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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Two rising stars join UW CSE faculty

UW CSE is delighted to announce our first two hires of the 2014 faculty recruiting season.

Yejin Choi

Yejin Choi, currently Assistant Professor at SUNY Stony Brook, will be joining UW CSE this fall. Yejin is a rising star in Natural Language Processing (NLP), with a focus on studying non-literal and contextual language understanding. Her work on automatically analyzing writing style — e.g., to detect deceptive online reviews or predict the success of a novel — has gained significant academic and media attention.

Text understanding is not just about what is written. We also want to understand why it is written (i.e., intent), and whom it is written by (i.e., identity). Through the analysis of writing style, Choi is building statistical models that can perceive various aspects of the intent and identity of the author, even when those are not explicitly mentioned in the text.

Choi is also a leader in combining NLP and computer vision — studying the automatic captioning of photographs — and was a co-recipient the 2013 David Marr Prize for this work.

“The web today is increasingly multi-modal, with hundreds of billions of photographs contributed by online citizens along with textual descriptions. This creates new challenges and opportunities for researchers to integrate NLP with computer vision,” Choi notes excitedly. Tapping into this wealth of multi-modal web data, she is investigating data-driven approaches to learn and reason about the visual world and everyday human lives.

Choi received her PhD in Computer Science from Cornell University and her BS in Computer Science and Engineering from Seoul National University.

Franzi Roesner

Franzi Roesner, a researcher in security and privacy with a strong focus on system design, will be joining UW CSE as a faculty member in the fall.

Her research has included a comprehensive study of third-party tracking on the Web and the creation of ShareMeNot, a novel defense against “personal” web trackers like the Facebook “Like” button. She has also explored a new approach to permission granting in modern operating systems (particularly mobile devices, such as smart phones), user-driven access control. In this approach, the operating system is able to extract a user’s intent to grant a permission (such as allowing an application to access the camera or send an SMS) from the way he or she naturally interacts with any application. Her work on user-driven access control won the Best Practical Paper Award at the 2012 IEEE Symposium on Security and Privacy. Most recently, she has begun focusing on security and privacy for emerging augmented reality technologies.

Roesner will receive her PhD from UW CSE in June. She received her BS in Computer Science at UT Austin, where she worked on research in computer architecture.

“UW CSE is a really exciting place, and I’m thrilled to join the department as a faculty member!” says Roesner.

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