most significant bits
newsletter of uw computer science & engineering
volume 22, number 2, autumn 2012
university of washington
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Industry Affiliates Startup Fair Chair’s message New CSE Faculty New hires in UW CSE Taskar joins UW CSE World Lab 6th Summer Academy for Deaf News Datagrams CSE ugrad alum survey Distinguished Lectures
msb22.2 PDF

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About MSB

MSB is a twice yearly publication of UW CSE supported by the Industrial Affiliates Program.

Editor: Kay Beck-Benton.
Contributors: Ed Lazowska, Hank Levy, James Landay, S. Morris Rose
Photo credits: Bruce Hemingway, Timothy Yu

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From where I sit...

Hank Levy

In the last issue of MSB, I highlighted two great new senior hires: Carlos Guestrin from CMU and Jeff Heer from Stanford. Shortly after that issue was published, we concluded our faculty recruiting season with a total of 6 new hires, the most remarkable recruiting year in our history! In addition to Carlos and Jeff, a third senior hire, Ben Taskar from University of Pennsylvania, accepted our offer. Carlos and Ben are both outstanding researchers in machine learning among the very best of their generation. Machine learning is having enormous impact across academia and industry, as researchers and companies deal with the enormous amounts of data that are being produced through scientific instruments, gene sequencing, internet data collection, point-of-sale terminals, etc. Along with Jeff Heer, whose specialty is tools for data visualization, these senior hires position CSE and UW at the forefront of “big data” research. In addition, we expect to be doing a faculty search this year in that area, jointly with the Department of Statistics.

At the junior level we hired two young researchers in computer vision. Ali Farhadi is an expert in object recognition; he was most recently a postdoc at CMU following his Ph.D. at the University of Illinois. Ira Kemelmacher-Shlizerman is an expert in modeling and manipulation of facial images; she was a postdoc in UW CSE working with Steve Seitz, following her Ph.D. at the Weizmann Institute. A third junior hire, Shyam Gollakota joined us from MIT, where he had just completed his Ph.D. in wireless networking. These junior hires, described in more detail in this issue, add significantly to our current strengths in computer vision and computer systems. We are extremely excited by the talents and energy that all of these new hires bring to CSE and to what it means for our future.

Our new hires created a lot of buzz nationally, and in part led to a remarkable article about CSE that appeared on the front page of the New York Times Sunday Business Section on July 7th (see The article highlighted the successes of the department and particularly the demand for our students. It also signaled the national status of the department: “Although Stanford is considered the Hogwarts of techdom, U.W. has quietly established itself as the other West Coast nexus of the information economy.” Overall, these hires and the related publicity (see also the Seattle Times: show the incredible progress of the department, which is the result to a large extent of the creativity and hard work of our students at all levels.

Finally, I’m happy to announce that as the result of increased funding for our program that resulted from a legislative initiative last spring, we are growing our programs by around 25% at all levels. At the bachelors levels, we will be increasing to 200 degrees a year. This will allow us to accept more of the highly qualified students who would like access to our program. Overall, it’s been a remarkable and exciting year for the department, and we look forward to continued growth and excitement in the years to come.

Wishing all of you a happy and healthy new year.

Hank Levy signature
Henry M. Levy
Chairman and Wissner-Slivka Chair
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