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- Computer Forum
Dear Alumni and Friends:
I am pleased to write to you as the new chair of the computer science department. As some of you know, I am a Stanford CS alum myself, and for many years, especially before I came back to Stanford, I would look forward to receiving the alumni newsletter to find out what was going on in CS at Stanford. It is hard to believe� just a few short years ago I was struggling with my thesis and wondering if I would ever graduate from Stanford, and now here I am writing this newsletter.
Some of you will be disappointed since I am not quite as "exciting" a chair as my predecessor, Jean-Claude Latombe. As you all know, J.C. is a mountain climber so his newsletters were filled with exhilarating reports about his climbs. We never knew if he was going to come back dead or alive from scaling this or that peak. On the other hand, my only hobby is photography, and to date I have never heard of anyone getting killed by a camera. Furthermore my idea of a good time is staying home and renting a good movie, as opposed to flying to Kyrgyzstan, avoiding fundamentalist guerillas, trekking to some remote peak, and then getting frostbite.
If you think I am kidding, here is J.C.'s report of his activities this year: "In the 2000 news-letter, I wrote that one of my goals for the summer was to climb Muztagh Ata (25,000 ft or 7500 m), a mountain located in the Chinese Pamir. Another climber and I brought our skis to the summit and skied the mountain down to the snow level at 18,000 ft. Muztagh Ata is an easy 7000 m-mountain and I recommend it to all skiers who are tired of using ski lifts in touristy resorts, want to push their lungs to the limits, and wish to slalom among crevasses. Immediately after stepping down as chairman on 12/31/00, I flew to Argentina where I did a solitary climb of Aconcagua, the highest peak in the Americas. Three months later I was in Nepal to climb Makalu, the 5th highest peak of the world and one of the most difficult 8000 m-mountains. But, this time, I did not reach the top. For the first time in my mountaineering trips, I had a satellite connection to the Internet and may have spent too much energy reading and sending emails."
Now on to some of the more official news items.
Two new faculty members are planning to join our department. Serafim Batzoglou will be joining us this fall. His research is in Computational Molecular Biology. He got his Ph.D. from MIT in June 2000, and his thesis was "Computational Genomics: Mapping, Comparison, and Annotation of Genomes." Serafim has made contributions to whole genome shotgun assembly, cross-species gene comparison for gene detection and protein sequence prediction, sequencing large genomes, and computational methods for gene detection. This is a particularly exciting time for the department to expand in this area since we have a lot of involvement in the Bio-X initiative.
Christos Kozyrakis will be joining the department in fall of 2002. His research is on the architecture and design of computer systems, with his main focus on areas beyond desktop computing, such as embedded and portable applications. He will receive his Ph.D. from Berkeley in January 2002. His thesis is "Scalable Vector Media-Processors for Embedded Systems." He is the lead student of Berkeley's IRAM project, and has done notable work on adapting vector architecture to embedded media-processing applications.
Our department is also looking for a new associate chair. Eric Roberts has held the position of associate chair since 1990, but starting September 1, 2001 he will be the new dean of Education and Student Affairs for the School of Engineering. Eric will continue to teach in the CS department halftime. In his SoE role, Eric succeeds John Bravman, who is now Stanford's vice provost for undergraduate education.
Daphne Koller was promoted to associate professor with tenure. Daphne has been in our department since 1995, and works on AI and Theory. Her main research focus is on dealing with complex domains that involve large amounts of uncertainty. Most of her work is based on the use of probabilistic graphical models such as Bayesian networks, influence diagrams, and Markov decision processes.
Richard Fikes was reappointed to professor (research). His primary research interests are in the areas of techniques for effectively representing and using knowledge in computer systems. His current research focuses on developing large-scale distributed repositories of computer-interpretable knowledge, collaborative development of multi-use ontologies, representing computer-interpretable knowledge on Web pages, reasoning methods applicable to large-scale knowledge bases, compositional modeling of physical devices, and model-based reasoning methods to support engineering design, diagnosis, and control.
Dan Boneh was reappointed as assistant professor. His main research focus is on applied cryptography and network security. Dan has been active in organizing our department's Security Lab, together with Mary Baker, David Dill, John Mitchell, Daphne Koller, and other faculty.
