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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

A super summer of UW CSE computer science day camps for K-12 students!

hsgirlscampThis week marked 2015’s 9th and final UW CSE summer computer science day camp for K-12 students.

During the week of June 29 we hosted a co-ed camp for students entering grades 3-5 for “Scratch Adventures,” and a co-ed camp for students entering grades 10-12 for “Physical Computing.”

During the week of July 6 we again hosted “Physical Computing.”

During the weeks of July 20 and August 10 we hosted students entering grades 7-9 for “Building Android Apps.”

During the weeks of July 27 and August 3 we hosted girls camps using Processing for students entering grades 10-12.

And during the weeks of August 10 and August 17 we hosted girls camps using Processing for students entering grades 7-9.

Learn more about our summer day camps here.

Learn more about Dawgbytes (“A Taste of CSE”), UW CSE’s broad-based K-12 outreach program, here.

For lots of photos of this year’s camps, check out the DawgBytes Facebook page here.

August 22, 2015

Summer 2015 Google Faculty Research Awards

rgicontransparentAnother great performance by UW CSE faculty and alums in the most recent Google Faculty Research Awards:

Human-Computer Interaction

  • UW CSE Ph.D. alum (and former Creative Director of the UW Center for Game Science) Seth Cooper (Northeastern University)
  • UW CSE affiliate professor Sean Munson (UW Human Centered Design & Engineering)
  • UW CSE affiliate professor and Ph.D. grandchild Jessica Hullman (UW Information School, and the University of Michigan Ph.D. alum of UW CSE Ph.D. alum Eytan Adar)


Natural Language Processing

Physical Interactions and Immersive Experiences


Software Engineering and Programming Languages

Congratulations, one and all! And thanks, Google, for your support! (See the full list of awardees here.)


August 22, 2015

UW CSE Ph.D. alum Karl Koscher in Wired: “Think twice about what you’re plugging into your car”

Karl Koscher and Ian Foster of UCSD in a car

Karl Koscher and Ian Foster of UCSD demonstrating the latest car security flaw (Photo: Ryan Young for Wired)

UW CSE Ph.D. alum Karl Koscher, of 60 Minutes car hacking fame, is in the news once again for exposing the vulnerabilities of motor vehicle systems with a team at University of California, San Diego, where he is doing a postdoc with UCSD CSE professors and UW CSE Ph.D. alums Stefan Savage and Geoff Voelker.

This time, Karl and his fellow researchers demonstrate for Wired magazine and the USENIX security conference a new threat for motorists: common plug-in devices such as those provided by insurance firms to monitor a vehicle’s location, mileage and speed.

From the Wired article:

“Car hacking demos like last month’s over-the-internet hijacking of a Jeep have shown it’s possible for digital attackers to cross the gap between a car’s cellular-connected infotainment system and its steering and brakes. But a new piece of research suggests there may be an even easier way for hackers to wirelessly access those critical driving functions: Through an entire industry of potentially insecure, internet-enabled gadgets plugged directly into cars’ most sensitive guts….

“By sending carefully crafted SMS messages to one of those cheap dongles connected to the dashboard of a Corvette, the researchers were able to transmit commands to the car’s CAN bus—the internal network that controls its physical driving components—turning on the Corvette’s windshield wipers and even enabling or disabling its brakes.”

As Karl says, “Think twice about what you’re plugging into your car.”

Read the full article and watch a video demonstration here. Read a recent blog post on this same topic featuring Karl’s Ph.D. adviser, UW CSE professor Yoshi Kohno (who was one of the first to sound the alarm over car security), here.

August 20, 2015

UW CSE postdoc alum Alexandra Meliou wins NSF CAREER Award

Alexandra MeliouAlexandra Meliou, an assistant professor at University of Massachusetts, Amherst who completed a postdoc under the guidance of UW CSE professor Dan Suciu in 2012, has earned the National Science Foundation’s prestigious CAREER award.

Alexandra’s research focuses on reverse-engineering data transformations to understand, diagnose and manipulate data. She is interested in enhancing data management systems to compute and use data provenance information to identify errors, diagnose the causes of errors, and improve data quality. Learn more about her NSF-supported project here.

(Thanks to Alexandra’s fellow UW CSE postdoc alum – and previous NSF CAREER award winner – Yuriy Brun for the tip.)

Congratulations, Alexandra!

August 19, 2015

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