BUCAN Newsletter for Spring 2008
Dear alumni, students, and friends,
Commencement is but one week away.
The Class of 2008 is packing up apartments and dorm rooms, and preparing for the big move -- to new places and to new opportunities. Competition among companies to recruit the students has been fierce! I was struck by the number of students who signed on for jobs as soon as late-December and early-January. We wish everyone the best in their pursuits and lives beyond BU.
The Department of Computer Science continues to be engaged in an impressive array of interdisciplinary research activities. During the past 12 months, CS faculty members have been involved as principal investigators and co-principal investigators in more that $17M of funded research projects. Nearly $9M (greater than 50%) of these grant-funded projects involved collaboration with faculty and researchers in other departments, centers, schools on campus. Not bad for a department with only 17 faculty!
A hearty homecoming welcome and congratulations go to Rebecca Norlander (CS '91), who will give the keynote address at the Department Commencement next weekend. Rebecca is the recipient of the first annual CS Distinguished Alumni Recognition Award (more details later in this newsletter). Congratulations also to Szu "Han" Chang (CS '08) who will give the student address, and to Michael Mallon who will receive a college prize for academic excellence.
Have an enjoyable and productive summer.
Stan Sclaroff, Chair
As we get ready to launch the Department's 25th anniversary celebrations, and in recognition of the many achievements of our alumni body, in the Fall of 2007 we established the BU/CS Distinguished Alumni Award -- an award to be given annually to a CS alumnus or alumna who has excelled in his or her professional career.
For 2008, the Department received a number of nominations, and by a unanimous vote of the Faculty, Rebecca Norlander (CAS'91) was selected as the winner.
In nominating Rebecca to this award, Azer Bestavros wrote
Rebecca will be receiving her award during the CS Convocation of the class of 2008.
Congratulations to Rebecca!
The BU/CS Research Excellence Award was established to recognize Ph.D. students who have produced outstanding research results over the course of their careers at Boston University. For 2008, Gabe Parmer won the award. Gabe pursues his research under Professor Rich West on the mechanisms and policies that are central to the design of dependable and predictable software systems. Quoting from the citation for the award: "In 2006, he co-authored a best-paper at IEEE RTAS, on the design of kernel- and user-level solutions for sandboxing application-specific real-time services," and "in 2007, Gabe had several notable first-author publications and presentations including at RTAS, RTSS, PDPTA and VMworld."
Currently, the Department is funding REA awards through discretionary funds available to individual faculty members. Suggestions for other means to support this initiative are welcome! For more information on the REA awards, please refer to http://www.cs.bu.edu/gradprogram/REA
On Wednesday March 19, 2008, the Department hosted its 8th Annual Industrial Affiliates Program (IAP) Research Day -- an opportunity for our students to show off results from their research work and to get feedback from a broad audience, and an opportunity for members of our larger community---including alumni of the Department---to get acquainted with the various research projects undertaken by members of our faculty. On display were 35 research projects and demos from a wide range of areas, including Operating Systems, Programming Languages, Networking, Security and Cryptography, Databases, and Computer Vision. In addition to undergraduate CS students and members of the faculty and administration from the wider BU community, visitors included members of a number of local research labs, including VMware, Google, BBN, Motorola, and EMC, as well as a number of prospective students.
Three prizes were awarded to the best poster presentations. These prizes went to Gabe Parmer on his poster and demo on the "Design and Implementation of Mutable Protection Domains", to Andrei Lapets for his poster on "A Typed Language for Truthful One-Dimensional Economic Mechanism Design", and to David Charlton for his poster on "Hinged Dissections in the Plane".
For more information (and pictures), check the IAP web pages at http://www.cs.bu.edu/IAP.
Professors Stan Sclaroff and Carol Neidle (of the Linguistics Dept) hope that before long it will be possible to demonstrate signs in front of a camera and have a computer look up their meaning. With a three-year, $900,000 National Science Foundation grant, they are collaborating on computer technology that could identify a sign based on its visual properties.
For more information, check: http://www.bu.edu/today/science-tech/2008/02/28/sign-times-asl
In an article by Chris Berdik in BU Today, Professors Azer Bestavros and Leo Reyzin argued that the recording industry's "litigation campaign" is a wrongheaded approach to protecting music copyright. They contended that the industry can't enforce its way out of its piracy predicament. Continued attempts to do so will spur the development of new file-sharing networks and new means to encrypt and cloak network user identity, leading to an Internet "arms race" with plenty of collateral damage -- falsely accused students, improperly filtered online communication, wasted resources, and stifled innovation -- but no solution to illegal downloads.
For the full article in BU Today, check: http://www.bu.edu/today/node/6750
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