BUCAN Newsletter for Fall 2009
Dear alumni, students, and friends,
University campus is reenergized by the arrival of our new and returning
students. Add to this the arrival of three new tenure-track faculty members
to our department, and the excitement is palpable.
Stan Sclaroff, Chair
The 2009 CS
Convocation ceremony was held on May 17th and featured well-received
speeches by guest speaker Colin Angle and student speaker Robert Paul
Solorio. Pictures from the convocation ceremonies are available at http://www.cs.bu.edu/misc/Graduation2009/.
This was an extraordinary year for faculty searches! Working with the College, the Department was able to make offers to the top candidate in every one of the three areas identified for faculty growth in our the Department's Strategic Plan: Jonathan Appavoo (Systems), Evimaria Terzi (Informatics), and Sharon Goldberg (Trustworthy Computing).
Jonathan Appavoo completed his Ph.D. in Computer Science at the
University of Toronto in 2005. Jonathan's research interests encompass
multi-processor operating systems and "cloud computing" on large clusters of
computers. In his doctoral thesis, he devised a technique called "Clustered
Objects" that tackled inherent problems in the design of large-scale
multi-processing computer platforms. Before joining Boston University,
Jonathan was a Research Staff Member at the IBM T.J. Watson Research Center
in New York, where he worked in the Advanced Operating Systems (OS) Group.
While at IBM, Jonathan initiated Project Kittyhawk to support a
global-scale computational utility. The idea attracted significant attention
in the increasingly popular area of cloud computing. Jonathan's work on
Kittyhawk has been applied to the IBM Blue Gene System.
J Allard (CAS 1991) received the honorary degree, Doctor of Letters at the University commencement in May. The following is the citation in the Commencement program:
Congratulations to J!
By a unanimous vote of the Faculty, Manuela Veloso (GRS MA'86) was selected as the winner of the 2009 BU/CS Distinguished Alumni Award. Manuela was one of three nominees considered by the award selection committee, which consisted of representatives from the CS faculty, students, and alumni.
In recommending her for the award, the selection committee noted the many achievements of Manuela as detailed in the following excerpt the committee's report:
Manuela will be giving a CS colloquium at 2pm on Friday October 9th, after which she will be accepting her award in a special ceremony. This talk is open to the public. For more details, check the Department's Event Calendar.
John Byers and his co-authors Michael Luby, Michael Mitzenmacher, and Ashutosh Rege have won the ACM SIGCOMM Test of Time Award for their publication in the Proceedings of ACM SIGCOMM 1998 of a paper entitled "A Digital Fountain Approach to Reliable Distribution of Bulk Data". The ACM SIGCOMM Test of Time Award recognizes papers published 10 to 12 years in the past in the ACM Computer Communication Review or any ACM-SIGCOMM sponsored or co-sponsored conference that is deemed to be an outstanding paper whose contents are still a vibrant and useful contribution today. Congratulations to John for this extraordinary recognition!
Margrit Betke was notified that a pending $2.85M NSF proposal has been selected for funding. This five-year interdisciplinary research effort with co-PI's Joyce Wong (Biomedical Engineering), Stan Sclaroff (Computer Science), and Tom Kunz (Biology) will focus on developing a systematic and comprehensive approach to reasoning about the motion of large groups of living organisms observed in video data, including research on computer vision algorithms for intelligent tracking of large groups of living individuals, development of specific systems for tracking groups of microorganisms, bats, birds, and humans, and formulation of machine learning methods for analyzing group behavior, specifically the conditions for formation and dispersal of groups, and the interactions of individuals within a group. Congratulations to Margrit for this major achievement!
Doctoral students Kyle Burke and Jorge Londono won the 2008/09 CS Research Excellence Award. Kyle Burke's research has been on games built upon mathematical theorems that are fundamental to Economics. These games can be valuable for computer science and mathematics education. Jorge Londono's research focuses on optimization and game-theoretic approaches for embedding multiple overlay (virtual) networks into a single shared (physical) host network. Such network embedding problems are central to emerging cloud computing and virtualization paradigms. Congratulations to Kyle and Jorge for this recognition!
