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OneBusAway developers past and present take Metro and Sound Transit to task for their transit data quality

onebusawayUW CSE Ph.D. alum Brian Ferris and Ph.D. student Caitlin Bonnar take two of the region’s transit agencies to task in an op-ed in the Seattle Transit Blog for ongoing issues with the quality of the data they provide to OneBusAway, the Transit App, Google, and other transit information sources.  (Brian wrote all the original code for OneBusAway, and Caitlin currently coordinates maintenance and development of the iPhone app.)  Read it here, along with numerous comments from other riders.

January 12, 2015

UW CSE workshop connects blind college students with professionals

UW CSE logoOn June 2-3, the Empowering Blind Students in Science and Engineering workshop will be held at the Talaris Conference Center. This one-of-a-kind workshop brings together 18 blind undergraduate students from around the country and professionals from a broad range of field – some blind, some not – for one-on-one mentoring and networking. The program will focus on learning from each other to maximize chances for a successful career and on raising awareness of the potential of blind professionals in the workplace.

The event is the brainchild of UW CSE Professor Richard Ladner, who has worked for years in accessibility research.

Learn more about the workshop here. UW Today post here.

May 29, 2014

Trifacta – a big data startup with UW ties – secures $25 million Series C round

Trifacta logoTrifacta, a San Francisco big data company co-founded by UW CSE professor Jeffrey Heer and UC Berkeley professor Joe Hellerstein – has completed a $25 million Series C financing round, led by Seattle-based Ignition Partners.

Trifacta provides a way to approach the bottlenecks in data analytics from a human perspective.  The company is pioneering a Data Transformation Platform to prepare data for analysis.

Read more in Venture Beat here; TechCrunch here.  Press release from Trifacta here.

May 29, 2014

UW CSE at the 13th Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing


UW CSE attendees at the 13th Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing

The Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing is a series of conferences, dating back to 1994, designed to bring the research and career interests of women in computing to the forefront. This year’s conference – the 13th – was held in Minneapolis, MN, with an estimated 4,000 attendees.

UW’s strong commitment to diversity is reflected in our perennial position among the best-represented schools at the Hopper conference, regardless of location. This year was no exception. UW participants were a mix of graduate students, undergraduate students, faculty, and staff members – the vast majority from CSE, but also with participation from EE and HCDE. HCDE professor (and CSE adjunct professor) Cecelia Aragon participated in a panel discussion about building leadership skills. CSE presenters include graduate students Shiri Azenkot and Kyle Rector, undergraduate alum Kristine Delossantos (now at WhitePages), and graduate student Nicki Dell, who led a project for Saturday’s Open Source Day. In the “friends and family” department, Fiona Condon – daughter of UW CSE Ph.D. alum (and UBC department head) Anne Condon and UW CSE technical staff member (and CSE Masters alum) Scott Rose – chaired a panel; Fiona is a Brown alum now crafting code at Etsy.

Why choose CSE?  Check it out here!

October 4, 2013

Julie Kientz wins TR35 Award!

photo of Julie KientzJulie Kientz, a faculty member in UW Human Centered Design & Engineering and an adjunct faculty member in CSE, has won a TR35 Award from MIT Technology Review, which annually recognizes the top 35 innovators under the age of 35.  Julie was honored for her work in computer software. Her research looks at how technology can be used to support health and education. In particular, she has developed prototype applications to monitor sleep disorders, assist parents in tracking early developmental progress, and help special-education teachers who work with autistic children.

Julie is married to Shwetak Patel, a faculty member in UW CSE and EE who was recognized with a TR35 several years ago.  Disappointingly, their daughter Maya has not yet been recognized with a TR35 … but she has another 34 years of eligibility.  “All in the family.”

Congratulations, Julie!

TR35 profile of Julie here.  See also: UW Today, HCDE article.

August 21, 2013

UW/MSR Summer Research Institute 2013: Understanding Situated Language in Everyday Life

Mountains-waterThe 18th UW/MSR Summer Research Institute in Computer Science was held this week at Alderbrook in Union, WA.

