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GeekWire: “Love and marriage: How the UW is making bets on the brains of ‘big data’ and ‘machine learning’”

“Computer science is very much a discipline that revolves around numbers. But it was something a little less mathematical that led to the University of Washington strengthening its computer science department in recent months: Love, marriage and friendship.

“In no fewer than three separate situations, the UW’s computer science department was able to attract world-class professors in ‘big data,’ ‘machine learning’ and ‘visual data analysis’ by finding work at the UW or other opportunities for their spouses.

“The new hires — including Carlos Guestrin from Carnegie Mellon University, Ben Taskar from the University of Pennsylvania. and Jeff Heer from Stanford University — come as a package deal with equally talented spouses who will be contributing to the UW or Seattle tech community in other ways …

“Ed Lazowska, the Bill & Melinda Gates Chair in Computer Science & Engineering at the University of Washington, said the collection of the new staffers is simply extraordinary. He called Guestrin, Taskar and Heer ‘instant-impact head-turners,’ noting that top computer science programs ‘are salivating’ and wondering how the UW pulled off what amounts to a trifecta …  In some cases, the UW was able to beat out competing offers from the likes of MIT, Penn, Stanford and others.

“The top-notch recruiting efforts of UW computer science chair Hank Levy certainly played a role in attracting the scientists, with Lazowska calling his colleague the ‘best recruiter in the country.'”

Read more here.  See a related (subsequent) UW press release here.