Archive for the ‘awards’ category


Computer Scientist Among the Winners of the 2015 MacArthur Fellowship

October 8th, 2015
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2015 MacArthur Fellows

The MacArthur Foundation has named its 2015 class of MacArthur Fellows, recognizing 24 exceptionally creative individuals with a track record of achievement and the potential for significant contributions in the future.

Fellows will each receive a no-strings-attached stipend of $625,000, paid out over five years. The Fellowship comes with no stipulations or reporting requirements, and allows recipients maximum freedom to follow their own creative visions.

One of the fellows is John Novembre, a computational biologist in the Department of Human Genetics at the University of Chicago, who is shedding new light on human evolutionary history, population structure and migration, and the etiology of genetic diseases.

Another one of the fellows is Christopher Ré, a computer scientist in the Department of Computer Science at Stanford University, who is democratizing big data analytics through theoretical advances in statistics and logic and groundbreaking data-processing applications for solving practical problems. Ré has leveraged his training in databases and deep knowledge of machine learning to create an inference engine, DeepDive, that can analyze data of a kind and at a scale that is beyond the current capabilities of traditional databases.

To read more about John Novembre and Christopher Ré as well as the other 2015 MacArthur Fellows click here.

The 2015 Grace Hopper Celebration ABIE Award Winners

September 15th, 2015

The Anita Borg Institute (ABI), a non-profit organization focused on the advancement of women in computing, has announced the winners of the 2015 Grace Hopper Celebanita borg instituteration (GHC) ABIE Awards.

Each year, the GHC ABIE Awards recognize female leaders in the categories of technical leadership, social impact, innovative teaching practices, emerging leadership and international change agent.  

The winners are nominated by their peers and chosen by a panel of fellow technologists and past ABIE Award winners based on their extraordinary achievements and commitment to excellence.

This year’s GHC ABIE Awards and their winners, respectively, are:

Technical Leadership ABIE Award 

The Technical Leadership ABIE Award recognizes women technologists who demonstrate leadership through their contributions to technology and achievements in increasing the impact of women on technology.

  • Winner: Lydia E. Kavraki, Noah Harding Professor of Computer Science and Professor of Bioengineering at Rice UniversityHer research focuses on physical algorithms and their applications in robotics, computational structural biology, and translational bioinformatics.

Social Impact ABIE Award 

The Social Impact ABIE Award recognizes those who have made a positive impact on women, technology, and society. 

  • Winner: Michal Segalov and Daniela Raijman, team of software engineers from Google who co-founded Mind the Gap, a Google program focused on encouraging high school girls to select computer science and math as their high-school major.

Change Agent ABIE Awards 

The Change Agent ABIE Awards recognize international women who have created opportunities for girls and women in technology abroad.

Richard Newton Educator ABIE Award 

The A. Richard Newton Educator ABIE Award recognizes educators who develop innovative teaching practices and approaches that attract girls and women to computing, engineering, and math.

Denice Denton Emerging Leader ABIE Award 

The Denice Denton Emerging Leader ABIE Award recognizes a junior faculty member for high-quality research and significant positive impact on diversity. 

  • Winner: Lydia Tapia, Assistant Professor in Computer Science at the University of New Mexico where she researches methodologies for the simulation and analysis of motions. She has applied these ideas to both robots and disease causing proteins.

The Anita Borg Institute will celebrate the ABIE Award winners at the 2015 Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing, held in Houston, Texas on October 14 – 16, 2015.

For more information on the Awards and the winners, read the press release on the Anita Borg website.

35 Innovators Under the Age of 35, 2015

August 20th, 2015

Every year the MIT Technology Review publishes a list of 35 innovators under the age of tech review

They recently published the list for 2015. Of the 35 innovators, 13 are working on problems related to computer science.

This list includes Travis Deyle who was a member of the Computing Community Consortium’s (CCC) CI Fellow program in 2011. He now works at the Google X research lab. He was part of the team that is working on glucose-measuring contact lenses.

Some of the other computer scientists include Yevgen Borodin, the CEO of Charmtech Labs, who is developing software to help the blind listen to online content; Zakir Durumeric, a PhD student at the University of Michigan, who has developed a quick process to help discover security flaws in machines connected to the internet; and Conor Walsh, a faculty member at Harvard and its Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering, who is creating a lightweight, wearable exosuits that can augment and improve the wearers abilities.

Check out the rest of the MIT Technology Review’s 35 Innovators Under 35 here.

Great Innovative Idea- Known Unknowns: Testing in the Presence of Uncertainty

June 3rd, 2015

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The following Great Innovative Idea is from Sebastian Elbaum, Professor of Computer Science and Engineering at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and David S. Rosenblum, Dean of the School of Computing at the National University of Singapore.