Each summer UW Computer Science & Engineering and Microsoft Research co-organize a summer research institute that brings together dozens of the world’s top researchers to discuss an important emerging topic.  This year’s topic was “Understanding Situated Language in Everyday Life” – organized by Luke Zettlemoyer (UW CSE) and William Dolan (MSR). Quoting from the overview:

“Robust natural language understanding systems have the potential to completely revolutionize our interactions with computers. From Apple’s Siri to Google Now and Microsoft’s XBox Kinect, we now talk to our computers, phones, and entertainment systems on a daily basis. Similarly, as we interact with social media we constantly watch, comment on, and otherwise caption massive streams of image and video data. Recently, there has been growing interest in approaches that learn to understand these rich data sources, with a common focus on studying how language use is grounded in the physical or a virtual world.”

The Institute gathered 40 top researchers from across the world whose research focus included natural language processing, speech, computer vision, robotics, and cognitive science. The goal was to provide a forum for identifying common research themes and challenges across all of these disciplines.

Learn more about this year’s UW/MSR Summer Research Institute here.  Learn about previous Institutes here.

July 26, 2013

Computer Science is Sunday’s “Cool Jobs” panel at the Seattle Science Festival

2013 Seattle Science Festival logoThe 2013 Seattle Science Festival is the region’s only large-scale, community-wide celebration of science and technology.  It brings hands-on exhibits, shows, demonstrations and performances to venues throughout the Pacific Northwest. All events provide experiences that educate, engage and inspire an interest in science and technology and stimulate imagination and innovation.  The festival runs June 6-16, 2013.

SSF features a “cool jobs”‘ series where attendees can learn, first-hand, from successful and dynamic professionals in some of the most promising fields in science and technology. CSE’s Oren Etzioni, Yoshi Kohno, and Hélène Martin will join’s Hadi Partovi in a panel that highlights the opportunities in computer science:  this Sunday, June 9th, from 7:00 – 9:00 pm, at the Seattle Public Library – Central Library in the Microsoft Auditorium. (The event is free, but registration is required –

Info here.

June 7, 2013

UW CSE alumni startup Captricity closes $4.5 million round of funding

Captricity logoCaptricity – a service that quickly and easily turns paper information into structured, digital data – has closed a $4.5 million round of funding.

Captricity was co-founded by UW CSE bachelors alum Kuang Chen at the conclusion of his UC Berkeley Ph.D. studies.  At UW, Kuang was a double major in CSE and Comparative History of Ideas.  His undergraduate research led to the creation of the Seattle startup Teranode, where he worked for four years following graduation.  At Berkeley, his research leading to Captricity was advised jointly by Joe Hellerstein and UW CSE Ph.D. alum Tapan Parikh.  This research – on how data-centric approaches could help organizations better serve their disadvantaged clients – revealed that one of the biggest barriers to efficient operations was getting data from paper into digital form, the problem that Captricity solves.

Read the full article in Venture Beat here.

June 2, 2013

UW CSE Ph.D. alum Jeff Dean profiled in “People of ACM”

Photo of Jeff Dean“People of ACM” highlights the unique scientific accomplishments and compelling personal attributes of ACM members who are making a difference in advancing computing as a science and a profession. These bulletins feature ACM members whose personal and professional stories are worthy of sharing with the larger computing community.

Today’s topic highlights UW CSE Ph.D. alum and Google Fellow Jeff Dean.

Read the profile here.

May 16, 2013

Apps with a Humanitarian Side: Nafundi featured on NPR

branding_main-145eb25ca00acff04e540202da68b169a7d1eba8On March 27th, NPR’s Morning Edition of all tech considered featured a story on the growing trend of combining business and smartphone apps for social good.  Highlighted is the work done by Nafundi, a startup led by UW CSE alums Yaw Anokwa and Carl Hartung.  Nafundi develops software for challenging environments and grew from the work done by Yaw and Carl on the Open Data Kit project.

“For those willing to really invest the time,” Anokwa says, “there are more opportunities these days to make a living doing social good with technology.”

NPR story here.  Learn more about Nafundi here. More information on Open Data Kit here.

March 29, 2013

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