The University of Texas at Austin Computer Sciences Department
Chairman J Strother Moore
We have kicked off another academic year and want to keep you
informed of news, events and life in the Department of Computer Sciences
at The University of Texas at Austin. We are excited to share updates
with you about our new Dell Computer Science Hall, events, alumni program
news, recent accomplishments, partner and donor activity, and a retrospective
on spring and summer happenings.
Because it is important to us to stay in touch with you, we have launched
new web site and now offer RSS feed subscriptions to help
you stay abreast of UTCS news. We hope you like these changes and, as
always, please send your thoughts and comments to
We would love to hear from you!
J Strother Moore Chair, UTCS
Capital Campaign: Dell Computer Science Hall
Exciting, initial work has begun on the Dell Computer Science Hall. Architects
are in the throes of planning, demolition work is in process, and additional
funding activity is underway to complete the funding campaign continues.
The new UTCS home, Dell Computer Science Hall, is a crucial component in our
strategy to maintain and integrate the vibrancy, innovation and relevance of our research
and educational missions. The building will provide the flexible space necessary
to allow our faculty, students and
visiting researchers from diverse backgrounds to pursue cutting-edge, high-risk
research. By having undergraduate classrooms, instructional labs and student
organizations incorporated into the research lab environment with faculty and graduate
students, we can more easily inspire our undergraduate students with the entrepreneurial
activity represented by funded research.
The campaign was kicked off by a generous gift from the Michael & Susan Dell
Foundation. To celebrate the foundation's lead donation in the
construction of Dell Computer Science Hall, the Department of Computer Sciences, the College
of Natural Sciences, and the University of Texas at Austin have jointly inaugurated the
Dell Distinguished Lecture Series. Each year, the University will invite
an international leader of the digital revolution to come to the University
to give a public lecture.
The first Dell Distinguished Lecture will be held on November 15, 2007
Narayana Murthy, the co-founder of InfoSys,
one of the largest software companies in the world. Also attending will
Dell and UT President Powers.
If you are interested in the capital campaign, please contact UTCS Chair, J Strother
Moore at email@example.com.
Accident claims the life of UTCS junior, Danny Toole
Daniel (Danny) Gregory Toole, 20, passed away after a
fall from his dormitory balcony on Sunday, October 21, 2007. He had planned
to become a software entrepreneur and pursued that goal through participation
Scholars an elite honors program for University of Texas computer science
the summer of 2007, he was employed as a software engineering intern
at BorgSolutions, Inc. in Austin, Texas. Besides his lifelong interest
in computer science, Danny was also interested in politics, philosophy,
music and the human condition.
The Danny Toole Memorial Turing Scholarship Fund has been
established to benefit future Turing Scholars.
"We would be interested in giving it to people who have a broad range
of interests like Danny and who would be thinking of various ways for
technology to solve problems and make life better," his father said.
Danny is survived by his parents, Shaun
and Nan Toole;
as well as his brother, Eric Toole, all of Houston.
Major Department Awards and Recognition
UTCS is pleased to note a number of recent, significant awards and honors. The department is deeply
honored by the peer and public recognition of our work. Continually updated awards and recognition as well
as press releases are available as an
UTCS Event Retrospective
To view photo captions, bring mouse to top of movie window.
UTCS hosts events throughout the year with the goal of honoring achievements,
assisting students, engaging the community, solidifying industrial and economic
relationships and thanking our donors. Spring and summer 07 events included:
Spring Career Fair brings employers and students together for recruiting,
education and networking. The Career Fair focuses on full-time, part-time and intern hiring.
UTCS Scholarship Luncheon, with the theme “Love Our Students, Love Our
Donors!," aptly describes this event that brings scholarship donors,
FoCS members and student recipients together for fellowship and appreciation.
The campus-wide Explore
event reaches out to the community-at-large for a full day of family
fun and educational activities.
is UTCS’s graduate student recruiting event. A weekend of activities
illustrates the depth and breadth of our graduate curriculum and
Lights..Camera…Action! A campus-wide
Film Festival, replete with popcorn, is sponsored
The CNS Research Forum highlights students' research
and presentation of work to industry and academic judges.
The event is followed by an awards reception with Dean Mary Ann Rankin.
The TRIPS Processor Unveiling honored eight years of work
designing a revolutionary new polymorphous microprocessor architecture
designed and built by a research team at UTCS.
The UTCS “C2” (Commencement Celebration) wishes departing UTCS grads
success and encourages them and their families to stay connected to the department with a “Phone Home” campaign.
