Student rapid circuit-prototyping printer wins awards

CS/ECE major Feiran Chen and ECE partner Connor Archard have won several awards for their rapid circuit-prototyping printer.  The duo started their project by buying an obsolete pen plotter from Craigslist, and then replaced a number of components to allow the device to use electrically conductive ink.  They have also built a website explaining how one can build one's own quite cheaply.

Rapid Circuit Plotter won one of two  $10,000 ECE Innovation awards. The Innovation Competition challenges students to design and develop an innovative technology based on electrical and computer engineering, and to demonstrate the potential of the idea to address a practical business and/or social challenge.

Chen and Archard's project also collected the Google Moonshot Award and the General Electric IT Imagination at Work Award at the annual BOOM technology showcase.

Chronicle article on Rapid Circuit Plotter (including video):
DIY circuit board printer for under $90

Chronicle article on the ECE Innovation awards:
Dog tail tracker, circuit printer win $10K prizes

Date Posted: 5/19/2015

Walker White wins Academic Achievement Award from the CEAA

Walker White received the Academic Achievement Award at the 2015 Annual Meeting of the Cornell Engineering Alumni Association (CEAA). 

The CEAA established this award to recognize non-tenure staff/lecturers who go well beyond their job duties for advising, teaching and general help to students and who enhance undergraduate education outside of the classroom.  Department Chairs nominate individuals for this award and the final selection is made by the office of the Associate Dean for Engineering Undergraduate Programs.

Here is a list of this year's CEAA award winners.

Date Posted: 5/19/2015

New CRA Best Practices Memo led by Fred Schneider & Eva Tardos

Fred Schneider, with co-chair Batya Friedman, led a Computing Research Association (CRA) effort to propose revised standards for hiring, promotion and tenure.  The best-practices memo has been ratified by the CRA, and the May 2015 CACM editorial states that it "may be a game changer". 

Recommendations include: in hiring, departments should evaluate candidates on their top one or two publications; for tenure, candidates should be evaluated on their most important three to five publications (where systems and other artifacts may be included).

Eva Tardos was also a member of the committee.

CACM editorial on Incentivizing Quality and Impact in Computing Research

Date Posted: 5/19/2015

Joe Halpern was named a 2015 Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences

Joe Halpern was named a 2015 Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, which honors "the world’s most accomplished scholars, scientists, writers, artists and civic, business and philanthropic leaders.” 

Halpern was cited for having "Introduced reasoning about knowledge to the study of computing. He thinks about computing processes as actors that know facts. This novel perspective he introduced became a standard framework for establishing
the correctness of complex distributed systems. He showed that there are forms of knowledge that all participants in a system may possess at the outset that can never become common knowledge. He developed fundamental tools for reasoning about a range of notions, including awareness, belief, causality, uncertainty, and imperfect recall. His work shaped the area of multi-agent systems, and the interface between computer science and economics."
Others 2015 fellows include Terry Gross, host and Executive Producer of NPR's Fresh Air; concert pianist, composer, and conductor Murray Perahia; astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson, and novelist Tom Wolfe.




Date Posted: 5/19/2015

Ittay Eyal and Emin Gün Sirer are quoted in Forbes regarding potential abuses of Bitcoin's blockchain

Ittay Eyal and Emin Gün Sirer are quoted in Forbes regarding potential abuses of Bitcoin's blockchain, the public ledger of all Bitcoin transactions. Eyal argues that botnet owners would not be inclined to use it for malware communications due to speed issues. Sirer notes that there are serious dangers if the blockchain were used to control malware: "instructions can be encoded in a way that looks opaque to everyone except the malware itself. There is no good solution for this; it’s a price we have to pay for freely transmitting information".



Date Posted: 5/19/2015

Emin Gün Sirer has been asked to comment in MIT Technology Review

Emin Gün Sirer has been asked to comment in MIT Technology Review about a new cryptocurrency proposal coming from David Mazières, professor at Stanford University, known as SCP.  Sirer notes that the protocol looks sound, but has no facilities to ensure that quorum failures will not occur or that quora are well-formed; in fact, the failure threshold of the system depends solely on the actions of adopters: "This is a social thing, not a technical thing." SCP inventor David  concedes the point: "people are always a weak point.” Cryptocoins News excerpted the article. 

