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GeekWire: “Tech leaders lobby for $40M in state funding for new UW computer science building”

20070405_uwcse_001GeekWire writes:

“A group of 23 technology leaders in Washington state – including representatives of Microsoft, Amazon, Facebook, Google and other tech giants – are asking the state Legislature to approve $40 million in capital spending to help fund a new, $110 million University of Washington computer science building.

“The second building, proposed last fall, would allow for a doubling of enrollment in the University of Washington Computer Science & Engineering program. The department granted 315 degrees in June, its largest class ever, but the program is at capacity and was able to accept less than a third of the undergrads who applied in the last admissions period.”

Read more here.

February 25, 2015

Seattle Times: “Tech leaders urge state to help pay for new UW computer science building”

20070405_uwcse_001The Seattle Times writes:

“Microsoft, Amazon, Google, Facebook, Zillow: A who’s-who of tech company leaders have written a letter urging the Washington Legislature to fund $40 million of the $110 million cost for building a new computer science and engineering building on the University of Washington campus.”

“The UW’s fast-growing computer science department has already run out of room in its 11-year-old building, the Paul G. Allen Center for Computer Science & Engineering. Securing the money to build a second building is one of the university’s priorities for the current legislative session, said provost and soon-to-be interim president Ana Mari Cauce during a campus-wide meeting Tuesday.”

Read more here.

February 25, 2015

23 WA technology leaders line up in support of expanded facilities for UW CSE

signaturesToday, 23 leaders from the State of Washington – from Alberg to Zapolsky … Amazon to Zillow – sent a letter to the Washington State Legislature supporting a $40 million capital appropriation to partially fund a second building for UW CSE, which will accommodate a doubling of our enrollment. (The project is expected to cost $110 million; the remainder will be raised privately.)

The leaders wrote:

“We are writing to express our collective support of the University of Washington’s request for $40 million in the FY 2015-17 state capital budget for the construction of a 130,000 square-foot Computer Science & Engineering building.

“Our region’s computer science community has fast become one of the leading areas for growth and innovation in the country. Home to the world’s largest software company, online retailer, and online travel company, our stellar pool of talent is charting new territory in mobile technology, enterprise software, cloud computing, interactive media and cyber security. The University of Washington is a huge engine for this industry, home to one of the top ten programs
in the nation …

“Please help us make sure Washington state continues to maintain its place at the forefront of the computer science industry and sets a strong base for future growth by ensuring UW can continue to produce the graduates we need …”

Profuse thanks to our friends for this support!

The Puget Sound region is literally the software capital of the world: more Software Developers (Systems + Applications) are located here, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, than in the San Francisco Bay Area.  Computer Science is also the field with by far the greatest gap in our state between “jobs available” and “degrees granted.”  UW Computer Science & Engineering is by far the leading program in the state at preparing Washington’s students for these great Washington jobs.

A few items that may be of interest:

Washington’s top students deserve the opportunity to become prepared for Washington’s top jobs!

February 24, 2015

UW CSE alum Ben Hindman offers advice on career and life as part of Leadership Seminar Series

Ben Hindman at the UW CSE Leadership Seminar SeriesToday, UW CSE alum Ben Hindman (B.S. ’07), co-founder of data center operating system startup Mesosphere, offered current CSE undergrads advice on what to do when your path diverges from your plan, as part of our Leadership Seminar Series.

Among Ben’s top tips for students approaching life after CSE: “always be learning” (great advice regardless of what one does after graduation), and “love your co-workers” (emphasizing the importance of picking one’s partners, employees and investors carefully).

Ben’s first stop after earning his undergraduate degree at UW CSE was a brief stint at Google, followed by graduate school at UC Berkeley, where he co-created the Mesos data center kernel as an open source project. Twitter was among the companies that adopted Mesos to better manage resources in running their data center applications, enticing Ben away from academia in the process. Upon leaving Twitter three years later, instead of resuming his studies, Ben decided to go the entrepreneurial route by starting Mesosphere – a venture-backed company that recently surpassed 50 employees.

Ben was generous with his advice and candid about what daily life is like as a start-up executive. When asked about fundraising, Ben urged budding entrepreneurs to make sure they can articulate a compelling story about where the company came from and where it is going, calling it “the most important part of the pitch deck.” He also noted that team can trump technology, and both culture and communication are critical for building a successful company.

Ben closed by noting that in both life and business, there is only a handful of truly important decisions that one has to make along the way. “Figure out those questions,” he said, “and you will know what to focus on.”

Read our previous post on Ben here.

February 24, 2015

Seattle Times: “Higher ed is getting a smaller slice of the budget pie”

washingtonstate-spending-c-1020x557 copyKatherine Long writes in the Seattle Times:

“Thirty-five years ago, higher education received 16 percent of the budget …  In the last biennium, it received only 9 percent of the budget …”

Read more here. And note overwhelming voter support for increased investment in computer science education here.

