News & Events

2007 - 2008 Archived Speaker Series

In 2002, as a service to students and the broader community, the Computing & Software Systems program created the CSS Speaker Series. The purpose of the Series is to promote continuing education for the community and alumni, as well as connecting industry representatives to our student population. The series sponsors guests from a vast range of areas, encompassing aspects of manipulating and creating digital technology, nanotechnology, software project management and computer graphics and animation. The Series is funded by both the Computer and Software Systems Program and the Campus Events Board. On average, we host approximately nine speakers every academic year (autumn to spring quarter). Please check back to find out information on our upcoming speakers, and to view copies of biographies and abstracts.

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Can Graduating Students Design Software Systems?

Dr. Carol Zander
Computing & Software Systems
University of Washington Bothell

This talk will describe computer science education research and go into detail on one example of a multinational, multi-institutional computer science education research study.  For the study, subjects were given a software design task to analyze, decompose, and organize into meaningful and manageable parts.  The data was analyzed from different aspects and the results will be reported and compared to informal results from CSS students.

Dr. Zander received an M.S. degree in mathematics from the University of Colorado and a M.S. and Ph.D. in computer science from Colorado State University. She has worked in the software industry at Hewlett-Packard and IBM, and her many interests include object-oriented programming and design, programming languages, distributed artificial intelligence, and software engineering education. She has spent many years shaping the minds of students, teaching mathematics and computer science at the University of Maine, Colorado State University, and Seattle University. At Seattle University her students rewarded her efforts by voting her outstanding faculty awards.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007
1:30 - 2:30pm
UW1 041

Unconventional Views on Conventional Wisdom about Software Engineering Research

Dr. David Notkin
Computer Science & Engineering
University of Washington Seattle

To increase the rate of progress in software engineering research -- with the goal of, ultimately, improving the state-of-the-practice -- we must take a step back and reassess several pieces of conventional wisdom.  First, we must aggressively identify and reject research dichotomies that drive us, for example, towards (or away from) empirical assessment or dynamic analysis.  Second, we must collectively reconsider our research portfolio -- monocultures are highly likely to fail to thrive.  Third, we must question core assumptions -- for example, "software clones are bad" and "it's always best to define interfaces early."  Taking this step back is intended to open doors to a number of potentially productive paths in software engineering research.

Dr. David Notkin has research interests in software engineering, with a particular focus in software evolution - understanding why software is so hard and expensive to change, and in turn reducing those difficulties and costs.  He has been on the faculty at the University of Washington in the Department of Computer Science & Engineering since 1984, currently serving as the Bradley Chair.  Previously, he served as department chair (2001-06). He received his Sc.B. from Brown University (1977), and his Ph.D. from Carnegie-Mellon University (1984).  In 1988 he received an NSF Presidential Young Investigator Award, and in 1998 was named an ACM Fellow, and received the University of Washington Distinguished Graduate Mentor Award in 2000.  He has spent sabbaticals at IBM's Haifa Research Lab, Osaka University, and the Tokyo Institute of Technology.  He served as chair of ACM SIGSOFT (1997-2001), as program chair of the 1993 ACM SIGSOFT Symposium on the Foundations of Software Engineering and as program co-chair of the 1995 International Conference on Software Engineering.  He is a member of the board of the CRA, and co-chair of the National Center for Women in Information Technology (NCWIT) Academic Alliance.

Thursday, November 15, 2007
3:30 - 4:30pm
UW2 131

Parallel Computers and Programming

Dr. Janusz Kowalik 
Visiting Professor,
Informatics Institute at Gdansk University,
Gdansk, Poland

Between the 1960s and  the  1990s computer designers proposed and implemented many parallel systems. Some of them turned out not  suitable  for general applications. Others failed to compete with superior price/performance systems based on commodity processors. By the end of the 1990s it became clear that multi-processors and multi-computers utilizing commodity processors and connection networks won the race. Today new generations of computer users and programmers are becoming increasingly familiar with design of parallel algorithms and software running on parallel computers. The focus of this lecture is to explain modern computer architectures and related programming methods.

Dr. Janusz Kowalik is a former Professor of Mathematics and Computer Science at Washington State University. He also spent about 25 years as a technology manager of a computing research organization at the Boeing Corporation in Seattle. Now he is serving as a Visiting Professor of the Informatics Institute at Gdansk University, Gdansk, Poland.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008
3:30 - 4:30pm
UW1 041

Digital Ink and Interaction in the Classroom

Dr. Ruth Anderson
Computer Science & Engineering
UW Seattle

Lectures, where the instructor talks and students listen, are the dominant format for most university-level courses. Yet, even as educational research confirms the need for interaction and feedback as a way to improve student learning, current models of interaction limit both the amount and type of interaction that can take place during most lectures.

Classroom Presenter is a Tablet PC-based presentation and classroom interaction system developed at the University of Washington.  Presenter allows both the collection of input from student devices and the sharing of student artifacts with the class on a public display. In this talk, I will demonstrate Presenter and discuss a set of pilot deployments of the system in real classrooms.

Dr. Ruth Anderson is a recent Ph.D. graduate of the Computer Science and Engineering department at the University of Washington, Seattle specializing in educational technology and computer science education.  For five years she served as a faculty member in the department of Computer Science at the University of Virginia.  Currently she is a part time lecturer in the CSE department at UW Seattle.

Monday, February 4, 2008
3:30 - 4:30pm
UW1 020

The Ethics of Computer Game Design

John Nordlinger
Microsoft Research, Microsoft

Join us for a presentation on fundamental ethical systems and how they relate to the emerging virtual world. This lecture will recount startling anecdotes from the online game space, some remarkable trends and finally a provocative suggestion for how games can be better both in terms of ethics and game play.

