Brown CS News

Archives 2000

Accolades for Providence!

(We mean the city, not the TV show, though the TV show's been getting darn good ink too recently.) The December, 2000 issue of Money magazine rates Providence as `the best place to live in the Northeast', saying that, indeed, it's not unlike the `idyllic town with a clean, sparkling river, colonial-style homes and well-groomed lawns' that appears on TV. The article (to be found at cites the environmentally and aesthetically sensitive new construction boom in Providence's downtown, including Waterplace Park and the upscale 150-store mall. And ...

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PETER WEGNER to receive the 2000 ACM Distinguished Service Award

Peter Wegner Professor Emeritus, Brown University

"For many years of generous service to ACM and the computing community,including outstanding and inspiring leadership in publications and in charting research directions for computer science."

During his distinguished research career Peter Wegner has written or edited over a dozen books in the areas of programming languages and software engineering. For decades, he has been an initiator in ACM's educational and publication efforts, performing invaluable service to innumerable readers, researchers, practitioners and students. As editor-in-chief of ACM Press Books (1987-1992), and the ACM Computing Surveys (1995-1999), Dr. Wegner demonstrated innovative ...

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Brown grad Steven Feiner in the New Yorker!

Readers of the New Yorker encountered an unexpected name in its November 27 issue on "The Digital Age": that of Steve Feiner, Brown B.A. (Music) 1973, Ph.D. (Computer Science) 1987. In a leisurely article discussing the Global Positioning System (GPS) in the bemused layperson's tone typical of the magazine, the writer describes his search for some use for GPS -- something to justify its recent description as `a revolutionary tool of the digital world.' This search led him to the Computer Graphics and User Interfaces Laboratory at Columbia, where he talked at length to Steven K ...

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Two Brown Ugrads Win CRA Awards

Brown undergraduates Meredith Ringel and Andrew Schwerin have received honorable mention in the Computing Research Association's Outstanding Undergraduate competition. They are two out of only 27 undergraduates nationwide so honored. Heartiest congratulations, Merrie and Andrew!

In announcing the awards, CRA's Selection Committee said:

"This year's nominees were a very impressive group. A number of them were commended for making significant contributions to more than one research project, several were authors or coauthors on multiple papers, others had made presentations at prestigious conferences, some had produced software artifacts that were in widespread use, and a few had ...

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Death of Jak Kirman

We are sorry to report that Jak Kirman passed away recently. Jak received his PhD from Brown in 1994. He worked as a postdoc for Leslie Kaelbling and Tom Dean for the next year and a half and served the department as an instructor for the object-oriented section of CS04. Although Jak had been having some health problems, his death was sudden and unexpected.

The CS Department is setting up a fund for the education of Jak's daughter Hayley, and would be most grateful for your contributions. Please make out checks to Kathleen Kirman and send them to Katrina ...

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`2001: HAL's Legacy'

Last week the 4th floor of our building here was invaded by a 6-8-person TV crew and all their voluminous gear that was making a film for PBS showing next year, `2001: HAL's Legacy'. Interviews with Professors Andy van Dam and Eugene Charniak were taped for this project, which compares the achievements in computer science and technology portrayed in the 1968 movie `2001: A Space Odyssey' with what has actually been done. Writer Arthur C. Clarke and director Stanley Kubrick were widely praised at the time for trying to `get the science right'. How closely, the project asks, does ...

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Peter Wegner Awarded Austria's Medal of Honor

At an October 17 luncheon at Brown's Faculty Club, Professor Emeritus Peter Wegner was awarded Austria's Ehrenkreuz (Medal of Honor) for his scientific contributions. (Wegner, born an Austrian citizen, went from there to England as a refugee at the age of six.) The Austrian consul in New York, Mr. Harald Miltner, presented the award and gave a gracious speech describing Peter's life and work in computer science. After lunch everyone adjourned to a reception in CS's atrium, featuring a chocolate cake frosted with a large reproduction of the medal. Congratulations, Peter!

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Wildcards and DNA

(from the Brown News Bureau)

Brown Computer Science professors Franco Preparata and Eliezer Upfal are working on a method to sequence DNA that would be faster and more efficient than the current technique. They are attempting to improve on an alternative method known as sequencing by hybridization by inserting gaps that act as wildcards in DNA probes

For more information, see the full article at

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Two NSF ITR grants awarded to Brown CS

In mid-September NSF announced the award of its prestigious Information Technology Research (ITR) grants. The major goals of the program are to augment the nation's information technology knowledge base and strengthen its IT workforce. NSF director Rita Colwell said, `These projects represent major innovations in information technology, rather than routine applications of existing technology.' `This initiative,' said President Clinton in announcing the awards, `will help strengthen America's leadership in a sector that has accounted for one-third of U.S. economic growth in recent years.' Brown Computer Science investigators received two of the only 62 `large' (more than $500 ...

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Van Hentenryck Returns!

We're delighted to announce that Pascal Van Hentenryck has returned to Brown as Professor of Computer Science after a year and a half at the University of Louvain, Belgium. Accompanying him as Visiting Assistant Professor (Research) is Laurent Michel, Brown PhD '99. His enthusiastic friends and students in the Department all welcome them both back most heartily.

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