CRA Bulletin

The CRA Bulletin frequently shares news, timely information about CRA initiatives, and items of interest to the general community.
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Posts categorized under: People
Andrew-SearsAndrew-Sears

Meeting the Needs of Individuals with Disabilities- Accessible Computing


My research focuses on empowering individuals through computing technologies that more effectively match their knowledge, experience, abilities, and goals. The majority of my recent research has focused on accessibility-related issues. Working with my students, our research employs a broad definition of accessibility, seeking to empower individuals with disabilities as well as individuals who may experience challenges due to the environment in which they are using computing technologies.

Mary HallMary Hall

New Approaches to Producing High-Performance Code, Thanks to Compiler Technology


What does it take to produce application code that performs as close as possible to a parallel architecture’s compute or memory peak performance? This question is one that programmers of high-performance architectures contemplate regularly since using such systems efficiently can solve problems faster, or solve larger or more complex problems.

This question fundamentally changes the approach to programming.

S_DavidsonS_Davidson

CRA Board Member Highlight: IEEE Honors Susan Davidson With TCDE Impact Award


This year, CRA Board Chair Susan Davidson received the IEEE TCDE Impact Award for “expanding the reach of data engineering within scientific disciplines.” In this interview, Davidson reveals how her interest in bioinformatics came about and how her career led to this award. Two of her favorite problems have been data integration and data provenance.

Why Social Science? Because It Makes Computing Work for People


Two years ago, the leadership of the House Science, Space and Technology Committee looked to our organization, the Computing Research Association, to endorse an approach to reauthorize funding at a number of key Federal science agencies. The proposed legislation would provide increases for computing research funding at the National Science Foundation while keeping the overall agency budget essentially flat by bolstering computing — along with mathematics, physics, biology, and engineering — at the expense of the social, behavioral, and economic sciences (and the geosciences). The committee Chair hoped that CRA, which represents nearly 200 academic computing departments and industrial research labs — including computing research labs at IBM, Google, Facebook, and Microsoft — would support the approach, given the direct and indirect benefits increased investment in computing research at NSF would have to our member institutions.

HV JagadishHV Jagadish

CRA Board Member Highlight: H. V. Jagadish


I study how data and people interact. For more than a decade, I have been studying how to help humans access and manage information. While there is a lot of good work on human-computer interaction and on data visualization, much less work exists on “human-data interaction.” Why can anyone use Google to get information of interest while it is so difficult to get useful information from a structured database? The difference lies in the specificity of the request. A web search engine receives your request and tries to guess your intention. You know that it has a limited understanding of your need, and are happy to have it get you into “the zone,” from where you can explore for yourself. On the other hand, a traditional database query engine can give you complete answers to complex questions but requires that you precisely specify your query. If you make a small mistake, you are out of luck. Wouldn’t it be helpful to devise database query mechanisms that you can actually use and get reasonable results from even if you don’t ask it totally correctly? Complementarily, can the system help you ask a better question in the first place? Similar concerns also apply to the creation of a database, and helping users manage their data.

Melissa BortsMelissa Borts

CRA Bids Farewell to Melissa Borts


After serving the CRA-W community as a Program Associate for two and a half years, Melissa Borts has left CRA to return to school. Melissa is returning to her alma mater, the University of Maryland, to pursue her MBA.

Laura-HaasLaura-Haas

Former CRA Vice Chair Laura Haas Reflects on 35+ Years at IBM


On June 30, Laura Haas, former CRA vice chair, will retire from IBM research after 36 years in order to tackle a new challenge. In August, she will become dean of the new College of Information and Computer Sciences at the University of Massachusetts Amherst.

She reflects on her time at IBM a blog post – “Laura Haas: 36 years of making IBM Research ‘Famous for our science, vital to the world.'”

Emily-TangEmily-Tang

CRA Welcomes Emily Tang as a Tisdale Fellow


By Emily Tang, CRA Tisdale Fellow I’ve just finished my second year at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology where I’m majoring in electrical engineering and computer science with additional focuses in linguistics and applied international studies. I’m currently figuring out whether I’d like to pursue studying education technology (in particular technology to assist bilingual learning), […]

Claire-BradyClaire-Brady

CRA Welcomes Claire Brady


CRA has recently hired Claire Brady as a program manager. In her new role, she is responsible for planning CRA’s Committee on the Status of Women in Computing Research (CRA-W) program events and providing support to initiatives that enrich the community’s awareness of CRA, its committees, mission, and services.