UTCS Fall 2007 Events
CNS Career Fair and UTCS FoCS Career Brunch
College of Natural Sciences Career Fair and exclusive FoCS Career Brunch was held on
Monday, September 24th. These events bring students and employers together for an energetic kickoff
to the academic year. The brunch was an overwhelming success and surpassed expectations
for industry recruitment of computer science talent. Only FoCS members and top invited CS
students attend the event.
Visions Lectures and Reception
The annual Visions Lecture, to be held on the evening of Monday,
November 5, 2007,
honors CS faculty who have garnered high honors for their work. The 2007
honorees will be
Dr. Peter Stone for receiving the 2007 Computers and Thought Award from
the International Joint Conferences on Artificial Intelligence (IJCAI)
Dr. Fred Chang of the UT Center for Information and Assurance and Security
for receiving the National Security Agency Director's Distinguished
UTCS And You –Partners For The Future!
With only l8% of the university’s funding coming from state funding,
the need for active donors is key to our ability to innovate, educate
and change the lives of the people who will change the future through
technology and science. There are many unique ways to
support UTCS that will make a difference.
Give online on the College of Natural Sciences web site
by selecting "Computer Sciences, Dept of" from the pulldown menu,
or contact Nancy P. Hatchett at 512.471.9793
to discuss ways to get involved.
First Bytes campers and staff watch the students' robot competition.
Academic Outreach and Initiatives
First Bytes 5.0
Fifty Texas female high school students attended
First Bytes, a week long
residential camp where they participated in activities designed to overcome
barriers to women in computing. The camp is partially supported by
Amazon.com, Cisco, Lockheed Martin, and Schlumberger.
First Bytes High School Teachers' Camp
Twenty Texas high school computer science teachers spent three days at
UTCS this summer collaborating, learning and exchanging ideas. Following
the 2006 workshop, the department, and teachers worked to encourage
the Texas State Board of Education to approve AP Computer Science as
a course option satisfying the fourth year math requirement for a high school
Diversity outreach efforts
Females currently make up 13% of undergraduate students and 15% of
graduate students in the Department of Computer Sciences. The department is
dedicated to increasing this number through internal and external outreach initiatives
with the hire of a full-time assistant director of academic initiatives and increased
support of the Women in Computer
Sciences (WICS) program.
UTCS Alumni Staffers
UTCS alumni Dan Machold, Mary Esther Middleton and Chris McCraw.
Mary Esther Middleton, B.A. 1983, has been the director of
two community outreach programs for three years —
First Bytes, a computer science summer camp for high school girls and the
UTCS Teachers' Camp. She receives great
personal satisfaction from the success of First Bytes and the growth
of the students during camp. About 50% of the campers have matriculated
to UT Austin. This year four students will join our department.
Upon graduation, she worked for start-up companies before spending 17
years at Tandem, which later became Compaq and HP. Upon retiring from
the tech industry, she started a yoga instruction business. Her
personal interests revolve around living well—cooking,
gardening, reading and exercising. Her advice to students is “Follow
Chris McCraw, B.A. 2001, maintained 500 Linux machines and
helped users with problems. After three years with UTCS, he recently
embarked on a grand biking adventure. This summer he rode his bike from
Austin to Alaska with the Texas
as a cancer research fundraiser. To find out more about Chris’ adventure, read
Chris began his career working in startups, but the 90-hour weeks took their toll.
Not particularly motivated by money, he states, “The incredibly supportive environment
is a great fit with my personality.” Professionally, he is interested in how
scripting languages have been evolving into first-class development languages.
He’s also nearly completed two
novels in the past three years. His advice to students: “Follow
your heart, not the almighty dollar. Enjoy life -- find work that you enjoy.”
Dan Machold, B.A. 2003, is a programmer in a position that
includes technical support, backups and restores, programming and organizing
film festival. The technologies he is currently learning
are database and web programming. He has been at UTCS over seven years,
after nearly becoming a music teacher, but changing his mind the last
semester of his senior year at East Carolina University in Greenville.
It was his interest in music that brought him to Austin for SXSW in 1996
and he never left. He maintains a photography
web site of his work,
www.danmacholdphoto.com, as well
as a listing of Austin music shows,
www.showlistaustin.com. His advice to students: "Take
advantage of the often unexpected opportunities life presents."
UTCS Alumni Reconnect
Alumni Update: Tom Keller, (Ph.D., 1976)
Tom Keller was recently promoted to the rank of IBM Distinguished
Engineer for his contributions to the management of power in computer systems.