Oussama Khatib was promoted to full professor. Oussama's interests are in methodologies and technologies of autonomous robots, cooperative robots, human-centered robotics, haptic interaction, dynamic simulation, virtual environments, augmented teleoperation, and human-friendly robot design. His Stanford Robotic Manipulation Group conducts research in dexterous and efficient robotic manipulation covering areas in haptics, humanoid motions, real-time path planning, advanced redundant and mobile manipulators. In other words, he makes robots dance and play!
Congratulations to all four for their great contributions to the department!!
This year brought a number of faculty retirements. The retiring faculty members have had long and distinguished careers, but the good news is that their long and distinguished careers will continue into retirement. That is, most of our emeritus faculty have offices in the Gates Building, they continue to participate in the life of the department, and some of them even claim they work harder in retirement than they did before!
Vaughan Pratt joined our faculty in 1981 after a professorship at MIT. He helped found Sun Microsystems in 1982 and is the designer of Sun's logo and the Pixrect graphics system. He worked in natural language, analysis of algorithms, and logics of programs in the 1970's, and in concurrency modeling, computer graphics, and digital typography in the 1980's. His current interest is Chu spaces and their many applications, and handled PCs. His Wearables Lab designs highly wearable general purpose PCs such as the Matchbox PC (a match box size PC), and improved interfaces to wearable computers. His bachelor's and master's degrees are from Sydney University, and his Ph.D. (1972) is from Stanford University; his advisor was Don Knuth. Vaughan retired in September 2000 to devote his time to a new startup.
John McCarthy joined our faculty in 1962 (I actually took a class from him when I was a grad student here!) His research is mainly in artificial intelligence, in which he developed an interest in 1948 and coined the term in 1955. He invented the LISP programming language in 1958, developed the concept of time-sharing in the late fifties and early sixties, and has worked on proving that computer programs meet their specifications since the early sixties. He invented the circumscription method of non-monotonic reasoning in 1978. He has held former faculty appointments at Dartmouth and MIT. John retired January 1, 2001.
Gio Wiederhold has been on our faculty since 1976 (and actually was my Ph.D. advisor - I was his first Ph.D. graduate!) Gio's interests are in database systems and medical information systems. Gio started working with computers for numerical applications in 1957. In the late sixties, he led the development of real-time data acquisition and database systems to support clinical research. After gaining 16 years of industrial experience, he returned to school and joined the Stanford faculty in 1976. At Stanford he initiated research into knowledge-based techniques for information and database management. His current focus has shifted to the problems encountered in the integration and composition of large-scale networked and software systems. He coined the term "mediator" for a software component (some would say agent) that combines information from multiple sources. Gio retired June 30, 2001.
Finally, Joe Oliger is retiring in September 2001. Joe is one of our experts in numerical analysis and numerical methods for partial differential equations. Joe likes to simulate physical systems whose behavior is determined by systems of partial differential equations. He also constructs algorithms for large-scale scientific computations in meteorology, oceanography, aerodynamics, and hydrodynamics. Joe has been at Stanford since 1974, after receiving his Ph.D. from the University of Uppsala. He is one of the four founders of the SCCM Program in 1987. Joe is in the process of buying a home in the High Sierras and plans to commute to Stanford, though not every day.
- Dan Boneh, Pat Hanrahan, Chris Manning, and I received IBM University Partnership Program (UPP) research awards. The UPP is a competitive IBM program that provides cash awards to recognize and support individual professors and/or research projects.
- Dan Boneh also received a Packard Fellowship. Since 1988, the Packard Foundation has awarded Packard Fellowships for Science and Engineering to allow the nation's most promising young professors to pursue their science and engineering research with few funding restrictions and limited paperwork requirements. Dan was awarded the fellowship to allow him to pursue his research interests in applied cryptography and network security.
- The undergraduate senate of the Associated Students of Stanford University (ASSU) selected Armando Fox to receive one of two 2000-01 ASSU Teaching Awards. Armando joined the Stanford faculty in January 1999, after receiving his doctorate from the University of California-Berkeley.
- Jeff Ullman was awarded the Knuth Prize in October 2000. The Knuth Prize is awarded for major research accomplishments and contributions to the foundations of computer science over an extended period of time.
- Nanni DeMicheli received the IEEE CAS Golden Jubilee Award, and was named an ACM Fellow.
- David Dill became an IEEE Fellow in January.
