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From where I sit…
As we enter 2015, I have some very exciting news! A few weeks ago, on December 15th, the UW Architectural Commission interviewed four architectural firms, and on January 8th, the UW Board of Regents will approve one of them to carry out a pre-design of what we're now calling CSEII -- a new building to facilitate our future growth. CSEII will add new features to our already outstanding space in the Allen Center, including a 200-person lecture hall, multiple modern classrooms, seminar rooms, and undergraduate spaces, as well as research labs and great people space for graduate students, postdocs, faculty, colleagues, and department staff.
Student demand has grown enormously over the last five years in CS departments all over the country, and this new space will help us maintain our leadership role in both education and research. As an anecdote to the rate of growth, this quarter for the first time, we had 1,000 (!) students in our intro programming course, CSE 142. This placed a strain on Principal Lecturer Stuart Reges, who among other things, always bakes cookies for all of his students at the end of the quarter. This year Stuart baked 1,400 yummy chocolate chip cookies for his students (search for "GeekWire Reges Cookies" to read a GeekWire article on Stuart and this Herculean task).
We are extremely excited as well with our six new faculty hires who joined CSE this year. Following our big hiring initiatives in exciting technical areas over the last few years, such as big data and computer vision, this past year we made two superb hires in natural language processing (NLP), a field that is having enormous impact, both in the way that people interact with computers through speech, and through the automatic processing and understanding of the massive amounts of text now available on the web. Noah Smith, currently Associate Professor at Carnegie Mellon, will arrive next fall, and Yejin Choi, formerly Assistant Professor at Stony Brook, joined us this past fall; adding them to our current expertise in NLP will make us one of the very best departments in this field. In addition, our hires of Franzi Roesner in security, Emina Torlak in software engineering and programming languages, Xi Wang in operating systems, and Alvin Cheung in databases, greatly strengthen our core research and teaching capabilities. You can read more about all of these great hires in this issue.
I'd like to wish you a Happy New Year. As always, we love to see and hear from our former students and friends -- keep in touch, and please come to one of our CSE events!
Henry M. Levy
Chairman and Wissner-Slivka Chair
Stuart Reges baked 1,400 cookies for his students during finals week.
That's 116 dozen chocolate chip cookies -- or roughly 154,000 calories,
as Ed Lazowska notes.