Brown CS News

Archives 2012

CS Faculty Co-Host Human-Robot Interaction Symposium

Members of the CS department, including Pedro FelzenszwalbJames Hays , Chad JenkinsMichael Littman   and Eli Upfal , participated in the Initiative in Human-Robot Interaction’s inaugural symposium on Monday, December 10. The symposium was organized by Chad, Michael, and Bertram Malle (CLPS) and was sponsored by the Department of Computer Science, the Digital Society Initiative, the Research Initiatives Office, and the Technology Ventures Office. The theme of the event was Fundamental Problems and Societal Solutions.

The symposium’s goal was to build a broad network of Brown scholars whose work speaks to issues of Human-Robot Interaction (HRI) and to draw ...

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Roberto Tamassia Named ACM Fellow

The Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) , the world’s largest educational and scientific computing society, recently elevated Roberto Tamassia to Fellow for “contributions to graph drawing, algorithms and data structures and to computer science education.”


Roberto, who joined the department in 1988, works on information security, design and analysis of algorithms, graph drawing, geometric computing, data management, and information visualization. He is the Plastech Professor of Computer Science and the Chair of the Department. He is also the Director of Brown’s Center for Geometric Computing. He has published textbooks on the subjects of algorithms, data structures, graph drawing, and ...

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Department Hosts 12th Annual Paris C. Kanellakis Memorial Lecture


On December 6, 2012, Cynthia Dwork, Distinguished Scientist at Microsoft Research, delivered the 12th Annual Paris C. Kanellakis Memorial Lecture. This lecture series has been held annually by the department in honor of Paris on or around his birthday. In a standing-room only lecture, Dr. Dwork kindly devoted an introduction to Paris, mentioning their close friendship and how much she misses both him and his wife, Maria Teresa Otoya.

The talk, titled “Differential Privacy: Thwarting Big Data’s Evil Twin,” discussed the problem of how to reveal accurate statistics about a population, while still preserving the privacy of individuals. Differential ...

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Anna Lysyanskaya Elected to the Board of Directors of the International Association for Cryptologic Research


The International Association for Cryptologic Research (IACR) , a non-profit scientific organization whose purpose is to further research in cryptology and related fields, elected Anna Lysyanskaya to its Board of Directors in a recent election .

Cryptology is the science and practice of designing computation and communication systems which are secure in the presence of adversaries.

The 2012 election was held October 1 through November 15 to fill three of nine IACR Director positions. In total, 270 out of 518 members cast their vote for Anna.  Her priorities while on the Board are: (1) High quality research and its effective dissemination, (2 ...

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Roberto Tamassia Named AAAS Fellow

The American Association for the Advancement of Science, "Triple A-S" (AAAS) , an international non-profit organization dedicated to advancing science around the world by serving as an educator, leader, spokesperson and professional association, recently elected Roberto Tamassia to Fellow for “distinguished contributions to algorithms and data structures, particularly for pioneering work on graph drawing, and to computer science education as the author of influential textbooks.”

Roberto, who joined the department in 1988, works on information security, design and analysis of algorithms, graph drawing, geometric computing, data management, and information visualization. He is the Plastech Professor of Computer Science and the Chair ...

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Brown awarded $1.5M for new Big Data tools


Eli Upfal, Fabio Vandin, and Ben Raphael, from left, are developing Big Data analytical tools that make sense of large datasets and eliminate the noise of data errors. Credit: Mike Cohea/Brown University

By Kevin Stacey

As datasets expand and new generations of faster computers arrive, users urgently require more powerful algorithms to make sense of Big Data. Brown computer scientists have received a $1.5-million award from the National Science Foundation and the National Institutes of Health to conduct research on new analytical tools for Big Data.

Computer scientists from Brown University have been awarded $1.5 million to ...

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Computer program can identify rough sketches


Ears and whiskers are a hint...Computers can recognize photos and careful drawings of rabbits, but quick sketches by non-artists ... not so much.

by Kevin Stacey

Computers are good at speed, numbers, and massive amounts of data, but understanding the content of a simple drawing is more difficult. Researchers at Brown and the Technical University of Berlin have produced a computer application that can identify simple abstract sketches of objects almost as often (56 percent of the time) as human viewers (73 percent).

First they took over chess. Then Jeopardy. Soon, computers could make the ideal partner in a game ...

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Michael Littman Returns to Brown with Professor Appointment; Tim Kraska and Paul Valiant to Join the Department as Assistant Professors


The Department is thrilled to announce the addition of three new faculty members for the 2012-2013 academic year. PhD alum Michael Littman ’96 and Paul Valiant will begin teaching in September and Tim Kraska will join the department in January.

Michael previously spent many years as the director of the Rutgers Laboratory for Real-Life Reinforcement Learning and served as the department chair from 2009 until June 2012. His expertise includes artificial intelligence and machine learning. Tim will come to Brown after serving as a postdoctoral scholar at the University of California at Berkeley, working in the AMP Lab on Big ...

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Shriram Krishnamurthi Wins SIGPLAN Robin Milner Young Researcher Award

Shriram Krishnamurthi was recently awarded the first ever SIGPLAN Robin Milner Young Researcher Award. The award was given by SIGPLAN, ACM's Special Interest Group on programming languages, to recognize outstanding contributions by young investigators in this area.

The official award announcement refers to Shriram as "a prolific researcher who brings programming language theory to bear in many other disciplines, thus exposing its foundational value" and notes that his research contributions "range from type soundness proofs for Java and influential extensions thereof, through foundational aspects of web programming, to model-driven development and empirical studies." It further ...

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Three Day Startup Successfully Launched at Brown

Undergrad Anne Kenyon founded Brown’s 3 Day Startup (3DS) weekend, which was held in early April with the support of the department, Google, 10Gen, and Teespring.

The idea of 3 Day Startup is simple: start a technology company over the course of three days. Work space was available for an entire weekend, 25 students with a range of backgrounds were selected and top-notch entrepreneurs and investors were onsite to help pick the best ideas for software startups during the Friday brainstorming session. Students then worked to release a minimal prototype by Sunday night, when they gave their product presentations ...

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