Brown CS News

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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ACM Honors Maurice Herlihy On His 60th Birthday

ACM Honors Maurice Herlihy On His 60th Birthday

It’s not the number of years, it’s what Brown Computer Science Professor Maurice Herlihy has accomplished during them.

“Transactional memory and combinatorial topology are really, really far apart!” comments his colleague, Professor Shriram Krishnamurthi. “Maurice has had accomplishments that can safely be called career-making in three or four different fields. Someone who had achieved even just one of them would be considered a master of the area.

On July 15, the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) celebrated those accomplishments and honored Herlihy with a 60th Birthday Celebration in Paris at the ACM Symposium on Principles of Distributed ...

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BrownCS Celebrates 35 Years

BrownCS Celebrates 35 Years

by Kevin Stacey (Science News Officer, Physical Sciences)

As the Brown community came together to celebrate Commencement in the University’s 250th year, computer science alumni reunited this weekend to celebrate another anniversary. This year marks the 35th year of Brown’s Department of Computer Science , which was founded in 1979.

Much has changed in computer science in those 35 years. The department started with one general-purpose computer: a lone Digital VAX-11/780. It was joined shortly thereafter, in 1981, by another of the same model. The two were affectionately dubbed Nancy and Sluggo after the cartoon characters. Nancy, which ...

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Roberto Tamassia Prepares To Step Down As Department Chair

Roberto Tamassia Prepares To Step Down As Department Chair

Roberto Tamassia is stepping down. At the end of his seven-year tenure as Brown University Computer Science (BrownCS) Department Chair (two terms, plus a transitional year as Professor Ugur Cetintemel prepares to take on the role), he takes a moment to look back on the years past from his office on the fourth floor of the Center for Information Technology.

A look around Roberto’s habitat reveals little: a vintage Macintosh, orderly shelves displaying copies of his books and translations, an uncluttered desk, an ergonomic computer cart with a large display, a whiteboard filled with formulas and diagrams, the sparseness ...

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Six BrownCS Faculty Members Win OVPR Seed Awards

Brown University’s Department of Computer Science has exceeded its own record for the largest number of Seed Awards in a single year, with six faculty members sharing five awards in 2014. Ugur Cetintemel, Sorin Istrail, Chad Jenkins, Tim Kraska, Michael Littman, and Ben Raphael received the awards from Brown University’s Office of the Vice President for Research (OVPR) to help them compete more successfully for large-scale, interdisciplinary, multi-investigator grants.

The five projects receiving awards are:

  • "Creating a Providence-Based Working Group inPrecision Medicine to Identify the Genetic Determinants of MarijuanaSensitivity” (Fairbrother, Knopik, McGeary, and Raphael)
  • "Enabling Autonomous Flight of ...

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Pedro Felzenszwalb Wins ACM's Grace Murray Hopper Award

Pedro Felzenszwalb Wins ACM's Grace Murray Hopper Award

Pedro Felzenszwalb, Associate Professor of Engineering and Computer Science at Brown University, has just won the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM)’s Grace Murray Hopper Award for his contributions to object recognition in pictures and video. It’s accompanied by a prize in the expected amount of $35,000.

Pedro is the first Brown faculty recipient of the award, and he joins Don Knuth, Stephen Wozniak, and other notable previous winners. The Grace Murray Hopper Award is given yearly to an outstanding computer professional who makes a major technical or service contribution while age thirty-five or younger.

“Most of my ...

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Erik Sudderth Wins NSF CAREER Award

Erik Sudderth Wins NSF CAREER Award

Assistant Professor Erik Sudderth of Brown University’s Computer Science Department has just won a National Science Foundation CAREER Award for his work on Bayesian nonparametric learning for large-scale structure discovery. It’s accompanied by a grant in the expected amount of more than $509,000. He joins multiple previous Brown CS faculty winners, including (most recently) James Hays, Ben Raphael, and Chad Jenkins. CAREER Awards are the most prestigious awards given by the National Science Foundation (NSF) in support of outstanding junior faculty teacher-scholars who excel at research, education, and integration of the two within the context of an ...

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Iman Hajirasouliha Receives NSERC Fellowship

Iman Hajirasouliha Receives NSERC Fellowship

Postdoctoral Research Associate Iman Hajirasouliha of Brown University’s Computer Science Department and the Center for Computational Molecular Biology (CCMB) has just received a Postdoctoral Fellowship from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) for his proposal (“Algorithms for constructing ancestral history of deep-sequenced tumors”) on cancer heterogeneity. Iman is the second member of BrownCS to receive the fellowship, joining Glencora Borradaile, who received hers in 2007.

“It’s very exciting and gratifying,” he says. “I knew that this fellowship is competitive, and I was thrilled that my proposal was accepted. It shows the importance of computational ...

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