A New Competitor for Bitcoin Aims to Be Faster and Safer:

Has a Stanford Professor Developed a Faster, Securer Bitcoin?

Date Posted: 5/19/2015

Jon Kleinberg receives the ACM/AAAI Allen Newell Award

Jon Kleinberg won the 2014 ACM/AAAI Allen Newell Award.  The citation reads, "for groundbreaking work in computer science on social and information networks, information retrieval, and data science, and for bridging computing, economics and the social sciences... His innovative models and algorithms have broadened the scope of computer science to extend its influence to the burgeoning world of the Web and the social connections it enables."

The ACM/AAAI Allen Newell Award is presented to an individual selected for career contributions that have breadth within computer science, or that bridge computer science and other disciplines.


Date Posted: 5/04/2015

Konstantinos Mamouras wins ETAPS Best Paper award

Konstantinos (Kostas) Mamouras received a Best Paper award at the 2015 European Joint Conferences on Theory and Practice of Software (ETAPS) for his paper "Synthesis of Strategies and the Hoare Logic of Angelic Nondeterminism", appearing at the 18th International Conference on Foundations of Software Science and Computation Structures (FoSSaCS).  The paper addresses reasoning about programs that exhibit nondeterminism of a both angelic (under the program's control) and demonic (not under the program's control) nature.

Kostas is a PhD student working with Dexter Kozen. ETAPS is the primary European forum for academic and industrial researchers working on topics relating to Software Science.


Date Posted: 5/04/2015

Robbert van Renesse leads the 2nd Annual High School Programming Contest

Chronicle Article By Bill Steele:

Teams from two downstate schools took top prizes in the second annual Cornell University High School Programming Contest April 7. First and third prizes went to two teams from the Dalton School in New York City. Second prize went to Byram Hills High School in Westchester County.

The contest presented seven problems to be solved by writing computer programs, including translating English into Pig Latin, calculating the grade you would need to get on a final exam to pass a class, and counting the guests at an imaginary party thrown by Ezra Cornell and Andrew Dickson White.

Modeled on the Association for Computing Machinery Intercollegiate Programming Contest, the competition was created last year by Cornell principal research associate Robbert van Renesse, Ithaca High School math and computer science teacher Frederick Deppe and Daniel Fleischman, a graduate student in the field of operations research and industrial engineering. Seventeen teams from eight schools across New York participated.

Each team was provided a computer workstation and could work in any of several programming languages; every team chose Java, which van Renesse said is the most widely taught in high schools. Teams were given pencils and paper and a calculator, but were not allowed to use other electronic devices or access the Internet.

The programs must run correctly on the judge’s computer within a set time limit. The “judge” is actually a computer program that compares the output of the submitted entry with the expected result. No human ever sees a team’s code. The winner is the team that solves the most problems in the allotted three hours.

Some problems are easy and some very hard, but all are worth the same and are presented in random order. Part of the challenge is to decide which problems can be solved most rapidly. Two teams solved all seven problems, one team solved six, one team solved five, three teams solved four, five teams solved two, four teams solved only one, and one team solved no problems. Participants will receive feedback on their failed attempts, Van Renesse said.

Over a break for lunch, David Bindel, assistant professor of computer science, gave a talk on how to calculate pi to many decimal places, and the insights that offers into numerical computing. The talk was beneficial, Van Renesse explained, to show the students that computer science is about more than just programming.

The first-place team from Dalton was composed of juniors Karina Shah, Cal Lavicka and Remy Young. The second0place team from Byram Hills was made up of Greg Carlin, Brian Singer and Noah Koster. The third-place team was Dalton High senioirs Andrew Milich, Dillon Azzam and Zah Buttenweiser.

Organizers also gave prizes to the first three teams to solve any problem: First (17 minutes), Webster Schroeder High - Alex Mechler, Nathan Connor, Michael Edwards.
Second (tied at 23 minutes), Dalton High Juniors - Karina Shah, Cal Lavicka, Remy Young; Byram Hills High -  Greg Carlin, Brian Singer, Noah Koster. Winners received smartwatches.

The contest is open to any high school, anywhere. In addition to Dalton and Byram Hills, entrants were from Ithaca High School and Rochester-area schools Brighton High School, Fairport High School, McQuaid Jesuit, and Webster Thomas and Webster Schroeder high schools.

Date Posted: 4/20/2015


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