John Nordlinger started with computers earning money to pay for his Philosophy degree at Northeastern University. He was then hired by Digital Equipment Corporation to troubleshoot VAX/VMS and then work on the VMS and DEC OSF/1 operating systems as a Principal engineer.  

John then went to work at Oracle as Technical Director where he launched the first 64-bit database and then to Microsoft to lead the Microsoft SQL Server enterprise effort including launching Terraserver as part of Microsoft's Scalability Day. 

After a two and half year break where John traveled in Europe and Asia, he returned to Microsoft Research to work with Academic Institutions in the Northeast of the US and India. John was instrumental in persuading Microsoft Research to build a lab in Bangalore, India.  He then went on to address the problem of Computer Science (CS) enrollment decline by promoting CS curriculum enhancement including using gaming themes and technologies.

John produces The MSR gaming kit., has been running the MSR initiative on gaming in CS including the RFP and works with Kent Foster on the annual Academic Days with Gaming and the related Call for papers. John has presented internationally (US, Europe, Mexico, Chile, China and Canada) for the last few years on the potential of gaming to enhance CS and on The Ethics of Game Design. John's focus now includes games for learning and hopes to collaborate with others on developing a game to help young kids with algebra and geometry and older kids with the GRE.

Thursday, February 14, 2008
5:45 - 6:45pm
UW1 220

Take an Internal look at Hadoop

Dr. Hairong Kuang
Senior Software Engineer

Dr. Kuang will present the architecture of Hadoop, a framework for running applications on large clusters built of commodity hardware.  Hadoop implements a computational paradigm named Map/Reduce where the application is divided into many small fragments of work, each of which may be executed on any node in the cluster. It also provides a distributed file system, HDFS, that stores data on the computer nodes as blocks and with multiple replicas.  Both Map/Reduc and HDFS are designed so that node failures are automatically handled by the framework.

Dr. Hairong Kuang received her Ph.D. from the Department of Information and Computer Science at the University of California, Irvine.  Afterwards she had worked as an Assistant Professor for three years in the Department of Computer Science at the California Polytechnic University, Ponoma. Now she is a senior software engineer working on the grid computing platform in Yahoo.

Thursday, February 28, 2008
3:30 - 4:30pm
UW1 041



Keynote Lecture:

Tackling the Climate Change Problem: We Cannot Afford to Wait

Dr. Pieter P. Tans
NOAA Earth System Research Laboratory

The increases of carbon dioxide that has been observed in the atmosphere and in the oceans add up to the total amount emitted since pre-industrial times.  The conclusion that the increases are directly due to human activities is further strengthened by additional independent evidence.  Humans dominate the current imbalance in the global carbon cycle.  Collectively, we are also the driving force of climate change since the current growth of climate forcing by long lived greenhouse gases is almost completely due to increases of atmospheric carbon dioxide. 

The situation we find ourselves in is urgent for two reasons.  The rate of increase of emissions since 2000 has been above the most rapid growth scenario envisioned by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.  Transformation of our energy infrastructure will take decades, and developing nations desire rapid economic growth.  Therefore, continued massive emissions are likely, even accelerating in the near future.  Secondly, how much more emissions are still "safe" in terms of not triggering climate change that may be very hard to cope with?  We do not know whether the earth system is close to, or has already passed, one or more "tipping points" at which feedbacks in the climate system will generate further warming, sea level rise, changes in precipitation and many other impacts, outside of our control.  Current evidence and understanding suggests that we will have to both adapt to significant climate change as well as mitigate emissions.  With respect to mitigation, a complete transformation of our energy system is necessary.

Dr. Pieter Tans is a Senior Scientist at NOAA's Earth System Research Laboratory.  He earned his Ph.D. in Experimental Physics, Rijkusuniversiteit Groningen, The Netherlands. He is the author and co-author of numerous articles studying the carbon dioxide levels in the atomosphere.

Wednesday, April 30th 2008
5:30 Reception
6:00 Lecture
UW Bothell, North Creek Events Center

Dr. Tan's presentation slides are now available online!

The Future of Kernel Design

Dr. Dave Probert
Architect, Microsoft

Changes in the nature of computing have the potential of dramatically affecting the architecture of operating systems, which have been relatively stagnant for decades. A general breakdown in kernel abstractions, the coming plethora of CPUs/socket (i.e. "ManyCore"), and virtualization -- all represent inflection points which may cause a fundamental re-think. None of the discussion is about specific product plans, but rather a high-level look at what operating systems may look like in the future, and why we may be about to enter one of the most revolutionary eras in the design and implementation of the traditional "kernel" layer of the OS. It is possible that kernels, as we know them today, may become obsolete.

Dave Probert is an Architect in the Windows Core Kernel & Architecture team at Microsoft. Until recently Dave managed kernel development for Windows 2000, XP, Server 2003, and early phases of XP SP2 and Vista. Currently Dave is working on releasing kernel sources to universities and developing Project OZ, an experimental environment based on the SPACE project at UC Santa Barbara, where Dave earned his Ph.D. in Electrical & Computer Engineering. Prior to Microsoft, Dave's experience was primarily focused on UNIX kernels, including several years as Vice President of Software Engineering at Culler Scientific Systems. Dave's career began in the late 1970s at Burroughs, where he was a computer architect designing hardware and writing microcode for the B1900.

Thursday, June 5th, 2008
8:00 - 10:00 PM
UW1 010

Take a look at our list of past invited speakers!

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