Their paper Known Unknowns: Testing in the Presence of Uncertainty won second place at the Computing Community Consortium (CCC) sponsored Blue Sky Ideas Conference Track series at the 22nd ACM SIGSOFT International Symposium on Foundations of Software Engineering (FSE), November 16-22, 2014 in Hong Kong.

The Innovative Idea

Uncertainty is present in most systems we build today, whether introduced by human decisions, machine learning algorithms, external libraries, or sensing variability. This uncertainty leads to occasional misbehavior or incorrect output that is deemed to be acceptable. In the context of software testing, this uncertainty makes it difficult to distinguish acceptable from unacceptable misbehaviors, and to determine when there are faults in the system that are being masked by acceptable misbehaviors. Existing approaches to deal with uncertainty in testing have been partial and of limited scope, leaving the systematic treatment of uncertainty in testing still open.  In the paper, we explore the use of Hidden Markov Models and statistical reasoning about behaviors observed during testing in order to distinguish between acceptable misbehavior and behavioral errors that are due to latent faults.


The idea will allow us to deal better with uncertainty that arises in modern complex software systems in many different forms, such as imprecision in readings from hardware sensors or imprecision in machine learning-based classifiers, and correspondingly in a broad range of applications from human activity recognition to quadcopter stabilization.

Other Research

We both work in testing and analysis of complex software systems.  Sebastian has interests in the development and assessment of automated techniques to improve software dependability. David has interests in the design, verification and testing of distributed systems and context-aware ubiquitous computing systems.

Researcher’s Background

Sebastian is a Professor of Computer Science and Engineering at the University of Nebraska – Lincoln (UNL). He is a co-founder of the E2 Software Engineering Group at UNL, and the Nimbus UAV Lab at UNL. He is the Program Co-Chair for the 2015 International Conference in Software Engineering, and a member of the ACM Transactions on Software Engineering and Methodology Editorial Board.


David is Professor of Computer Science and Dean of the School of Computing at the National University of Singapore (NUS).  He previously held academic positions at University College London and the University of California, Irvine, and he also was a research scientist at AT&T Bell Laboratories (Murray Hill) and CTO at a technology startup called PreCache, Inc.  He is the Editor-in-Chief of the ACM Transactions on Software Engineering and Methodology (ACM TOSEM) and is Past Chair of the ACM Special Interest Group on Software Engineering (ACM SIGSOFT).


Sebastian’s homepage is at

David’s homepage is at

To view more Great Innovative Ideas, please click here.

NAS Raymond and Beverly Sackler Prize in Convergence Research

May 21st, 2015

The National Academy of Sciences (NAS) has announced the creation of the new Raymond and Beverly Sackler Prize in Convergence Research, convergence research is the integration of research in two or more of the following disciplines: mathematics, physics, chemistry, biomedicine, biology, astronomy, earth sciences, engineering, and computational science. The inaugural prize will be awarded for convergence research that benefits human health.

The prize is made possible through a generous gift from Raymond and Beverly Sackler and the Raymond and Beverly Sackler Foundation, and will be presented annually beginning this year with an inaugural $400,000 award. Two-thirds of the prize money will be awarded to the selected researcher(s), and the remaining third will go to support the researcher’s work.

The nomination deadline for the inaugural prize is Monday, June 15, 2015.  Submit your nomination here.



Shashi Shekhar Receives UCGIS Top Education Honor

April 13th, 2015

Shashi Shekhar, University of Minnesota

The University Consortium for Geographic Information Science (UCGIS) Awards Program identifies and honors members of the geospatial community who have extraordinary records of accomplishments, including service to the mission of UCGIS. This year, the top honor for education goes to Computing Community Consortium (CCC) Council member Dr. Shashi Shekhar of the University of Minnesota, for his expansion and strengthening of Geographic Information Science education.

From the UCGIS announcement:

Shashi Shekhar, the McKnight Distinguished University Professor in the Department of Computer Science at the University of Minnesota, was singled out for our Education Award. Dr. Shekhar has left a mark at every level of GIScience education. In 2003, Dr. Shekhar co-authored a textbook on spatial databases (Prentice Hall, 2003), which has become a GIScience classic. It transformed our view of a GIS from a static map to a spatial database, which can yield many maps customized to individual users. The highly regarded book is used to teach spatial database topics around the world.  To reach GIScience students beyond the Minnesota campus, Shashi recently co-developed and co-taught a massive open online course (MOOC), titled “From GPS and Google Maps to Spatial Computing” on Coursera.  It attracted over 21,800 students from 182 countries. He’s leveraged numerous service assignments and hundreds of speaking engagements to spread the word about GIScience. In his own classroom, he is an innovative teacher who engages his students with active-learning methods and original effective course design. He has mentored 75 graduate advisees, many of whom have risen to leadership roles in academia, industry, and government.

Dr. Shekhar will receive his award during the upcoming UCGIS Symposium in Alexandria, Virginia, May 28 – 30.

Congratulations Shashi!