Julia Hirschberg, CRA-W co-chair and former CRA board member, and Katherine Yelick, CCC council member.Julia Hirschberg, CRA-W co-chair and former CRA board member, and Katherine Yelick, CCC council member.

National Academy of Engineering Announces New Members


Today, the National Academy of Engineering (NAE) announced it has elected 84 new members and 22 foreign members. Among those elected were Julia Hirschberg, CRA-W co-chair and former CRA board member, and Katherine Yelick, CCC council member. Several of the members elected have a background in computing research; congratulations to all. Julia Hirschberg: Percy K. and Vida […]

How to Engage Your Alumni: The Story of UMD’s New Iribe Building


As computer science departments across the country grow rapidly, we all may feel overwhelmed by the staggering growth of our enrollments. While faculty growth still has not caught up with the influx of students, we cannot be anything but happy at the diversity of students who are choosing to become computer science majors. Many people may believe that alumni engagement begins after students earn their diplomas. That assumption is false. Alumni engagement begins the moment that students start their education in our departments. With planning, outreach, and genuine interest in their lives and careers, we make alumni engagement an important part of our mission in the Computer Science department at the University of Maryland (UMD).

richard-a-tapiarichard-a-tapia

Richard Tapia Receives the AAAS Public Engagement with Science Award


Recently, the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) named computational mathematician Richard Tapia from Rice University, the recipient of the 2016 AAAS Public Engagement with Science Award. The award recognizes Tapia’s “remarkable career blending world-class scholarship, admirable mentoring and profound contributions to science, technology, engineering and mathematics education and public engagement.”

It’s Not About the Money: Optimizing Academic-Industrial Partnerships


Today, more than ever, industry leaders are looking to partner with academic computer science programs. With available computer science expertise at a premium, they’re looking for ideas, for new hires, for help on crucial projects. Universities are the mother lode for the personnel and expertise they crave. On July 18, I presented at the CRA Conference at Snowbird session, “Local Corporate Labs, Centers and Development Offices: Optimizing Department/Industry,” which explored the growth of corporate lab culture, and I’d like to share some of insights from that talk.

Future of WorkFuture of Work

Rice to Host Conference on Humans, Machines, and the Future of Work


Those who attended this year’s CRA Snowbird conference may have heard Moshe Vardi’s provocative panel session on Humans, Machines, and the Future of Work, discussing the potential impact of computing technologies on employment and the nature of work over the coming years. Vardi makes a compelling case that the computing research community ought to be concerned with the impact its innovations will have on society, both positive and negative. To that end, Vardi has led an effort to pull together some of the leading thinkers from the computing, economics, and social science communities to consider the issue in Houston in December. The De Lange Conference on Humans, Machines, and the Future of Work will be held December 5-6, 2016, at Rice University. Here’s an announcement from the organizers (CRA is a co-sponsor).

Farnam JahanianFarnam Jahanian

Carnegie Corporation of New York Honors Farnam Jahanian


CRA Board Member Farnam Jahanian, who is provost of Carnegie Mellon University (CMU), was recently recognized the the Carnegie Corporation of New York’s “Great Immigrants – The Pride of America Campaign.” The CMU news site reported:

Since 2006, the corporation, which was established by CMU founder and Scottish immigrant Andrew Carnegie, has recognized the contributions of naturalized citizens with the “Great Immigrants” campaign. This year’s honorees will be saluted in public service announcements appearing in print and on a companion website.

“I thank the Carnegie Corporation for this wonderful honor,” Jahanian said. “Immigration has been a cornerstone of the American experiment. The ideals of freedom, equality, and opportunity unify us as a nation while the realization of these values celebrates our diversity. Through his dedication to advancing education, Andrew Carnegie provided opportunities to pursue this American Dream.”

