck, Naveen Kr. Sharma, Pedro Fonseca, Dan R. K. Ports / Irene Zhang, Hank Levy, Tom Anderson

As always, UW CSE was well represented at the biennial ACM Symposium on Operating Systems Principles. This was the 25th SOSP – the 50th anniversary of this premier operating systems conference.

Learn about UW CSE’s research in systems and networking here.

October 6, 2015

UW CSE’s Kurtis Heimerl and Endaga joining Facebook

Kurtis HeimerlUW CSE alum and soon-to-be faculty member Kurtis Heimerl (UW CSE B.S. ’07, UC Berkeley Ph.D. ’13) co-founded startup company Endaga to help under-served communities in remote areas of the world to build small-scale, independent cellular networks that they own and run themselves. The company – which was spun out of UC Berkeley, where Kurtis completed his Master’s, Ph.D. and postdoc working with another UW CSE alum, Tapan Parikh (Ph.D., ’07) – epitomizes the potential for technology to meaningfully improve quality of life around the globe.

Now, thanks to Facebook, Kurtis and the Endaga team are starting a new chapter as they work to improve connectivity for people everywhere.

While this means that we have to wait a little longer for his official homecoming, we are excited to see what comes out of this new partnership. We are also delighted to report that Kurtis intends to spend a couple of days a month at UW CSE engaging with our faculty and students between now and when he takes up his faculty position next September.

Read more about the new partnership on the Endaga blog here.

Congratulations to Kurtis and his colleagues – we will enjoy watching their progress and look forward to the day Kurtis brings his considerable talents full-time to UW CSE!

October 5, 2015

The hired help you get these days …

IMG_5720UW CSE events manager Sophie Ostlund requisitions additional help to man the bar at the annual “Pit Party” welcoming new graduate students, and what turns up? Zach Tatlock. Sheesh.IMG_5715

October 2, 2015

UW CSE news “back to school” edition

Classes started this week on the beautiful UW campus – and in K-12 schools across the region. To mark the occasion, UW CSE professor James Fogarty and his son posed for the traditional back-to-school photo.

James Fogarty and his son go back to school

As James said, “Excited for the first day of classes. Awesome staff, awesome students. Let’s make stuff!”

Welcome back, everyone – we hope you had a great first week!

October 2, 2015

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