CS Blog

Brown Alumni Magazine Features David Blei '97

Brown Alumni Magazine Features David Blei '97

by Michael McLaughlin

(reprinted with permission from Brown Alumni Magazine)

You can thank David Blei ’97 for all those personalized suggestions of things to buy that pop up on your screen whenever you’re online. In fact, the easiest way for this Columbia University computer science and statistics professor to explain his field of expertise—“probabilistic topic modeling”—is to talk about Amazon or Netflix or Etsy, the wildly popular website that sells handmade goods and crafts. (Etsy uses a variation of an algorithm that Blei cowrote.)

Amazon and Netflix use advanced formulas related to probabilistic topic modeling on you ...

Continue reading

Brown CS Brings An Hour Of Code To 130+ Kids

Brown CS Brings An Hour Of Code To 130+ Kids

For the second year in a row, Brown Computer Science brought an Hour of Code to Providence students at Nathan Bishop Middle School.  Hour of Code is a global initiative run by Code.org to bring programming to everyone, especially young students and those that are underrepresented in computing. President Obama kicked off the weeklong event by learning to write some Javascript.

This year Professor Amy Greenwald, graduate students David Abel, Amy Becker, Betsy Hilliard, Michael Majzoub (seen in the photo above), and Jeff Rasley, and undergraduate Luke Camery, visited all ten Gateway to Tech classes (more than 130 6th ...

Continue reading

Valerie Barr Follows Up Diversity Lecture With Two Blog Posts

Professor Valerie Barr of Union College has just followed up her inaugural lecture for the Brown CS Diversity Series (“The Toy Aisle Still Matters: The State Of Women In Computing”) with two blog posts based on her presentation.  They’re available here and here.  Professor Barr, thank you for laying a strong foundation for this important new series.

Continue reading

Aaron Gokaslan ’18 Wins HackPrinceton Best iOS App Award

Aaron Gokaslan ’18 Wins HackPrinceton Best iOS App Award

Brown University computer science concentrator Aaron Gokaslan ’18 and a team of his peers have just won a Best iOS App award from Apple at the recent HackPrinceton hackathon, earning an iPad Mini and the envy of several hundred of the country’s best young computer scientists. The event, which has been held semiannually for a number of years, challenged students of all levels to join together and create unique software applications.

“I was confident,” Aaron explains, “but the competition was intense. I truly enjoyed it, regardless of the outcome, but I only slept a few hours that weekend. I ...

Continue reading

Van Dam's Group Provides Users Worldwide With New Opportunities To Interact With Art

Van Dam's Group Provides Users Worldwide With New Opportunities To Interact With Art

Professor Andries van Dam of Brown University’s Department of Computer Science and his team of researchers were recently featured by the Brown Daily Herald for developing software that facilitates a high level of interaction with artwork and other images. The application, known as Touch Art Gallery (TAG), allows users to navigate easily around artwork and other images, zoom in to look at details, and even view archival materials, associated works, and contextual media.

The full story is available here.

Continue reading

A Visit To The Computer History Museum

A Visit To The Computer History Museum

This summer while I was interning at Yahoo! some current and former Brown CS Grad Students had a mini-reunion in the San Francisco Bay Area. And where else would we hold this event but the Computer History Museum (http://www.computerhistory.org/) in Mountain View, CA? While visiting the museum, I learned more about the development of the computer hardware and software, as you would expect, but I also ran across some positive and negative examples of how women are presented (or excluded) in the context of computing history.

I was surprised how much material was in the museum. The ...

Continue reading

Alumni Update: Sunil Mallya '11

Alumni Update: Sunil Mallya '11

Like the company that he co-founded, Neon Labs, Sunil Mallya ’11 sees himself as rooted in science and invigorated by its potential for discovery, transforming what had previously been uninteresting or impassable. He says, “I grew up at just the right moment in time to be constantly amazed by the ubiquity of computers. I was interested in being able to express problems, model them, and leverage computation instead of just throwing more humans at our challenges. Empowering people through technology is exciting.”

After attaining a Bachelor of Engineering in Computer Science from PES Institute of Technology in 2008, Sunil went ...

Continue reading

#YurtAtBrown

#YurtAtBrown

“The #YurtAtBrown hashtag documents a milestone,” says Professor David Laidlaw of Brown University’s Computer Science Department (Brown CS). “2015 will be a landmark year for visualization at Brown and an evolutionary, transformative leap for the field.”

This leads to an obvious question: other than a dwelling of the Central Asian steppes, what is the Yurt? The Yurt (YURT Ultimate Reality Theatre) is the vastly-enhanced successor to Brown’s renowned virtual reality display, the Cave (CAVE™ Automatic Virtual Environment), celebrated for its research, computing, and educational advancements in fields as diverse as archaeology, sculpture, and neuroscience.

“With the Yurt,” David ...

Continue reading

6% Of Brown Undergraduates Apply To Be CS UTAs

Keeping pace with surging Brown CS enrollment, interest in the department's Undergraduate Teaching Assistant (UTA) program is at perhaps a historic high. According to Professor Tom Doeppner, Vice Department Chair and Director of Undergraduate Studies, he's received 375 applications for the Spring 2015 semester, meaning that 6% of undergraduates have applied to be Brown CS UTAs.

Continue reading

Brown CS Looks Forward To Strong VIS 2014 Participation

When VIS 2014 (the premier conference for advances in visualization, co-located with the VAST, InfoVis, and SciVis conferences) arrives in Paris next week, Brown University’s Department of Computer Science (Brown CS) will enjoy a markedly high level of representation and participation.

“As this conference has grown, our Graphics, Visualization, and Interaction group has grown with it,” says Professor David Laidlaw, co-author of a paper being presented and SciVis Conference Chair. “We’ve always had strong representation. This year, as VIS moves to an important destination, and for the first time an international one, we’re contributing more than ever ...

Continue reading