most significant bits
newsletter of uw computer science & engineering
volume 24, number 1, spring 2014

university of washington
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Big Data, Enormous Oppportunity Oceanography Astronomy Alumni awards Alum achievement Diamond winner Fitzpatrick Chair’s message Alumni entrepreneur profiles WibiData Usermind Two rising stars join CSE faculty Faculty awards and honors Student awards and honors News and events Bay Area alum meetup CSE annual luncheon Ben Taskar Datagrams
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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: Sandra Kaplan, Ed Lazowska, Hank Levy, Sandy Marvinney, S. Morris Rose
Photo credits: Bruce Hemingway, Rod Prieto, Kay Beck-Benton

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From where I sit…

Hank Levy

We approach graduation 2014 with extreme excitement about the department, the field, and our future. The entire campus has become aware of the importance of computing to every field — from social science to physical science to medicine and law. Therefore, interest in our classes across UW has grown and continues to grow at a dizzying rate. This year we are teaching nearly 4000 students in our two-course introductory programming sequence, 142/143. Demand for our major is high as well and beyond our capacity to meet it. Over the last few years we have increased the size of our undergraduate program by 55 percent. By next year we will be approaching 800 students in our bachelor’s program, graduating approximately 250 bachelor’s students per year. And we expect even more growth on the horizon at every level, e.g., our PhD program now exceeds 200 students!

Our biggest challenge for the future is space. The Allen Center, now 10 years old, continues to be an outstanding facility, but it is full, which limits our ability to grow and handle the numbers of students and faculty we expect in the future. For this reason, we have carried out a feasibility study to look at the amount and types of spaces we would need in a new building, which we hope to begin designing more seriously in the very near future. A key part of that building would be new classrooms of all types — something we were unable to provide in the current building. As well we’ll need research labs for the kinds of increasingly interdisciplinary and collaborative research projects that now bring together a broad range of scientists from both inside and outside the campus. We feature several of these projects in this issue.

Hiring is key to our future as well as we broaden and deepen our research and teaching portfolio. Last year we added four exciting new faculty members to our roster. These included assistant professors Maya Cakmak, Zack Tatlock, and Shayan Oveis Gharan, who brought new strength in robotics, programming languages and verification, and theoretical computer science, respectively. In addition, Matt Reynolds, formerly of Duke University, joined us as associate professor and became the fourth hire in our joint ExCEL (“Experimental Computer Engineering Lab”) initiative with EE; Matt’s research is in low-power and ubiquitous computing. This year we have already announced two exciting new hires in security and natural language processing — Franzi Roesner and Yejin Choi — who we describe in this issue as well. I hope to announce several more hires over the next month or so.

To all of our graduating students, we’re very proud of what you’ve achieved already and expect much more from you in the future.

Have a great summer and keep in touch!

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