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The University of Washington “Innovation Imperative”

iiYou’re smart enough to know that one aspect of this matters far more than any of the others: increased capacity for Computer Science & Engineering. But please humor our colleagues by reading the whole thing, here.

September 1, 2015

“UW students put data science skills to use for social good”

photo-1-750x473A terrific article on this summer’s Data Science for Social Good program spearheaded by the UW eScience Institute, which is led by CSE’s Ed Lazowska and Bill Howe.

“In June, the Institute launched the Data Science for Social Good program, an initiative that paired data scientists with students and local nonprofit and government partners. These interdisciplinary teams worked on projects to reduce family homelessness, improve paratransit bus service, foster community well-being, and map better sidewalk routes for people with mobility challenges …

“Ed Lazowska, the Bill & Melinda Gates Chair in Computer Science & Engineering, said the initiative demonstrates the utility of data science in tackling a host of societal challenges that students are eager to work on.

“‘I think people are energized by the ability to work on something that is both technically challenging and makes the world a better place,’ he said. ‘That’s what Data Science for Social Good is about.'”

Read more here.

September 1, 2015

2015 UW Engineering Lecture Series: All CSE, all the time!

CSE_Franziska_Roesner_350-300x300The 2015 UW Engineering Lecture Series – three evening public lectures sponsored by the UW Alumni Association – is all CSE this year!

  • Wednesday October 7: Franzi Roesner, “The Invisible Trail: Pervasive Tracking in a Connected Age”
  • Wednesday October 21: Dieter Fox, “Our Robotic Future: Building Smart Robots that See in 3D”
  • Wednesday November 3: Yoshi Kohno (along with Batya Friedman from fox_3501-300x300the Information School and Ryan Calo from the School of Law), “Responsible Innovation: A Cross Disciplinary Lens on Privacy and Security Challenges”

All lectures are at 7:30 p.m. in Kane Hall 130.

Learn more here.



September 1, 2015

Remembering Joe Traub, 1932-2015

30traub-obit-popupJoe Traub – Edwin Howard Armstrong Professor of Computer Science at Columbia University, as well as an External Professor at the Santa Fe Institute – passed away earlier this week.

Joe was a giant of the field, and an inspiration. After receiving his Ph.D. from Columbia in 1959, he was hired by Bell Laboratories. He continued at Bell Labs until 1970, when he began his professorial career at the University of Washington. Soon after, in 1971, he was offered the position of Head of the Computer Science Department at Carnegie Mellon University, a role in which he served until 1979. He left to help Columbia University build a Computer Science Department, and became its Founding Chair. In 1986, he was invited to start what is now the Computer Science and Telecommunications Board for the National Academies, serving as chair from 1986-92, then again from 2006-09.

Steve Lohr wrote a lovely tribute in today’s New York Times.

August 30, 2015

UW CSE student and football freestyler Cory Black in the Seattle Times

Cory Black with soccer ballFor anyone wondering if hard-working UW CSE students have lives outside of their academic studies: check out the great Seattle Times story on our very own Cory Black, computer science major and “freestyle magician.” Cory is competing in the Super Ball World Open Championships this week in Liberec, Czech Republic.

From the article:

“After years playing soccer, Cory Black realized he enjoyed doing tricks with the ball more than the game itself.

“Fortunately for Black, 19, a Bellevue resident and former Newport High School soccer player, he wasn’t alone. A few years back, he discovered the fledgling sport of freestyle football, where competitors perform individualized, trick-laden routines with a soccer ball that never touches their hands or the ground….

” ‘No matter how many tricks you learn to do with a ball, you can’t really use all of it in games,’ Black said of transitioning to this offshoot of the sport, which he stumbled onto while seeking out new soccer-ball tricks on YouTube. ‘So, it made sense, given that this was what I was really good at.’ ”

Read the entire article and watch a video of Cory performing here. Good luck, Cory!

August 26, 2015

Eli Shlizerman joins UW EE

2015-08-26_Shlizerman-Eli_caption_000UW Electrical Engineering has just announced the hiring of data analysis expert Eli Shlizerman, joint with UW Applied Mathematics.

Shlizerman’s research focuses on analyzing complex dynamic networks, such as the nervous system. Typically, such networks are extremely challenging to study because of their complex structure and intricate time-dependent dynamics. To overcome these challenges, Shlizerman developed analysis methods that fuse data analysis with dynamical system theory, which uses various equations to determine the behavior of complex systems.

Congratulations to Eli, to UW EE, and to their chair Radha Poovendran for moving forward rapidly in key interdisciplinary areas! And thanks to the Washington Research Foundation, whose support of the UW eScience Institute contributed to this recruitment.

Read the UW EE announcement here.

