Brown CS News

Michael Littman Refutes "Doomsday" AI Fears In Live Science

Michael Littman Refutes

"Let's get one thing straight," explains Professor Michael Littman of Brown University 's Department of Computer Science . "A world in which humans are enslaved or destroyed by superintelligent machines of our own creation is purely science fiction. Like every other technology, AI has risks and benefits, but we cannot let fear dominate the conversation or guide AI research."

Writing in Live Science, he outlines historic and recent efforts to combat the perceived problem, tests the threat of "runaway intelligence" against Moore's law and the NP-completeness of computational problems associated with human intelligence, and finally welcomes open discussion as ...

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Faculty Position Applications Accepted Until February 4

Faculty Position Applications Accepted Until February 4

As of Jan 21, we have reopened the Interfolio site for applications. Since we're already well along in the selection process, only exceptional applications will be considered.  After Feb 4, the process will be too far along for us to consider any further applications at all.

Job Opening

We're hiring! The details are below.

Application procedure

Please submit your application via Interfolio. The web address is https://secure.interfolio.com/apply/27379For full consideration, applications should be submitted by Dec. 15, 2014.

Hiring Announcement

The Department of Computer Science at Brown University seeks applicants in the area ...

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Eugene Charniak Wins 2015 AAAI Classic Paper Award

Eugene Charniak Wins 2015 AAAI Classic Paper Award

Brown University’s Computer Science Department (Brown CS) congratulates Professor Eugene Charniak, who has just won the 2015 Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence (AAAI) Classic Paper Award. The award, which was established in 1999 to honor authors of works deemed most influential from a specific conference year, celebrates a paper (“Statistical Parsing with a Context-Free Grammar and Word Statistics”) that Eugene presented at the Fourteenth National Conference on Artificial Intelligence, held in 1997 in Providence, Rhode Island.

The award will be presented at AAAI-15 in Austin, Texas, where Eugene will also deliver a retrospective talk. He joins Professor ...

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White House Cites Bootstrap’s Contribution To Advancing CS Education

White House Cites Bootstrap’s Contribution To Advancing CS Education

Earlier this month, President Obama announced a series of new commitments that will deliver computer science (CS) education to millions of previously unserved K-12 students. In the section of the White House Fact Sheet detailing expansion of CS offerings in New York City, the Office of the Press Secretary mentions Bootstrap, a curriculum and software package that teaches students to program their own videogames using algebraic concepts.

The content-rich project is a group effort by Emmanuel Schanzer and Brown Computer Science (Brown CS) faculty members Kathi Fisler and Shriram Krishnamurthi, building on two decades of work from Brown and other ...

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Maurice Herlihy Elected National Academy Of Inventors Fellow

Maurice Herlihy Elected National Academy Of Inventors Fellow

Brown University’s Computer Science Department (Brown CS) congratulates Professor Maurice Herlihy for his recent election as a fellow of the National Academy of Inventors (NAI). “It’s very gratifying to join such a distinguished group,” says Maurice, the first member of Brown CS faculty to receive this honor.

The NAI is a non-profit organization whose more than 3000 members and fellows contribute to over 200 domestic and international universities as well as governmental and non-profit research institutions. Founded in 2010, its mission is to recognize patent-holding inventors, enhance the visibility of academic technology and innovation, encourage the disclosure of ...

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Philip Klein Wins NSF Grant For Optimization In Planar Graphs And Beyond

Philip Klein Wins NSF Grant For Optimization In Planar Graphs And Beyond

Klein’s recent project (“Fast and accurate optimization in planar graphs and beyond”) has won a grant in the expected amount of $1.2M from the National Science Foundation (NSF), shared with Professor Jeff G. Erickson of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Klein’s research involves discovering and analyzing algorithms for optimization problems in graphs, problems such as traveling salesman, shortest paths, network design, clustering, graph decomposition, and facility location.

The grant supports work aimed at discovering algorithms that are designed specifically for planar graphs---graphs that can be drawn on a plane so that no edges cross. When the ...

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John Savage Appointed An EastWest Institute Professorial Fellow

John Savage Appointed An EastWest Institute Professorial Fellow

Professor John Savage of Brown University’s Computer Science Department (Brown CS) has just been appointed a Professorial Fellow of the EastWest Institute (EWI), an international, non-partisan organization with a three-decade history of addressing problems that threaten regional and global stability. The appointment is testament to Savage’s pioneering achievements in the field of cyberspace, particularly the policy and technology dimensions of cybersecurity, and it follows multi-year collaborations with EWI Chief Technology Officer Karl-Fredrick Rauscher and Senior Vice-President Bruce W. McConnell.   

“This is going to be very interesting,” John comments. “EastWest Institute has one of the highest levels of visibility ...

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Chad Jenkins And His Team Help Develop NASA Software

Chad Jenkins And His Team Help Develop NASA Software

by Kevin Stacey (Science News Officer, Physical Sciences)

A group of computer scientists from Brown were at the Johnson Space Center in Houston recently for a week-long marathon of intensive coding to build new software for the Robonaut 2 and other NASA robots.

The coding marathon, known in the computer science vernacular as a hackathon, was a partnership between NASA, Brown, and the University of Texas–Austin. The work was part of a NASA grant awarded recently to Chad Jenkins, associate professor of computer science and engineering at Brown.

Jenkins’ lab builds user interfaces that can control robots of all ...

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Google’s SVP Of Advertising And Commerce, Sridhar Ramaswamy PhD ‘95, To Inaugurate Brown CS’s IT Leaders Lecture Series

Google’s SVP Of Advertising And Commerce, Sridhar Ramaswamy PhD ‘95, To Inaugurate Brown CS’s IT Leaders Lecture Series

Seen in the light of their achievements, Brown CS alumni strongly exhibit the values of the university as a whole. As committed and motivated architects of ideas, they contribute in the widest scope possible to science, learning, culture, and their community. Some make their careers in academia, and others in industry and research, but a few are so independent in their thought and innovative in their accomplishments that their work serves as a touchstone and a landmark for computer scientists of any kind.  

Sridhar Ramaswamy PhD ‘95 is one of these.

An honored guest, he’s returning to Brown to ...

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Stefanie Tellex Wins Best Paper Award (Video Of Her Talk Below)

Stefanie Tellex Wins Best Paper Award (Video Of Her Talk Below)

Professor Stefanie Tellex of Brown University’s Computer Science Department (Brown CS) has just won the Best Paper Award at the Robotics: Science and Systems (RSS) Conference, widely considered the top single-track conference in robotics. Her paper, “Asking for Help using Inverse Semantics, was co-authored with Ross Knepper of MIT, Adrian Li, Daniela Rus, and Nicholas Roy.

The paper focused on a team of robots that autonomously assemble IKEA furniture. Despite their advanced design and careful programming, the robots encountered failure every few minutes. For the average person, using robots for this task would be extremely difficult.

“We wanted to ...

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