Satoe SakumaSatoe Sakuma

Through the Screen of a Female Coder: A First Person Perspective on Diversity in STEM 


Again and again we hear that earning computing degrees leads to one of the highest starting salaries for college graduates and almost a guaranteed job after graduation. This information is supported by data from the National Association of Colleges and Employers who report computer science graduates have the second highest starting salary ($61,321 this year) and the highest full-time employment rate (76% within six months of graduation). A blog post from the Computing Community Consortium in March highlights 2016 Bureau of Labor Statistics job projection results, which found that computing occupations are projected to account for 73% of all newly-created STEM jobs during the decade (488,500 jobs), and 55% of all available STEM jobs, whether newly-created or available due to retirements (1,083,800 jobs over the decade). All of this isn’t new information. Many people are aware that the booming tech industry can be a ticket to job security and comfortable living. Data from the National Science Foundation in 2014, shows that there are approximately 17.8% of women studying computer science at the undergraduate level. So why is it every CS classroom I am in is filled with bright-eyed, eager young men, but a dismal number

Satoe SakumaSatoe Sakuma

CRA Welcomes Satoe Sakuma as its 2016 Eben Tisdale Fellow


By Satoe Sakuma, 2016 Eben Tisdale Fellow
I am currently a rising senior at Boston University, double majoring in computer science and international relations with a focus in East Asian economics. I am very interested in high tech public policy, especially areas of cybersecurity, because it allows me to utilize both my areas of studies. My two very different majors are finally coming together during my last year as an undergraduate student through my acceptance into the senior honors program, which requires a year-long research project culminating with a thesis and defense. My thesis will examine data privacy laws in East Asia.

Spafford and MynattSpafford and Mynatt

ACM General Election Results


ACM has recently announced its newly elected officers. Vicki L. Hanson, Rochester Institute of Technology and University of Dundee, was elected president. Cherri M. Pancake, Oregon State University, was elected vice president, and Elizabeth Churchill, Google, was elected secretary/treasurer.

CCC Vice Chair Elizabeth Mynatt, Georgia Tech, and former CRA Board Member Eugene H. Spafford, Purdue University, were among five individuals elected to be members at large, serving from July 1, 2016 to June 30, 2020.

Revisiting the Human-Machine Symbiosis


“The hope is that, in not too many years, human brains and computing machines will be coupled together very tightly, and that the resulting partnership will think as no human brain has ever thought and process data in a way not approached by the information-handling machines we know today.”
J. C. R. Licklider, “Man-Computer Symbiosis,” 1960

Fifty-six years ago, J. C. R. Licklider outlined a prescient vision for computing machines coupled with human brains and, together, thinking thoughts previously unattainable by human beings thinking on their own. This vision influenced a generation of scientists and engineers and is largely the basis for our experience of computing today. Yet, I don’t feel a partnership with my current machines, and I often find myself bending my brain, and subjugating my will, to adapt to them. Shouldn’t it be vice versa? Did I miss the symbiosis?

Johnson_DSJohnson_DS

In Memoriam: David Johnson


Former CRA Board Member David Johnson passed away yesterday at the age of 70. He was a leader and advocate for algorithms and all of theoretical computer science.

Schneider_FredSchneider_Fred

Fred Schneider Receives Service to CRA Award


The Computing Research Association (CRA) is pleased to honor Fred Schneider, the Samuel B. Eckert Professor and Chair of Computer Science at Cornell University, with a Service to CRA Award for his work with the organization. Fred was a member of the CRA Board from 2007 to 2016, during which time he thought deeply about how to have positive impact on the computing research community and spearheaded several key initiatives.

Pieter-AbbeelPieter-Abbeel

Rolling Stone Special Report on Artificial Intelligence     


Yesterday, Rolling Stone released part one of a special report on the artificial intelligence revolution. The article opens with a quote from Pieter Abbeel, a researcher at UC Berkeley and one of CRA’s 2016 CRA-E Undergraduate Research Faculty Mentoring Awardees. Pieter is one of three winners of the inaugural award which recognizes individuals for providing exceptional mentorship, undergraduate research experiences, and, in parallel, guidance on admission and matriculation of these students to research-focused graduate programs in computing.