February 10, 2021 Board Meeting

UCLA Computer Science Department

Alumni Advisory Board 

Winter 2021 Meeting

Monday, February 10, 2021


Virtual on Zoom


Board Members: James Anhalt, John Busch, Lorraine Fesq, Tim Ford, Bill Goodin, Rizwan Kassim, Fahad Nathani, Francis Nickels, Laurie O’Connor, Dorab Patel, Diana Skaar, David Smallberg, Ning Ning Yu, Ben Zamanzadeh

Guests: Eli Gafni, Richard Korf, Eddie Shek, Monica Voinea, Garima Lunawat, Fay Wu

Department Staff: Cassandra Franklin, Peyton Reddick

Student Leaders: William Chern (ACM), Rucha Patki (ACM), Julia Baylon (ACM-W), Chloe Jiang (UPE), Kevin Zhang (UPE), Rishan Girish (UPE), Jack Gardner (exploretech.la)

General Discussion:

Prof Gafni and Korf presented an overview of the Department. 

UCLA switched to virtual classes and events at the end of winter quarter 2020.  Spring quarter 2021 and Summer Sessions 2021 will be online, but the Department hopes to be teaching classes in person in the fall.  The transition went better than expected.  Since all classes are now recorded, students can review the material as often as necessary.  Students can also chat with faculty privately.

UCLA is currently vaccinating its employees as educational workers.  

Faculty Awards:

George Varghese and Jason Cong were elected to National Academy of Inventors

Wei Wang, ACM Fellow

Demetri Terzopoulos, IEEE Computer Pioneer Award

Lixia Zhang, ACM SIGCOM Lifetime Achievement Award

Guy Van den Broeck, Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellow

NSF Career Awards: Guy Van den Broeck, Ravi Netravali, Sriram Sankararaman

Faculty Recruiting:

The Department currently has 40 tenure track faculty.  Dean’s target for the Department to have 45.  Milos Ercegovac and Carlo Zaniolo retired.  The Department hired four new faculty:  Nanyun Peng in Natural Language Processing, Baharan Mirzasoleiman in Machine Learning, Omid Obari in Networking, and Aditya Grover in Machine Learning (coming next year).

Faculty recruiting for next year is ongoing, with several interviews per week.  There are only three open positions for the whole School of Engineering.  Faculty candidates must have demonstrated mentorship of underrepresented students to be considered.

Curriculum Changes:

The Department is creating a new undergraduate minor in Data Science with the ECE Department.

The Department will also be offering a CS summer program for high-school students this year, led by Yizhou Sun.  The Department is hoping to have scholarships to help lower income students attend.

Prof Korf mentioned that there are about 1400 students in computer-related majors in the School of Engineering (Computer Science, Computer Science and Engineering, and Computer Engineering (joint major with the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department).  This is approximately one-third of the undergraduate students in the School of Engineering.  The Department also has nearly 400 graduate students.

The four majors in the CS and ECE Departments span the spectrum of computer science and electrical engineering classes (CS, CS&E, CE, EE), for students who seek more CS or more EE.

University Administration:

UCLA has received 139,000 undergraduate applications for fall 2021, which is the most ever.  The pandemic has highlighted the differences between top universities and others.  Some may be forced to go out of business because of decreased enrollments.  It is still a challenge for poorer students to attend UCLA.  All campus budgets are tight due to a year of decreased revenue; and there is a hiring freeze for staff positions.

There was a discussion of outreach efforts to Black and Latinx students by the School of Engineering.  Several members wanted more underrepresented CS graduates to hire.  Incoming undergraduates and graduates in underrepresented groups are admitted at the same rate as other groups.  The challenge is to increase the number of candidates in the pool.  There are many outreach efforts within the School of Engineering to increase high school and middle school students pursuing STEM majors.  This is a priority for the Dean’s Office.

Student group presentations:

Please see the attached presentations by ACM, ACM-W, UPE, and exploretech.la.

Prof Korf thanked the student leaders for their significant contributions to the success of their fellow students and the CS Department during this very difficult year of online classes and events.  They have continued to hold social events, company infosessions, career fairs, and other events; and helped students feel engaged, especially first-year and transfer students.

There was a discussion about how alumni and companies can contribute to the Department.  The Department has an Affiliates Program, https://www.cs.ucla.edu/industry/, which supports student group activities and events, as well as funding for 25 female CS students to attend the annual Grace Hopper Conference.  For additional information, please contact Prof Gafni, eli@cs.ucla.edu,  or Prof Korf, korf@cs.ucla.edu.

We were pleased to have Garima Lunawat, Eddie Shek, Monica Voinea, and Fay Wu attend the meeting as guest alumni.  

The screenshots taken during the meeting are attached.

Future Events:

As in past years, Board members will be invited to attend Discover UCLA Engineering (formerly called Engineering Open House) in early April.  It will likely be held on Saturday, April 10.  High school seniors admitted to UCLA Engineering and their parents attend this event to help them make their college choice; and alumni help them with that decision process.

Other Items:

We ask each Board member to make sure that his or her information on the website is current, http://www.cs.ucla.edu/alumni-advisory-board-members/

UPE website and Facebook page:



UPE slides:


ACM website and Facebook page:



ACM slides:


ACM-W Facebook page:


exploretech.la website and Facebook page:



Winter 2021