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Chair’s Welcome


Professor Mario Gerla

October, 2015

Intelligence plus character – that is the goal of true education.

— Martin Luther King

As the new chair of UCLA’s Computer Science Department, I am exceptionally pleased to take part in this year’s annual report. The Department has been “home” to me for nearly 40 years, and as a faculty member, research center director, and now as Department chair, I very much look forward to continuing my participation in the future of the Department, its academic and scientific challenges and rewards, and its continuing evolution— which takes many forms, as noted below.

Research. During 2014-2015, the Department received awards from federal and state agencies, industry, and other organizations for new research. Many of these awards are uniquely significant—both in scientific scope and funding: for example, an NSF Frontier award for an Encrypted Functionalities Center ($5M); an NSF/Intel InTrans award to extend research previously funded under the Expeditions in Computing program ($3M); and the NIH Center for Biomedical Real-Time Health Evaluation for Pediatric Asthma ($6.5M).

Faculty. We are pleased that our six new faculty members chose to pursue their teaching and research goals here at UCLA, bringing with them extensive education and scientific backgrounds, coupled with enormous talent and enthusiasm. We extend a warm welcome to each of them.

Miryung Kim—tools for developing and evolving large-scale software systems

Raghu Meka—complexity theory, pseudo-randomness, algorithms, learning, probability, data mining

Ameet Talwalkar—scalability and ease-of-use in statistical machine learning, with applications in computational genomics

Fei Sha—intelligent and autonomous systems, robotics, computing systems and networks for large-scale machine learning

Guy Van den Broeck—AI, machine learning, automated reasoning, and statistical relational learning

Sriram Sankararaman—statistical machine learning, big data, biology and population, medical genomics

Awards. During 2014-2015, our faculty received numerous best-paper awards at key conferences, invitations as keynote speakers and distinguished lecturers, and many honors and awards from academia, industry and scientific societies. The latter includes Judea Pearl’s election to the National Academy of Sciences, Demetri Terzopoulos’s election to Fellow of the Royal Society of London, and Leon Alkalai’s election to JPL Fellow.

Students. The Department currently hosts 856 BS students in its CS and CS&E programs, 253 MS students, and 144 Ph.D. students. I’m pleased to report that approximately 60% of the Department’s recently graduated Ph.D. students are now engineers and researchers at leading industrial institutions such as Intel, Microsoft, Google, and Synopsys, to name a few; 30% have gone on to postdoctoral positions at major universities and laboratories such as Harvard, MIT, Yale, and UCLA; and 10% now have faculty positions at universities such as Purdue, Northwestern and CSU-Northridge.

Facilities. On the cover of this year’s annual is an illustration of the Department’s future home—the 90,000-square-foot Phase II Engineering VI building. The new facility will house a technology-enabled 250-seat learning center, faculty and student offices, labs for research on advanced materials for healthcare and industrial applications, and even an alumni center. Most of the Department’s faculty, staff and graduate students will relocate to Engineering VI in 2017.

I want to thank all of you for your support, and I look forward to my continuing relationship with the extraordinary faculty, staff and students of the UCLA Computer Science Department.

Mario Gerla

Chair, Computer Science Department