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White House recognizes Shwetak Patel, Luke Zettlemoyer with PECASE awards

Shwetak Patel and Luke Zettlemoyer

Shwetak Patel (left) and Luke Zettlemoyer

The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy announced today that UW CSE and EE professor Shwetak Patel and UW CSE professor Luke Zettlemoyer have been selected to receive a Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE). The award, which is the highest honor the U.S. government bestows upon scientists and engineers in the early stage of their careers, is designed to support promising young researchers who show exceptional potential to advance the frontiers of scientific knowledge in the 21st century and demonstrate a commitment to community service.

Shwetak and Luke are among 106 scientists and engineers selected from across the country to receive this honor. From the White House press release:

“‘These early-career scientists are leading the way in our efforts to confront and understand challenges from climate change to our health and wellness,’ President Obama said. ‘We congratulate these accomplished individuals and encourage them to continue to serve as an example of the incredible promise and ingenuity of the American people….’

“This year’s recipients are employed or funded by the following departments and agencies: Department of Agriculture, Department of Commerce, Department of Defense, Department of Education, Department of Energy, Department of Health and Human Services, Department of the Interior, Department of Veterans Affairs, Environmental Protection Agency, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, National Science Foundation, and the Intelligence Community. These departments and agencies join together annually to nominate the most meritorious scientists and engineers whose early accomplishments show the greatest promise for assuring America’s preeminence in science and engineering and contributing to the awarding agencies’ missions.”

Shwetak, who directs the UW’s UbiComp Lab and is a recognized expert in sensor systems research, was nominated for a PECASE by the National Science Foundation “for inventing low-cost, easy-to-deploy sensor systems that leverage existing infrastructures to enable users to track household energy consumption and make the buildings we live in more responsive to our needs.”

Luke, a member of UW CSE’s world-class Natural Language Processing group, was nominated by the Department of Defense “for his outstanding research accomplishments in computational semantics, in particular for innovative new machine learning approaches for problems in natural language understanding.”

Shwetak and Luke will be formally recognized at a White House ceremony in the spring. They join some pretty select company, including previous PECASE recipients Tom Anderson and Carlos Guestrin on the UW CSE faculty.

Read the White House press release here. Read the UW News press release here.

Congratulations, Shwetak and Luke!

February 18, 2016