- Ron Fedkiw got an Office of Naval Research Young Investigator Program (YIP) Award. He will pursue algorithm design for computational fluid dynamics, in particular to calculate pressures in flowing fluids near an interface. These numerical techniques will also be applied to three-dimensional visualization of data and image processing. Ron also received the Computer Graphics World's 2000 Innovation Award (with Arete Entertainment).
- Rajeev Motwani was awarded the 2001 Godel Prize for the paper "Proof Verification and the Hardness of Approximations" by Arora, Lund, Motwani, Sudan, and Szegedy. The Godel Prize for outstanding papers in the area of theoretical computer science is sponsored jointly by the European Association for Theoretical Computer Science (EATCS) and the Special Interest Group on Algorithms and Computing Theory of the Association of Computing Machinery (ACM-SIGACT). The prize is named in honor of Kurt Godel in recognition of his major contributions to mathematical logic and of his recently discovered interest in what has become the famous "P versus NP" question.
- Balaji Prabhakar was awarded the Erlang Prize at the annual INFORMS (Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences) in San Antonio. The Erlang Prize is awarded, at most, once every two years by the Applied Probability Society of INFORMS to an applied probabilist under the age of thirty-five who has shown great promise by already making outstanding contributions to applied probability.
- Dawson Engler won Best Paper Award at Operating System Design and Implementation (OSDI 2000).
- Daphne Koller received the IJCAI Computers and Thought Award, a bi-annual award presented to an "outstanding AI researcher under the age of 35." It will be presented at the International Joint Conference on Artificial Intelligence (IJCAI), 2001 this August.
- John McCarthy received an honorary doctorate from the University of Erlangen in Germany.
COMPUTER FORUM NEWS
My term as forum director concluded on December 31, 2000 (when I became chair), at which time Professor Fouad Tobagi took over as director. It has been the mission of the Computer Forum since its founding in 1968 to establish stronger ties between the computer science communities in industry and at Stanford, and Fouad is committed to this goal. Many of you already know Fouad. He is a professor in the Departments of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science and has been a member of the Stanford faculty since 1978, doing research in the field of networking in general and the Internet in particular. The Computer Forum continues to bring industry, faculty, and students together at events and programs throughout the year. Last fall the Forum held a regional symposium for our East Coast members at IBM Yorktown Heights in New York. In June, faculty and students traveled to Tokyo for the Forum's Second World Symposium. Close to one fourth of the Forum members are companies from Japan so the program was tailored to address their specific interests. The Annual Affiliates Meeting, held on campus in March, provided a snapshot of the research being done in the department and CSL. We often hold specialized workshops in conjunction with the annual meeting. Areas addressed by this year's two workshops were computer security and surgical simulation.
While industry may be in a state of transition, the attendance at the Fifth Annual Job Fair proved that recruiting computer science and systems students is still going strong. Already, this year's fall and winter recruiting schedules are almost all filled.
Visit the Forum's Web site (forum.stanford.edu) for video clips on these and other events, to learn about the various programs available to members, and to find out what to look forward to in the coming year.
- Our department awarded 126 B.S. degrees for the academic year 2000-2001. The Undergraduate Honors recipients were Matt Bell, Austin Che, Seth Hallem, Plomarz Irani, Mark Pearson, Michelle Tam, and Jacob Whitehill. The Ben Wegbreit Award winners (a tie) were Austin Che and Mark Pearson. Mark Pearson was also awarded a University Firestone Medal for his honors thesis.
- A total of 156 M.S. degrees were awarded this year. The M.S. with Distinction in Research recipients were Magnus Almgren, Meenakshy Chakravorty, Benjamin Mowery, and Caesar Sengupta.
- The Christofer Stephenson Memorial Award winners (a tie) were Magnus Almgren and Caesar Sengupta.
- Matt Bell was selected for an Honorable Mention in the Computing Research Association's 2001 Outstanding Undergraduate Award competition.
- Two Stanford programming teams blew away the competition at the ACM Pacific Northwest Regionals at Cal State Chico. The team of David Pecora, Daniel Wright, and Jon McAlister won the contest, finishing five of the problems. The only other team to finish five problems was UC Berkeley, but the Stanford team finished the problems in significantly less time. The team of Eugene Davydov, Mark Pearson, and Benjamin Lynn also did very well, completing four problems and taking third place. David, Daniel, and Jon went on to the international contest in Vancouver, B.C. in March where they placed 14th overall.
