UCLA Computer Science Department
Alumni Advisory Board
Spring 2017 Meeting
Tuesday, May 25, 2017
UCLA Faculty Center
Board Members: James Anhalt, Tim Ford, Bill Goodin, Francis Nickels, Dorab Patel, Lolo Penedo, Roderick Son, Ning Ning Yu, Ben Zamanzadeh
Guests: Cassandra Franklin, Mario Gerla, Richard Korf, Sarah Low
Student Leaders: Mihir Mathur (ACM), Cristen Anderson (UPE), Ricky Lee (UPE), Garima Lunawat (ACM-W), Natasha Kohli (ACM-W)
Prof Gerla described new areas of faculty hiring. The initial list of candidates included machine learning, robotics, software systems, data science, and vision systems. The department is currently narrowing the list from 15 to, perhaps, two or three. The likely areas are machine learning, artificial intelligence, and software systems. Prof Kai-Wei Chang (UIUC ‘15), Artificial Intelligence, has already accepted his offer.
Prof Gerla also mentioned the following recent faculty awards:
National Academy of Engineering: Jason Cong, George Varghese
2017 ACM-EATCS Dijkstra Prize in Distributed Computing: Elizabeth Borowsky, Eli Gafni: Generalized FLP impossibility result for t-resilient asynchronous computations.
IEEE Computer Society’s Technical Achievement Award for 2017: Rafail Ostrovski
Alred P. Sloan Research Fellow in Computational & Evolutionary Molecular Biology: Sriram Sankararaman
Over the past year, the Department has added three companies to the Industrial Affiliates Program at the basic level – Uber, KPMG, and Strategic Global Advisors, LLC. Two more companies may be joining soon as Gold Partners.
The Department will be moving into Engineering VI, Phase 2, this fall. The original plan was to move in late summer; but the construction has been delayed.
The number of incoming graduate students for the fall is: MS, 150; PhD, 26. The number of current graduate students is: MS, 136; PhD, 133.
There was also a discussion about the senior design or capstone course, and Prof Gerla encouraged companies to provide projects for this course. The students work on group projects, which are eight weeks long. Each project is different, and has one or two student teams, with about five students per team. The more diverse and real-world the projects are, the better for the students. Spring 2017 clients included The Aerospace Corporation, Ariento, Connexity, IBM, UCLA Anderson students with business projects), and UCLA Psychology Dept.
The Department has created a diversity committee, chaired by Prof Miryung Kim, which will work to help increase the number of women and under-represented students and faculty in the department. The committee will also support the activities of ACM-W and the female graduate student association.
Prof Korf stated that fall admissions to the Department were very strong again this year. He does not have the final numbers yet.
The Electrical Engineering Department will be changing its name to Electrical and Computer Engineering on July 1, and offering a new degree in Computer Engineering. It will include classes in robotics, embedded systems, and cyber-physical systems (Internet of Things).
The Department will begin offering a class in Python this fall.
Prof Korf discussed a new class for students without programming experience (Engr 97), which will be taken by those students prior to CS 31, 32, 33. This class should help these students build confidence and bring them up to the level of those students with a lot of programming experience.
The Department will start a Learning Assistant Program in the fall, which will allow undergraduate students to assist in undergraduate classes. Undergraduates have been teaching classes through ACM after hours, and the Department wants to utilize their skills and enthusiasm.
Again, this year, the Department will support 20-25 students to attend the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing Conference in Orlando in October. The Department will also likely have a table in the exhibition hall to attract graduate students and faculty.
Based on student feedback, the Department will reduce the number of required physics classes from two to one. This change will likely be very popular with students!
The student leaders also presented the preliminary results of a survey regarding the current CS curriculum. The survey was sent to current students and alumni, asking them to suggest possible new classes to be added, which classes have been most helpful, and any other information that they might want the department to know about the curriculum. The results are attached. The department supports adding some of the proposed classes; but has faced challenges in finding instructors to teach them.
Student group presentations:
Please see the attached presentations by ACM, UPE, and ACM-W.
Several alumni participated in this year’s Open House in April, and we believe that we helped the Department convince many admitted high school seniors to choose UCLA. Not all of the data is in yet regarding the fall freshman class.
The Honors-Affiliate Mixer will be held on October 16 in the CNSI building. This year it will be expanded to include members of the electrical and computer engineering honor society, Eta Kappa Nu (HKN). It will also include industrial affiliate members of the EE Department.
We ask each Board member to make sure that his or her information on the website is correct, https://www.cs.ucla.edu/alumni-advisory-board-members/
Andrew Louie resigned from the Board in May due to work and family commitments.