News

Pulkit Agrawal, Jacob Andreas, and Cathy Wu join MIT faculty

CS alumni Pulkit Agrawal (M.S. '14/Ph.D. '18, adviser: Jitendra Malik) and Jacob Andreas (Ph.D. '18, adviser: Daniel Klein ) will join the MIT Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science,  and EE alumna Cathy Wu (Ph.D. '18, adviser: Alexandre Bayen)  will join the MIT Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, as assistant professors.  Agrawal, who co-founded SafelyYou, Inc., studies topics spanning robotics, deep learning, computer vision, and computational neuroscience.  Andreas, who was a member of the Berkeley Natural Language Processing Group and the Berkeley Artificial Intelligence Research Lab, focuses on using language as a scaffold for more efficient learning and as a probe for understanding model behavior.  Wu, who was recently awarded the Milton Pikarsky Memorial Award, focuses on research involving machine learning, robotics, intelligent systems, and mixed-autonomy mobility.

Cathy Wu wins CUTC’s Milton Pikarsky Memorial Award

Recent EE alumna Cathy Wu (Ph.D. '18, adviser: Alexandre Bayen) has won the Council of University Transportation Centers (CUTC)’s Milton Pikarsky Memorial Award.  This honor, which recognizes the best Doctoral dissertation in the field of science and technology in transportation studies each year, was awarded for Wu's dissertation titled “Learning and Optimization for Mixed Anatomy Systems – A Mobility Context.”  “This is a great honor,” says Wu. “I feel very fortunate to have been able to study optimization challenges at very different layers of our complex transportation systems in the context of self-driving vehicles, from congestion to routing to questions touching on planning and policy.”

Ken Thompson to be inducted into 2019 National Inventors Hall of Fame

CS alumnus Ken Thompson (B.S.‘65/M.S.‘66) is a member of the 2019 class of inductees into the National Inventors Hall of Fame for creating the UNIX Operating System. Thompson and Dennis Ritchie's creation of the UNIX operating system and the C programming language were pivotal developments in the progress of computer science. Today, 50 years after its beginnings, UNIX and UNIX-like systems continue to run machinery from supercomputers to smartphones. The UNIX operating system remains the basis of much of the world's computing infrastructure, and C language -- written to simplify the development of UNIX -- is one of the most widely used languages today.

Barbara Grosz joins the Embedded EthiCS team

1997 Distinguished CS Alumna Barbara Grosz (M.S. '71/Ph.D. '77, adviser: Martin Graham), the Higgins Professor of Natural Sciences at Harvard, is part of the Embedded EthiCS @ Harvard team, which aims to bring  "ethical reasoning into the computer science curriculum."  Embedded EthiCS  is a collaboration between philosophers and computer scientists at Harvard, led by faculty from both fields. Post-doctoral fellows and advanced graduate students meet weekly for a teaching lab to develop Embedded EthiCS modules.  The aim of Embedded EthiCS is to teach students to consider not merely what technologies they could create, but whether they should create them.  "The Embedded EthiCS distributed pedagogy embeds philosophers directly into computer science courses to teach students how to think through the ethical and social implications of their work."

Connie Chang-Hasnain elected Fellow of the National Academy of Inventors

EE Prof. and alumna Constance Chang-Hasnain (M.S. '84/Ph.D. '87, adviser: John Whinnery) has been elected to the 2018 class of Fellows of the National Academy of Inventors (NAI).  Election to NAI Fellow status is the highest professional distinction accorded to academic inventors who have demonstrated a prolific spirit of innovation in creating or facilitating outstanding inventions that have made a tangible impact on quality of life, economic development and the welfare of society.  Chang-Hasnain's research interests range from semiconductor optoelectronic devices to materials and physics, with current foci on nano-photonic materials and devices for chip-scale integrated optics.  She is presently serving as Associate Dean for Strategic Alliances in the College of Engineering as well as the Chair of the Nanoscale Science and Engineering Graduate Group.

"Mother of All Demos" 50th anniversary

On December 9, 2018, the Computer History Museum is celebrating the 50th anniversary of the famous presentation by alumnus Douglas Engelbart dubbed the "Mother of All Demos."  On December 9, 1968, Engelbart (BS ‘52/MS ‘53/Ph.D. '55, adviser: Paul Morton) demonstrated real-time human interaction with a computer for the first time.  His radical presentation introduced the world to the computer mouse, word processing, and clickable hypertext links, and became the benchmark for how entrepreneurs pitch ideas to investors.  The museum is holding an all-day symposium to honor the event.

Interview with Carmel Majidi, researcher of 'artificial skin'

EE alumnus Carmel Majidi (M.S. '04/Ph.D. '07, adviser: Ron Fearing), now an associate professor at Carnegie Mellon,  is the subject of a SiliconRepublic interview titled "Scientific research is not the only way to discover new technologies."  Majidi is attempting to create ‘artificial’ skin and soft machines inspired by the natural world. "I’m interested in building machines and robots that match the extraordinary ability of natural organisms to change shape, adapt their functionality and recover from damage. This has led me to work on new types of materials that allow sensors, electronics and actuators to share the same properties as natural skin, nervous tissue and muscle." he says.

Kim Keeton and Tom Funkhouser named ACM Fellows

Computer Science alumni Kimberly Keeton (M.S. '94/Ph.D. '99, adviser: David Patterson) and Thomas Funkhouser (M.S. '89/Ph.D. '93, adviser: Carlo Séquin) have been elected 2018 Fellows of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM).  Keeton, who works at Hewlett Packard Laboratories, was elected "For contributions to improving the dependability, manageability, and usability of storage and novel memory."  Funkhouser, of Princeton University and Google, was elected "For research contributions in computer graphics."

Sanjay Mehrotra elected Chair of SIA

Alumnus Sanjay Mehrotra (EECS B.S. '78/M.S. '80) has been elected Chair of the Semiconductor Industry Association (SIA).  The SIA is a trade association and lobbying group that represents "U.S. leadership in semiconductor manufacturing, design, and research."  Mehrotra, who is currently President and CEO of Micron, led the growth of SanDisk Corporation from start-up in 1988 to Fortune 500 company in 2016.  He holds 70 patents and has published articles on nonvolatile memory design and flash memory systems.

Theresa Meng wins IEEE Alexander Graham Bell Medal

2010 EECS distinguished alumna Theresa Huai-Ying Meng (M.S. '85/Ph.D. '88) has won the 2019 IEEE Alexander Graham Bell Medal.  The award is presented to an individual or team for "exceptional contributions to communications and networking sciences and engineering."  Meng, who is a Professor Emerita at Stanford University and founder of Atheros Communications Inc., won "for technical contributions to and leadership in the development of wireless semiconductor technology."  Meng is following in the footsteps of graduate advisor, David Messerschmitt, who won the award in 1999.