- The 2000 Arthur L. Samuel Thesis Awards went to Avi Pfeffer (now at Harvard) and Roy Goldman (now at Radik).
- The 2000 CS Student Service Award went to Ph.D. student Dave Park and M.S. student Laurence Melloul (Laurence is now a Ph.D. student doing her research work with Armando Fox.)
- The 2000 Forsythe Award went to Yves Lu.
- Carlos Guestrin was selected as a Centennial TA for 1999-2000.
- Heidy Maldonado was the Centennial TA award winner for 2000-2001. She received her B.S. in CS in September 1997, her M.S. in CS in June 2000, and is currently a Ph.D. student in the School of Education.
- Margaret Johnson (senior lecturer) was awarded a teaching award by Tau Beta Pi, the engineering honor society, for "excellence in the teaching of undergraduate engineering courses."
- Claire Stager won a Stanford Graduate Service Award for service to the graduate student community.
- Laura Kenny-Carlson and Christine Fiksdal won the CS Distinguished Service Awards for 2000.
- Charlie Orgish won the 2000 Marshall D. O'Neill Award, with which faculty members acknowledge exceptional and enduring staff contributions to university research.
Daphne Koller has helped establish a new program for CS undergraduates to work with faculty on research projects during the summer. The CURIS (Computer-Science Undergraduate Research -5-InternShip Program) program is employing 35 students working with 15 CS faculty on a variety of projects. This program has received funding from VPUE (Vice Provost of Undergraduate Education), the School of Engineering, the computer science department, and individual CS faculty. It is a wonderful opportunity for our undergraduates to explore some of the research conducted in our department.
In March 2001, we participated in the first Stanford-Berkeley CS Day at Berkeley. Two buses full of students and faculty went to Berkeley for a set of talks and panels by Stanford and Berkeley CS faculty. Stanford speakers included John Hennessy, Marc Levoy, Chris Bregler, and Don Knuth. The event was a big success and we are already planning the next one in the series, which will be held at Stanford in 2002.
Tiqit Computers Inc., a spinoff of the Stanford Wearable Computing Laboratory, was one of the five finalist manufacturers (along with Boeing, Dell Computer, Delphi Automotive, and NTT DoCoMo) in the 2001 Computerworld Smithsonian Honors Program. Tiqit was honored for its Matchbox PC (the world's smallest full-capability PC) that was designed at the Stanford lab. For more details click on News at www.tiqit.com where you can also find details about the Matchbox computer's appearance in Guinness Records 2000 and 2001 as the world's smallest Web server.
Jennifer Widom climbed to the very top of Mt. Fuji, at 5 a.m. in order to see the sunrise (Don't people have anything better to do at 5 a.m.?)
There are two new fountains in front of the Gates Building. One of them sits in the middle of Serra Street, a counterpart to the one in front of Hoover Tower (however, ours is much smaller). The other one is actually a fountain and a clock; it sits between our building and the Packard Building (EE). It was designed by Maya Lin, who designed the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington D.C. Both fountains are great, and you should come visit them (and us of course) next time you are in the area.
Construction of the new Bio-X Clark Center started this summer, between the Gates Building and the medical school. The building is going up on what used to be a parking lot across Campus Drive from us. The parking lot is gone so when you come to visit us - and the fountains - you'll probably have to park in San Francisco, so be ready for a nice healthy walk!
Our faculty members continue to be reckless. John Mitchell broke his shoulder and Bill Dally broke his neck while riding their bicycles. Well, maybe I am exaggerating a bit, but both of them were walking around with slings and braces for a while. Fortunately both are fine now and hopefully riding their bikes more carefully.
Have you seen the movies "Mummy Returns" and "Jurassic Park III?" It turns out that our very own Ron Fedkiw worked on the special effects for these movies, specifically on the smoke that appears in some scenes. Unfortunately, I hear the plot for these movies is not too hot - they should have hired me to work on the plot, in addition to hiring Ron to work on the smoke!
Finally, last year Jean-Claude promised to set up a Web site so that our alumni could report their news. Unfortunately, the Web site was not set up, so I do not have alumni news to report. Sorry! This year we are going to a lower tech solution. Please send your alumni news items for our next newsletter to firstname.lastname@example.org. I will include your postings in the next newsletters. Please send lots of news. The more you send, the less I have to write to fill up the newsletter!! No, seriously, we do want to keep up with our alumni and hear what you are up to. So do keep in touch!!