A digest of Illinois Computer Science faculty, alumni, and students who are featured in the media.
The Daily Illini -- Colleges across the country are using bluetooth to track attendance in their classes using a company called SpotterEDU. Assistant Professor Gang Wang would like to see policies to protect students and faculty before apps like SpotterEDU are used on campus. “The challenge is that apps like these could update daily, monthly or semi-semesterly basis, and every update brings new functionality and users. Students and the University deserve to know and need to prove the updates aren’t intrusive to their students,” Wang said.
The Washington Post -- The Transportation Security Administration intercepted a record number of firearms at airport security checkpoints last year in what the agency’s leader called a “deeply troubling” trend. U. of I. computer science professor Sheldon Jacobson, who has studied aviation security system analysis for 25 years and is among the researchers whose work led to the development of the TSA PreCheck screening system, says TSA’s concerns over the 2019 increase come without context. “What if they found 10 firearms, or what if they found 10,000?
Inside Higher Ed -- The University of Illinois broadened access to its online master of computer science and its data science track by introducing a new Specialization that helps students prepare for a proficiency exam that strengthens their degree application.
GeekWire -- The three-year-old startup’s secret sauce has to do with AI on the edge — machine learning and image recognition tools that can be executed on low-power devices rather than relying on the cloud. “We’ve been able to scale AI out of the cloud to every device out there,” said co-founder Ali Farhadi (PhD CS '11).
Illinois Alumni Association -- As a senior engineering director overseeing Google Chrome, Parisa Tabriz (BS CS '05, MS '07)—aka the “Security Princess”—helps keep your computer safe against assaults by bedroom hackers, hostile nation states and everything in between.
Forbes -- Professor Dakshita Khurana was included in the 2019 edition of the annual list of 600 trailblazers in 20 industries "chronicling the brashest entrepreneurs across the United States and Canada." Khurana develops new cryptographic techniques to make communications and systems more secure.
Chemistry World -- Professor Saurabh Sinha is a member of a team that has created a fully automated algorithm-driven platform that can not only design, build, and test biochemical pathways to make valuable compounds, it can learn from its mistakes and also optimize the process.
Datanami -- Officially launched in October, the Center for Digital Agriculture, co-directed by Professors Vikram Adve and Matthew Hudson, is intended to foster innovation and discovery that will “help agricultural producers, researchers, and industries keep pace with the ways technology is transforming how we feed and support a growing population.”
CNBC -- Tesla is acquiring DeepScale, a computer vision start-up founded and led by Forrest Iandola (BS CS '12) that could help it develop fully driverless vehicles. DeepScale’s technology was designed to help automakers use low-wattage processors, which are standard in most cars, to power very accurate computer vision.
Illinois Innovators Podcast -- In 2017, the U.S. Army began outlining plans for the Internet of Battlefield Things, allowing military to be connected on the battlefield the same we are connected in our homes. Prof. Tarek Abdelzaher, the academic lead of the Army Research Lab’s Alliance for IoBT Research on Evolving Intelligent Goal-Driven Networks (REIGN), discusses the program's progress.
U.S. News & World Report -- Schools are finding new ways to blend liberal arts training with skills in technology and entrepreneurship. This excerpt from the "Best Colleges 2020" guidebook leads off with a look at Illinois' CS + X program and a profile of CS + Astronomy senior Charlie Young.
Chicago Inno -- Pitchbook has ranked the University of Illinois 10th for the number of entrepreneurs getting venture capital funding, with more than 500 founders receiving funding. Illinois also placed 19th for the number of female founders.
USA Today -- Using data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey, 24/7 Wall St. identified what it considers the 30 best college towns in America. Cities were ranked based on the share of residents enrolled in a graduate or undergraduate institution, with Champaign coming in at number 10.
The New York Times -- This 'week in the life' follows Illinois CS alumna Parisa Tabriz, who is a director of engineering at Google, where she oversees the Chrome web browser and a team of security investigators called Project Zero. Her job frequently includes considering "subtle trade-offs in performance, security and usability" that impact billions of users.
The Daily Star -- Microsoft’s Service Fabric provides the backbone for many cloud-based computing services, including Skype and Azure. PhD student Shegufta Bakht Ahsan and Professor Indranil Gupta were the first outside of Microsoft to delve into the system’s architecture. “With university-industry collaborations, there are greater opportunities for students to do research,” noted Shegufta.
Campus Technology -- The University of Illinois has launched a new set of courses through Coursera that will help prepare non-technical people prepare for technical master's degrees. Developed by CS Teaching Assistant Professor Wade Fagen-Ulmschneider, "Accelerated Computer Science Fundamentals" is open to all learners on Coursera's platform.
Axios -- Tom Siebel, founder of C3.ai, says that this is an existential moment for current Fortune 500 companies that don't move quickly to adapt to the new age of AI and robotics. "We are in a mass extinction event," says Siebel.
BBC -- A lot of entrepreneurs have a moment that makes them realise they're on to something. For Marcin Kleczynski it came while he was discreetly working on his antivirus software business from his student digs. Marcin, then only 18, was just about managing to juggle his start-up with participating in student life at the University of Illinois when he hit a snag.
Forbes -- Back in 1973, Daniel Bell published a pioneering book, called The Coming of Post-Industrial Society. Among the many readers was a young Tom Siebel. It’s what inspired him to enroll at the graduate school of engineering at the University of Illinois and get a degree in Computer Science.
The 21st -- Ranjitha Kumar, an assistant professor of computer science at the University of Illinois., talks with Illinois Public Media's statewide talk show about creating a bubble tea emoji.