UTCS professor, J.C. Browne and K.M. Chandy were co-supervising
professors for his dissertation research in operating systems performance modeling.
Tom’s career has alternated between research and product development, with
stops at J.C. Browne’s Austin consulting company (now Hy-Performix), the Los
Alamos Scientific Laboratory, the UT Computation Center and Austin’s MCC before
joining IBM in 1989. It was at MCC that Keller’s performance team developed the
now-infamously long-lived TPC-C benchmark.
Keller’s area of work, systems power, is one of the newest and most challenging
problems facing computer developers today. He was among the first IBMers to
recognize the importance of the power problem to continued competitiveness and
has been a central figure in power-related activities. Keller’s research team at
the Austin Research Lab is the focus of system-level power management for the company,
co-developing the PowerExecutive™ feature, a power measurement and management product
for IBM systems now shipping in x86 platforms and upcoming System p POWER6 systems.
Keller joined IBM as technical lead of the AIX (Unix) operating system performance group
but has worked the last decade in the IBM Research Division.
Tom recently gave the June talk for the Austin Forum at the UT Texas Advanced
Computing Center (TACC) titled “Commercial Computers: Backbone to the I.T. Revolution…
Big, Hungry and Growing” exploring the explosive growth in electric consumption by
data centers and their power and cooling problems. He was back on campus in the
early 2000’s for several years as IBM Research’s campus relationship manager.
He and Merily married while U.T. students and have lived in the same house in West
Lake Hills for almost 30 years. Both their sons held jobs as computer consultants –
Sed as a campus computer consultant while a student at Emory and Chase as a lead
web developer at Austin’s drkoop.com while in high school. Sed is a high school
physics teacher in Northern New Mexico.
Both Tom and Merily are active in state mental health issues, in particular suicide
prevention, after the loss of Chase to depression in 2000.
Research Corner: Computer Vision
UTCS Professor Kristen Grauman
Professor Kristen Grauman
The visual world is a rich and complex source of information. We as humans
constantly draw on it, whether for purely practical purposes—such as navigation,
recognition of familiar people and objects, or manipulating tools and devices,
or for purposes that are more intricate and subtle—such as inferring the function
of an unfamiliar object, interpreting gestures and facial expressions, or detecting
abnormal activity. The broad goal of computer vision research is to automate
visual perception --- that is, to develop the algorithms and representations
that will allow a machine to “see” or autonomously analyze images and videos.
Achieving this goal stands to have a significant impact on our productivity
However, the flexibility and scalability demanded from computer vision
algorithms expected to operate in real-world conditions is staggering. To
approach human-level performance, not only must they identify objects under
a wide range of illuminations, against different backgrounds, or in a variety
of poses, but they must also allow instantaneous recognition of tens of thousands
of object categories. Recent years have shown much progress in the development
of rich image representations, but current paradigms for learning and recognizing
visual categories typically ignore the issue of scalability, often relying
on carefully supervised (manually labeled or annotated) data, or having such
high computational costs that artificial limits must be placed on the size
of image descriptions or the amount of data from which object models are
learned. Clearly, to be successful, vision algorithms must not only capture
an incredible level of robustness, but they must do so efficiently and with
minimal human intervention.
The highlighted areas are most
important for object recognition in
Ongoing research led by Kristen Grauman and the UT computer vision research group
aims at making recognition and content-based image retrieval practical on a
large-scale. They address the issue both by providing algorithms with significant
computational advantages, as well as by developing unsupervised and semi-supervised
strategies for learning visual categories with minimal manual input.
Prior to joining UTCS in January 2007 as an assistant professor, Grauman completed
her Ph.D. at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the Computer Science and
Artificial Intelligence Laboratory.
The UTCS faculty and staff,
circa 1966. Front row, from left to right: Robert E. Lynch, Norman Martin, Suzanne Kain Rhoads
(secretary), Robert T. Gregory (chairman), Alfred G. Dale. Second row: David M. Young, Jr., Woodrow W. Bledsoe,
Terrance W. Pratt, John C. Loehlin, Erna Pearson and Angus Pearson. Not shown: Clarence L. Coates, Jr.,
Howard Burl Baltz and Victor Bunderson.
CS alumni are encouraged to keep their contact information updated by emailing
firstname.lastname@example.org. You may also apply for a free, lifetime @alumni.cs.utexas.edu
email account and a cross link to your personal or business web page
If you are interested in participating in the planning process of the
alumni program launch, please email email@example.com