February 24, 2015

UW CSE Ph.D. alum Tessa Lau: One of “50 Women in Tech Dominating Silicon Valley”

3d9e2caTech.Co has “scoured Silicon Valley for 50 women in tech who are empowering all of us to never stop chasing our dreams.”

Number 23 on the list is UW CSE Ph.D. alum Tessa Lau, “cofounder and Chief Robot Whisperer, Savioke. Lau’s passion is building systems that improve people’s lives. Her background in machine learning enables her to understand what roboticists are saying, while her expertise in human-computer interaction drives her to understand people’s needs and build user-focused systems that address those needs. Her goal at Savioke is to guide the development of robots that will revolutionize the service industry.”

See the full list here.

February 24, 2015

New poll reveals Washington citizens’ overwhelming support for greater investment in computer science education

Slide1Washington STEM, an organization that supports improved STEM education for our state’s students “from cradle to career,” recently announced the results of a poll showing overwhelming support among Washington’s citizens for improved access to computer science education at the K-12 and post-secondary levels.

Among the highlights:

  • 85 percent support increasing computer science degree capacity at Washington’s public higher education institutions.
  • 90 percent support expanding the number of public K-12 schools in Washington that offer computer science classes.
  • 91 percent support training more of our state’s K-12 teachers in computer science.

The poll, which surveyed 647 registered Washington voters, was conducted by Strategies 360, and covered all aspects of STEM education. In this context, the overwhelming support for investment in computer science education was particularly gratifying!

Learn more about the poll results and Washington STEM’s support for computer science education here. Check out a slideshow on the full results of the survey here.

Read previous blog posts on the effort to improve computer science education at the K-12 level – H.B. 1813, sponsored by State Representatives Drew Hansen and Chad Magendanz – here and here.

Learn more about employer and student demand for computer science degrees, from CSE department chair Hank Levy’s testimony before the Washington State Legislature earlier this year, here.

February 23, 2015

UW CSE’s Emily Fox, Shyam Gollakota, Thomas Rothvoss win Sloan Research Fellowships

estAlfred P. Sloan Research Fellowships are among the nation’s most prestigious awards for young scientists.

Today, UW CSE’s Shyam Gollakota and Thomas Rothvoss were named recipients of 2015 Sloan Research Fellowships. Shyam and Thomas join 24 previous UW CSE faculty members (plus 3 adjunct faculty members) as recipients of Sloan Research Fellowships – an unprecedented number that speaks to the extraordinary caliber of our young (or, in some cases, formerly young …) faculty members.

Emily Fox, Amazon Professor of Machine Learning in UW Statistics and adjunct professor in CSE, also received a Sloan Research Fellowship.

Shyam is an expert in wireless technology. Thomas, jointly appointed with UW’s Department of Mathematics, is a leader in approximation algorithms, linear and integer programming, combinatorics, network design, and scheduling. Emily is an emerging star in machine learning.

Congratulations to Emily, Shyam and Thomas!

(Our Ph.D. grandchild Alex Halderman at the University of Michigan – a student of UW CSE Ph.D. alum and Princeton professor Ed Felten – also is a recipient!)

Full page New York Times ad from the Sloan Foundation celebrating all of this year’s recipients here.

February 23, 2015

American millennials lag the developed world in literacy, numeracy, and problem solving

branding-globeNot directly related to UW CSE, but important to all who care about education and about the future of our society:

A sobering analysis by the Educational Testing Service of results from the latest Programme for the International Assessment of Adult Competencies (PIAAC) survey of adult skills carried out by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

Among the 22 participating nations, American millenials (the cohort born after 1980) had:

  • Among the lowest average scores in each skill area
  • Among the lowest scores for students at the 90th percentile nationally
  • The lowest scores for those at the 10th percentile nationally
  • Among the lowest scores in numeracy among those with four-year bachelors degrees (we beat only Poland and Spain)

Read the short scary summary here.

February 23, 2015

Remembering Ira Kalet, 1944-2015

iraRetired CSE adjunct professor Ira Kalet passed away last night after a long battle with cancer.

Ira joined the University of Washington in 1978 in the then newly formed Department of Radiation Oncology. Subsequently he held adjunct appointments in Computer Science & Engineering, Bioengineering, and Biological Structure, and a joint appointment in Medical Education (now the Department of Biomedical Informatics and Medical Education).

From 2005 until his retirement, Ira also served as Director of Security and Networking for UW Medicine IT Services, where he led the establishment of a strong security program for UW Medicine clinical and research data and systems.

Ira was closely engaged as a CSE adjunct professor, advising a number of CSE Masters and Doctoral students.

We extend our best wishes to his wife Terry, and to all of his many friends.

February 22, 2015

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