August 26, 2015

Washington Monthly hearts UW

1509.cover.220x286Washington Monthly’s College Guide and Rankings ranks four-year colleges in America on “three measures that would make the whole system better, if only schools would compete on them.” The first is upward mobility: Are schools enrolling and graduating students of modest means and charging them a reasonable price? The second is research: Are they preparing undergraduates to earn PhDs, and creating the new technologies and ideas that will drive economic growth and advance human knowledge? The third is service: Are schools encouraging their students to give back to the country by joining the military or the Peace Corps, or at least letting them use their work-study money to do community service rather than making them on-campus office slaves?”

The University of Washington is ranked among the top ten institutions in the nation – a group that includes UCSD, Berkeley, Stanford, Harvard, UCLA, and Georgia Tech, among others.

In a separate “Best Bang for the Buck” ranking – “the best value for your money based on ‘net’ (not sticker) price, how well they do graduating the students they admit, and whether those students go on to earn at least enough to pay off their loans” – Washington Monthly places UW first in the west.

Always remember: The rankings in which we do well are authoritative, and worth of coverage in this space. The others are methodologically flawed.

August 26, 2015

Paul G. Allen receives 2015 Carnegie Medal of Philanthropy

Allen-PaulUW CSE friend and benefactor Paul G. Allen will receive a 2015 Carnegie Medal of Philanthropy.

The Carnegie Medal goes to those who use their private wealth to improve the greater public good. Paul was selected for his work to protect the oceans, fight Ebola, save endangered species, help expand educational opportunities for girls, research the human brain and support the arts, according to the Carnegie statement.

Plus, of course, there’s our building …

Congratulations Paul!

GeekWire post here.

August 25, 2015

UW eScience Institute’s data science do-gooders featured in Xconomy

eScience Institute logo“What did you do on your summer vacation?” is a common refrain as students and faculty return to campus. For the students who took part in the UW eScience Institute’s Data Science for Social Good program, they can honestly say they spent their summer trying to make the world a better place – and they did it with data.

DSSG gave students from a range of disciplines the opportunity to work with data scientists and public stakeholders to apply the latest data analysis and visualization techniques to address challenges faced by urban communities. Ben Romano of Xconomy was on hand last week as the teams presented the results of their work. From his excellent article posted today:

“Earn a degree in the field of data science these days and your ticket is punched: Google, Amazon, Facebook, leading-edge academic research, a well-funded startup—they’re all clamoring for people proficient in the tools and techniques needed to sift through today’s endless streams of digital data in search of something valuable.


Family homelessness team (project sponsored by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and Building Changes)

“Social service organizations and local governments are confronting the data deluge, too, often without the capacity to pay the salaries that profit-driven companies can offer these sought-after experts.

“Enter the University of Washington’s just-concluded Data Science for Social Good summer internship. The program set interdisciplinary student teams, guided by professional data scientists and subject-matter experts, to work on thorny, real-world urban problems including family homelessness, paratransit bus service, community well-being, and sidewalk mapping for accessible route planning.

“During their final presentations last week, four student teams showed off tools they built over the summer that should provide lasting value to the organizations whose data they worked with, and the community at large. In sharing their process, the teams also highlighted the challenges inherent in drawing insight from big data.”

The article highlights the enthusiastic response to DSSG when it was announced: more than 140 students applied to the summer program, of which 16 students drawn from 10 disciplines were selected to participate. One team developed tools to help identify the programs that are most helpful to families facing homelessness. Another, advised by Anat Caspi of UW CSE’s Taskar Center for Accessible Technology, sought to improve the reliability and cost-effectiveness of local paratransit services for people with disabilities.

Read the complete article here and learn more about the DSSG student projects here.

Congratulations and thanks to all of the DSSG participants – students, faculty and community representatives – who demonstrated the power of data science to serve the social good!

August 25, 2015

Justine Sherry wins Best Student Paper Award at SIGCOMM 2015

beststudentpaperwinners2010 UW CSE bachelors alum Justine Sherry – now completing her Ph.D. at UC Berkeley – is first author on this year’s Best Student Paper at SIGCOMM 2015, the premier conference in computer networking.

The paper – “Rollback-Recovery for Middleboxes” – is part of Justine’s Berkeley thesis work. Network middleboxes must offer high availability, with automatic failover when a device fails. Unlike routers, when middleboxes fail they most recover lost state about active network connections to perform properly; without this lost state clients face connection resets, downtime, or insecure behaviors. No existing middlebox design provides failover that is correct, fast to recover, and imposes little increased latency on failure-free operations. The FTMB system described in the paper adds only 30us of latency to median per packet latencies – a 100-1000x improvement over existing fault-tolerance mechanisms. FTMB  introduces moderate throughput overheads (5-30%) and can reconstruct lost state in 40-275ms for practical system configurations.

UW CSE professor Arvind Krishnamurthy is one of the paper’s co-authors, along with Peter Xiang Gao, Soumya Basu, Aurojit Panda, Sylvia Ratnasamy, and Scott Shenker from UC Berkeley, Christian Maciocco and Maziar Manesh from Intel Research, Joao Martins from NEC Labs, and Luigi Rizzo from the University of Pisa.

“And remember – she’ll be on the job market this coming year.”

August 23, 2015

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