Doctoral student Andrei Lapets received a BU/GRS Teaching Fellow Award in April 2009. Andrei has demonstrated the greatest skill, enthusiasm and dedication in his teaching during 2008. He has received excellent teaching evaluations and praise from both instructors and students. Also, doctoral student Sarah Zatko received the departmental Teaching Fellow Award in April 2009. Sarah has received high praise for her unique approachable teaching style that makes her very accessible and helpful to the students. Congratulations to Andrei and Sarah!
Flavio Esposito received a student travel award to present a paper at the 2008 GENI Engineering Conference in Palo Alto, CA. Sowmya Manjanatha received an NSF Student Travel Award to attend the 2008 ACM/IEEE Mobicom Conference in San Francisco, CA. Raymond Sweha received an NSF Student Award to attend WASA'09, the International Conference on Wireless Algorithms, Systems, and Applications. Sarah Zatko won the award for best student paper for her talk (with Marshall van Alstyne) on Using Markets and Spam to Combat Malware, at the 2009 MIT Spam Conference.
BU Today ran a story last Spring on how the "Seeing-Eye Mouse" (developed by Margrit Betke and her collaborators and students) enables the disabled to roam cyberspace.
In that article, Margrit notes that "The community of people with severe disabilities is not really well served by computer science since many people impaired by diseases like multiple sclerosis or ALS can't type Google searches; they can't play video games, and they can't click on a friend's e-mail." For the last eight years, Margrit and her collaborators have worked on the "camera mouse" -- a computer-vision-based input device that allows the disabled to interact with a computer using facial movements and cues. The camera mouse was adapted to work with several popular programs, such as Microsoft Word, and has been used with custom software that allows computer users with disabilities to type e-mails, edit photographs, create music, and fight space aliens, among other activities. After a failed attempt to build a company around the camera mouse, Margrit and her collaborators decided to give the camera mouse away online, resulting in about 2,500 downloads every month from "as far away as Australia and Uzbekistan"!
You may read the entire article on-line at http://www.bu.edu/today/node/8665 and also watch a video interview with Margrit. Check it out!
It is now time to solicit nominations for the 2010 Distinguished Alumni Award. All alumni are invited to submit nominations. Nominations will be accepted via email sent to firstname.lastname@example.org. A nomination must include current contact information for both the nominator and nominee, and a short (1-2 paragraph) justification. Self nominations are welcome.
The CS Distinguished Alumni Award was established in 2008 to recognize CS alumnus or alumna who has excelled in his or her professional career. Rebecca Norlander received this award in 2008 and as mentioned earlier in this Newsletter, Manuela Veloso will be receiving this award for 2009.
For more information, check the CS Distinguished Alumni Award Web site.
It seems that cyberspace is under constant attack! This summer, "denial of
service" attacks shut down Twitter and also affected Facebook. On July 4, a
cyber attack took down government Web sites in the South Korea and the
United States, including the US Treasury Department, Secret Service, and Federal
Trade Commission. The attack also targeted large commercial Web sites such
as the New York Stock Exchange. Earlier in the year, the Wall Street Journal
reported that cyberspies from Russia, China, and other countries had
breached the U.S. electrical grid and left malware that could be used to
seize control of the grid.
As part of the BU Arts and Science Discoveries Series, the CS Department will be organizing a panel entitled "Cyber-Terrorism/Warfare -- The Emergent Threat: Strategies for Survival," which will examine and discuss issues related to the security and safety of cyberspace. Current confirmed panelists include: Dr. Robert Popp (GRS, MA'92) of NSI Inc., Professors Arthur Hulnick and Joseph Wippl of the BU IR Department, and Professors Leo Reyzin and Azer Bestavros (moderator) of the BU CS Department.
The panel is planned for November 19th at 7:00pm and will be held in the Photonics Building (PHO-206). Further details will be posted on the Discoveries Series Web Site.
Mark the Date!
Last year, a record-breaking 1,700 alumni came back to campus for a weekend of BU fun with old friends. However high the numbers get, though, the party is not complete without you. So mark your calendar and make plans to join us for: Alumni College classes, Reunions with your classmates, BU-wide celebrations, and more at the all-alumni event of the year. Alumni Weekend 2009 will be October 23-25.
For more information, check the Alumni Weekend Web Site.
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