News

Pulkit Agrawal, Jacob Andreas, and Cathy Wu join MIT faculty

CS alumni Pulkit Agrawal (M.S. '14/Ph.D. '18, adviser: Jitendra Malik) and Jacob Andreas (Ph.D. '18, adviser: Daniel Klein ) will join the MIT Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science,  and EE alumna Cathy Wu (Ph.D. '18, adviser: Alexandre Bayen)  will join the MIT Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, as assistant professors.  Agrawal, who co-founded SafelyYou, Inc., studies topics spanning robotics, deep learning, computer vision, and computational neuroscience.  Andreas, who was a member of the Berkeley Natural Language Processing Group and the Berkeley Artificial Intelligence Research Lab, focuses on using language as a scaffold for more efficient learning and as a probe for understanding model behavior.  Wu, who was recently awarded the Milton Pikarsky Memorial Award, focuses on research involving machine learning, robotics, intelligent systems, and mixed-autonomy mobility.

Ken Thompson to be inducted into 2019 National Inventors Hall of Fame

CS alumnus Ken Thompson (B.S.‘65/M.S.‘66) is a member of the 2019 class of inductees into the National Inventors Hall of Fame for creating the UNIX Operating System. Thompson and Dennis Ritchie's creation of the UNIX operating system and the C programming language were pivotal developments in the progress of computer science. Today, 50 years after its beginnings, UNIX and UNIX-like systems continue to run machinery from supercomputers to smartphones. The UNIX operating system remains the basis of much of the world's computing infrastructure, and C language -- written to simplify the development of UNIX -- is one of the most widely used languages today.

Barbara Grosz joins the Embedded EthiCS team

1997 Distinguished CS Alumna Barbara Grosz (M.S. '71/Ph.D. '77, adviser: Martin Graham), the Higgins Professor of Natural Sciences at Harvard, is part of the Embedded EthiCS @ Harvard team, which aims to bring  "ethical reasoning into the computer science curriculum."  Embedded EthiCS  is a collaboration between philosophers and computer scientists at Harvard, led by faculty from both fields. Post-doctoral fellows and advanced graduate students meet weekly for a teaching lab to develop Embedded EthiCS modules.  The aim of Embedded EthiCS is to teach students to consider not merely what technologies they could create, but whether they should create them.  "The Embedded EthiCS distributed pedagogy embeds philosophers directly into computer science courses to teach students how to think through the ethical and social implications of their work."

"Mother of All Demos" 50th anniversary

On December 9, 2018, the Computer History Museum is celebrating the 50th anniversary of the famous presentation by alumnus Douglas Engelbart dubbed the "Mother of All Demos."  On December 9, 1968, Engelbart (BS ‘52/MS ‘53/Ph.D. '55, adviser: Paul Morton) demonstrated real-time human interaction with a computer for the first time.  His radical presentation introduced the world to the computer mouse, word processing, and clickable hypertext links, and became the benchmark for how entrepreneurs pitch ideas to investors.  The museum is holding an all-day symposium to honor the event.

Kim Keeton and Tom Funkhouser named ACM Fellows

Computer Science alumni Kimberly Keeton (M.S. '94/Ph.D. '99, adviser: David Patterson) and Thomas Funkhouser (M.S. '89/Ph.D. '93, adviser: Carlo Séquin) have been elected 2018 Fellows of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM).  Keeton, who works at Hewlett Packard Laboratories, was elected "For contributions to improving the dependability, manageability, and usability of storage and novel memory."  Funkhouser, of Princeton University and Google, was elected "For research contributions in computer graphics."

IIT establishes Soumitra Dutta Chair in Artificial Intelligence

The Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) has established "The Soumitra Dutta Chair in Artificial Intelligence," named for CS alumnus Soumitra Dutta (M.S. '87/Ph.D. '90 adviser: Lotfi Zadeh), "to promote excellence and leadership in teaching, research, and development in the field of artificial intelligence and to facilitate wider and deeper interaction between the industry and IIT Delhi faculty and students."  Dutta, the founding Dean of the SC Johnson College of Business at Cornell University, is  best known for being the architect of the Global Innovation Index.

Diane Greene makes Americas 50

CS alumnus Diane Greene (M.S. '88), the CEO of Google Cloud, has been named to Data Economy's list of Americas 50: The world’s first top 50 North, Central and South American influencers.  The list highlights "personalities who are leading data centres, cloud, edge computing and data through charting new innovations or technological breakthroughs, sheer investment or business acumen, or exceptional entrepreneurial skillsets."

Mike Nelson joins Xcalar as Chief Scientist

CS alumnus Mike Nelson (Ph.D. '88, advisor: John Ousterhout), has become Chief Scientist at Xcalar, a fast-growing big data processing and virtual data warehouse platform.  While at Berkeley, Neslon was a key member of the team that developed the Sprite Distributed Operating System.  He was a fellow and one of the first engineers at VMware, where he was the lead architect of VMkernel, an operating system designed to run virtual machines that is the foundation for all VMware server products. At Xcalar, he will be responsible for spearheading the company's Cloud and Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) efforts.

Barbara Simons to be awarded Athena Lifetime Achievement Award

2005 CS Distinguished Alumna Barbara Simons (Ph.D. '81) will be receiving the Athena Lifetime Achievement Award at the CITRIS Women in Tech Symposium on Friday, 11/16.  Simons, who is a past president of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM), is board chair of Verified Voting, a non-partisan organization that advocates for reliable and secure voting practices.  She is the author of “Broken Ballots: Will Your Vote Count?” and is a long-time champion for programs to increase diversity in computer science and engineering.  She will not be able to attend the conference but will make an appearance in a short video.

IP paper wins 2018 ACM SenSys Test of Time Award

A paper written by CS Prof. David Culler and alumnus Jonathan Hui (M.S. '05/Ph.D. '08) in 2008 titled "IP is Dead, Long Live IP for Wireless Sensor Networks" has won the Association of Computing Machinery (ACM) Conference on Embedded Networked Sensor Systems (SenSys) 2018 Test of Time Award.  The paper dispelled the notion that IP cannot run on wireless embedded sensors and made a long term impact  on standards like 6LoWPAN and platforms like Thread.  The award recognizes papers that are at least 10 years old and have had long lasting impact on networked embedded sensing system science and engineering.  Culler previously won this award in both 2014 and 2015.