Time Magazine names iPhone app by Tim Novikoff and Fly Labs one of the 5 best of the week

Fly Labs has scored another award: their iPhone app Tempo was named one of Time Magazine's Best 5 iPhone Apps of the Week. Tempo, billed as the ultimate app for SlowMo & Timelapse, "gives you just enough control to make your clips more interesting. You can select parts of your video clips and edit them either to speed up or slow down playback by varying degrees" while they play in real time.

Fly Labs was founded by CEO Tim Novikoff (Cornell PhD '13 in applied mathematics), who teaches iPhone programming at Cornell in his spare time.

Date Posted: 4/15/2015

CACM: Juris Hartmanis, pioneer in the field of computational complexity theory, reflects on his career.

CACM has published a fantastic retrospective in the form of an extended interview with Juris Hartmanis, in which the pioneer in the field of computational complexity theory reflects on his career.

Excerpt describing the beginning of Hartmanis' collaboration with Richard Stearns, which would result in their joint Turing award: "[we] started working together during the summer and hit it off really well. When he finished his Ph.D. and joined the [G.E.] research lab as a research mathematician, we worked day in and day out together, sitting and staring at each other in his office or mine, shouting and hollering about the other's ignorance for not understanding the subtlest points of computability."

Condensed and edited version preview (full edited version behind ACM paywall): http://cacm.acm.org/magazines/2015/4/184690-an-interview-with-juris-hartmanis/abstract

Full text of the oral-history interview (behind paywall): http://dl.acm.org/citation.cfm?id=1141880.1775727

Date Posted: 4/15/2015

Google's FaceNet draws on work by Kilian Weinberger

Google's FaceNet, which has been described as having almost perfected the recognition of human faces, draws heavily upon work by Kilian Weinberger and, more generally, research by Thorsten Joachims. Associate Professor Kilian Weinberger was recently hired by Cornell and will move his lab to Ithaca this summer.

The system involves an adaptation of Weinberger's Large-Margin Nearest-Neighbor (LMNN) classifier to deep neural networks. It learns a new representation of facial images, in which two images of the same person are close together and two images of different people are far apart. This learning is facilitated through image triplets. Repeatedly (millions of times) two images of the same person are pulled together while simultaneously an image of a different person is pushed away. Joachims pioneered the use of such triples for learning.

The lead author of the Google CVPR 2015 paper on FaceNet, Florian Schroff, was formerly a postdoc with Serge Belongie.

Image below: Illustration of what LMNN does, represented as a cake made by Cornell CS alum John Blitzer ('02).  the green dots represent faces of the same individual, which all move closer together. The blue and red dots represent faces of different persons, which move away from the green dots.

Date Posted: 4/09/2015

Nate Foster wins the 2015 POPL Most Influential Paper Award

Nate Foster, Michael Greenwald, Jon Moore, Benjamin Pierce, and Alan Schmitt
were awarded the 2015 POPL Most Influential Paper Award for their paper
"Combinators for Bidirectional Tree Transformations: A Linguistic Approach to
the View Update Problem" from POPL 2005.

This award is presented annually to the author(s) of a paper presented at the
POPL held 10 years prior to the award year.

Award citation:
The "view-update problem" is a classic problem in databases: when operating on a
partial view of a data structure, how should updates to the view be propagated
to the original data structure?  This POPL 2005 paper was instrumental in
bringing the view-update problem to the attention of the programming languages
community and demonstrating the broad relevance of the problem beyond
databases.  The immediate contributions of the paper were (1) to introduce a
general mathematical space of well-behaved bidirectional transformations called
"lenses," and (2) to develop a specific instantiation of this framework in the
form of a domain-specific language of combinators for tree transformations,
which served as the basis for subsequent tools for editing XML and HTML.  More
broadly, the paper sparked a great deal of follow-on work in the area of BX
("bidirectional transformations"), leading to a fruitful collaboration between
the worlds of databases, programming languages, and software engineering.

Date Posted: 4/09/2015

CRA Undergraduate Researcher Award 2015

CS seniors Kevin Lee and Christopher Yu  both received honorable mentions in the prestigious Computing Research Association (CRA) Outstanding Undergraduate Award 2015 competition. There were only seven honorable mentions given in the PhD-granting institution/Male category.

The Computing Research Association's Outstanding Undergraduate Researchers Award recognizes undergraduate students in North American colleges and universities who show outstanding research potential in an area of computing research.

Date Posted: 4/09/2015

David Steurer wins best paper award at STOC 2015

David Steurer and his coauthors have won one of the three best paper awards at the STOC 2015, the 47th Annual Symposium on the Theory of Computing.

The paper is entitled, "Lower bounds on the size of semidefinite programming relaxations", written together with James R. Lee (University of Washington) and Prasad Raghavendra (UC Berkeley).  Among the many consequences of their results is that no family of polynomial-size semidefinite programming relaxations can achieve better than a 7/8-approximation for MAX 3 SAT.

Date Posted: 4/09/2015

Bart Selman wins inaugural John McCarthy Award

The winner of the 2015 inaugural IJCAI John McCarthy Award is Bart Selman, who is being recognized for expanding our understanding of problem complexity and developing new algorithms for efficient inference.

The John McCarthy award is intended to recognize established mid-career
researchers that have built up a major track record of research excellence in
artificial intelligence. Recipients of the award will have made significant
contributions to the research agenda in their area and will have a first-rate
profile of influential research results.

Date Posted: 4/08/2015

Ittay Eyal and Gun Sirer on blockchains: article in Scientific American

Postdoctoral researcher Ittay Eyal is quoted in a Scientific American article, "Bitcoin-Based Blockchain Breaks Out".  Eyal, speaking about the security of prior transaction records in blockchains, notes that "To change history, an attacker needs more computation power than all honest parties combined.” The article also references work by Eyal and Gun Sirer on some existing problems with block-chain systems.

Date Posted: 4/08/2015

Christopher Yu '15 Wins NSF Fellowship

CS major Christopher "Flo" Yu ('15) has been awarded an NSF Graduate Research Fellowship.  This is his second significant award: he also received an honorable mention in the CRA Outstanding Undergraduate Researcher competition earlier this year  He has done undergraduate research with Nate Foster and Bobby Kleinberg and assisted with multiple courses, including CS3110, CS4700, and CS4820.

Date Posted: 4/08/2015

Chenhao Tan has won the 2015 Facebook Fellowship in HCI and Social Computing

The two-year award covers tuition and fees and provides a $37,000 yearly grant. 11 were awarded overall.

Facebook's spotlight on Chenhao's research, which is in the broad area of social computing, with a focus on language and social interaction: https://www.facebook.com/notes/facebook-fellowship-program/2015-2016-fellowship-winner-highlight-chenhao-tan-cornell-university/1797400167152568

Full announcement of the 2015 winners: https://www.facebook.com/fellowship/posts/1794215174137734

Date Posted: 3/12/2015

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