News about Faculty, Researchers, Students, and Staff (Summer 2014)

Faculty News

Emery Berger was promoted to full Professor and Andrew McGregor was promoted to Associate Professor with tenure.

Berger gave an invited talk at the Annual Software Engineering Innovation Foundation (SEIF) Day at Microsoft Research in July on CheckCell, a "data debugging" tool for spreadsheets. The technical paper describing this work will appear at OOPSLA 2014, a premier programming languages conference, in October. Berger and Ben Zorn of Microsoft Research co-organized the First Workshop on Approximate and Probabilistic Computing at PLDI 2014, in Edinburgh.

Distinguished Professor Jim Kurose was re-elected to a third term on the Computing Research Association (CRA) Board of Directors.  In ACM's Computing Reviews (CR) annual "Best of 2013" report, two of the ten publications cited in the area of Computer Systems Organization were co-authored by UMass Amherst CS researchers: Kurose and K. Ross for the book "Computer Networking: a top-down approach (6th edition; Pearson publishers) and Elisha Rosensweig, Daniel Menasche, and Kurose for the paper "On the Steady-state of cache networks" in the IEEE Proceeding of the 32nd Annual IEEE International Conference on Computer Communications. The "Best of" list is based on nominations from Computing Reviews referees, CR category editors, the editors in chief of ACM journals and computer scientists in both industry and academia.

Distinguished Professor Don Towsley is the founding co-Editor-in-Chief of the ACM journal Transactions on Modeling and Performance Evaluation of Computing Systems. He and co-authors (including Ph.D. alum Bruno Ribeiro) received the Best Paper Award) for their paper "Pay Few, Influence Most: Online Myopic Network Covering" at the 6th IEEE International Workshop on Network Science for Communication Networks (NetSciCom 2014). Towsley and co-authors also received a Best Paper Award for their paper "Measuring and Maximizing Group Closeness Centrality over Disk-Resident Graphs" presented at the 6th Annual Workshop on Simplifying Complex Networks for Practitioners (SIMPLEX 2014) held in Seoul S. Korea in conjunction with WWW2014.

Professor Prashant Shenoy received an NEC grant for his research in the area of mobility and software defined networking in databases.  Separately, Shenoy is the co-PI on a new Energy Extension Initiative that will serve as a resource on renewable and clean energy options for cities and towns, industry, hospitals, colleges and universities, nonprofits and other organizations across the Commonwealth. A four-year grant was awarded to form the initiative.

Professor Andrew McCallum was awarded a Yahoo! Faculty Research and Engagement Award for his research on "Knowledge Base Augmentation of Entities and Relations with Tensor Factorization."

Distinguished Professor Bruce Croft and Associate Professor Erik Learned-Miller each received Adobe System's grants in support of their research activities.

For their paper "Planning and Practice in Agile Software Development: an Empirical Study" Professor Leon Osterweil and co-authors received the Best Paper Award at the 2014 International Conference on Software and System Processes, held in Nanjing, China.

In February, Professor Emeritus Rick Adrion gave the keynote address, "The Computer Workforce in Massachusetts," at the Pioneer Valley STEM Network Symposium held at Holyoke's Massachusetts Green High Performance Computing Center. He also was recently appointed by the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education to a new panel charged with developing computer science and digital literacy standards for the state.

Distinguished University Professor Emeritus Arnold Rosenberg received the 2014 Outstanding Service Award from the IEEE Computer Society Technical Committee on Parallel Processing (IEEE/CS TCPP) "for his career-long outstanding contributions to the parallel processing community nationally and internationally and numerous contributions to conferences and journals." Also, ACM recognized his longstanding commitment as a Professional Member by giving him a Lifetime Membership to the ACM.

Adjunct Assistant Professor Michael Zink (ECE faculty) received a five-year NSF CAREER Award for his work on "Sensing as a Service - Architectures for Closed-Loop Sensor Network Virtualization."

Adjunct Professor Hong Yu received a three-year grant from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs for the project "Systems for Helping Veterans Comprehend Electronic Health Record Notes."

Assistant Professor Benjamin Marlin and his wife Krisztina welcomed their daughter Elizabeth, born on April 16th.

Professor Andrew McGregor and wife Christie are the proud parents of Alexander, born on July 13.

Associate Professor Gerome Miklau and his wife Johanna announced the birth of their son Lucas, born on August 1.

Researcher News

Former IESL Postdoc Sebastian Riedel is the winner of the NAACL 2013 Best Talk Award for his talk on "Relation Extraction with Matrix Factorization and Universal Schemas," a paper co-authored by Riedel, IESL graduate student Limin Yao, and Professor Andrew McCallum.

Vasanta Chaganti joined the NETWORKS lab as a Research Fellow.

Hyun-Chul joined the BINDS lab as a Senior Research Fellow.

Nada Naji is a Visiting Scholar from the University of Neuchatel, Switzerland, working with the CIIR.

Working with PLASMA, Stephen Freund is a Visiting Professor from Williams College.

Benoy Varghese, a doctoral student at University of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia, is a Visiting Scholar working with LASS.

Student News

Computer Science and Computer Systems Engineering double-major undergrad Walter Everett Brown received a UMass Amherst Rising Researcher Award for 2014. Brown is a co-author on work that was presented and published at the 2013 Haifa Verification Conference and at the 2014 Design Automation Conference. He was awarded two REUs (Research Experiences for Undergraduates) through the National Science Foundation for summer 2014 and 2013 and received funding to attend the DAC conference to make the poster presentation.

CIIR doctoral student Kriste Krstovski received a second Harvard University-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics Fellowship to continue support of his research on latent variable models by applying the research to NASA's Astrophysics Data System.

Tung Pham, a CS undergrad and Commonwealth Honors College student who works with Professors Tim Richards and Rick Adrion, received a Barbara B. Burn Memorial Scholarship. Dr. Burn founded the International Programs Office at UMass Amherst and devoted her career to the ideal of making international education accessible to any student.

PLASMA doctoral student John Vilk's work on Microsoft's SurroundWeb received extensive press coverage in the spring. According to Microsoft, "SurroundWeb is a '3D Browser' that gives web pages the ability to display across multiple surfaces in a room, adapt their appearance to objects present in that room, and interact using natural user input." Vilk worked on the project while interning at Microsoft Research in 2013.

Staff News

Bethany Seeger joined IESL as a Software Engineer 1.

During a panel session in June at Holyoke Community College sponsored by the Pioneer Valley STEM Network, CAITE's Renee Fall spoke about feeding the computing/IT pipeline. Cheryl Kiras, of ECEP/CAITE, presented best practices for community college to four-year transfer in STEM fields at the National Institute for the Study of Transfer Students conference in Georgia and at the New England Transfer Association conference. Fall and Kiras also attended the National Center for Women and Information Technology (NCWIT) Summit in California in May.