Brown CS News

Hughes and Laidlaw Promoted to Professor; Greenwald and Lysyanskaya Promoted to Associate Professor


Top Row (L-R): Professors John "Spike" Hughes and David Laidlaw Bottom Row: Associate Professors Anna Lysyanskaya and Amy Greenwald

The Department is excited to announce the promotions of John “Spike” Hughes and David Laidlaw to Professor and Amy Greenwald and Anna Lysyanskaya to Associate Professor with tenure, effective July 1, 2008. “These faculty members are highly visible and internationally respected in their fields and have a strong commitment to teaching and advising. They contribute in important ways to the Department and Brown University, as well as the field of Computer Science as a whole,” said Department Chair Roberto Tamassia. “We are thrilled that the Corporation of Brown University has recognized the outstanding work of Amy, Anna, David and Spike by promoting them to a higher academic rank.”

John “Spike” Hughes

Spike joined our department after being on the Math faculty at Brown for several years. His research is in computer graphics, focusing on problems that involve substantial mathematics. In particular, he has worked on geometric modeling, user interfaces for modeling, and non-photorealistic rendering. Spike is among the handful of authors worldwide who have 20+ papers published in SIGGRAPH, the premier publication venue for the field of computer graphics. He has served as an associate editor for ACM Transaction on Graphics and the Journal of Graphics Tools, and has been on the SIGGRAPH program committee multiple times. Spike has just been appointed chair of the SIGGRAPH Technical Awards Committee. He is a co-author of “Computer Graphics: Principles and Practice,” a standard textbook and reference work, and is currently developing a major rewrite of the book.

Spike’s recent projects include a gesture-based interface to creating 3D models; methods for the representation and sketching of free-form shapes; and a multi-focus, single view-axis camera for automated matte-extraction for video. Together with three other CS faculty, he was recently awarded a large grant from the NSF to develop an integrated and rigorous set of courses for teaching computer science to students in the humanities and social sciences. The project aims to fill an educational void by providing the appropriate computer science skills to these students, and stressing web-based gathering and dissemination of information.

David Laidlaw

A Brown CS alum (Sc.B. ’83 and Sc. M. ’85), David returned to our department as a member of the faculty after completing his Ph.D. and postdoctoral research at Caltech. His current research interests revolve around visualization and modeling applications of computer graphics and computer science to other scientific disciplines. David has been PI or co-PI for multiple projects sponsored by NIH, NSF and private foundations with overall funding exceeding $10M. He has served as associate editor of IEEE Transactions on Visualization and Computer Graphics and has received several awards from IEEE, ACM, and NSF for his work on visualization. He is the recipient of an NSF CAREER award and a Henry Merritt Wriston Teaching Fellowship from Brown.

Several compelling applications give a real-world direction to David’s computational research. He is working with researchers in developmental neurobiology, evolutionary biology, medical imaging, neuropathology, orthopedics, art, cognitive science, remote sensing, and fluid mechanics to develop new computational applications and to understand their strengths and weaknesses. David is currently focusing on the visualization of multi-valued multidimensional imaging data, comparisons of virtual and non-virtual environments for scientific tasks, and applications of art, perception, and cognition to visualization.

Amy Greenwald

Amy joined our department after completing her Ph.D. at NYU and postdoctoral research at the IBM T.J. Watson Research Center. Her honors include an Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellowship, a Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE), and an NSF CAREER award. Amy’s current research has twin goals: to design and implement AI agents that interact effectively in complex environments, and to understand, explain, and accurately predict the dynamics of such interactions.

Humans make hundreds of routine decisions. In our increasingly networked world, fewer and fewer of these decisions can be made in isolation. Someday soon, our interactive decision-making will be carried out by AI agents — artificially intelligent, programmed decision-makers — that "understand" our individual preferences and negotiate with one another accordingly. These AI agents will learn to both cooperate and compete with other agents, both human and artificial. Proxy bidders in online auctions are early evidence of this coming generation of AI agents. Amy's research is helping to lay the foundation for a future where AI agents figure prominently in our daily lives. She has recently co-authored a book on autonomous bidding agents that provides the first integrated treatment of methods in the emerging field of trading agent research.

Anna Lysyanskaya

Anna came to our department after completing her Ph.D. at MIT. She was awarded an Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellowship and an NSF CAREER award and was included in the 2007 Technology Review TR35, an honor given each year to 35 innovators in science and technology under the age of 35 whose inventions and research the magazine finds most exciting.

Balance between privacy and accountability is a central theme of Anna’s research. When accessing an online service provider, a user must present evidence that she is authorized to do so. For example, she may be authorized to participate in an online game once a day if she has a license to play. On the other hand, if users are required to disclose their identities and show their credentials in the clear, their privacy is jeopardized. Anna has found that the two requirements — the service provider’s need to verify that the user is authorized and the user's need to protect her privacy — do not contradict each other. What is needed is an “anonymous credential” system that would allow a user to prove that she is authorized without revealing her identity, and, further, to obtain additional credentials without revealing additional information. Anna’s research in this area has attracted industry attention: for example, it has been incorporated into the Trusted Computing Group's industry standard, and it has also been implemented by IBM.

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