Ching-Yun (Chloe) Hsu Receives 2017 Henry Ford II Scholar Award


Mathematics and Computer Science student Ching-Yun (Chloe) Hsu, mentored by Professors Chris Umans and Rupert Frank, is a recipient of the 2017 Henry Ford II Scholar Award. She is researching generalized Fourier transform on groups, and will be working on a geometric modeling project. In the past, she has studied the prism manifold realization problem and the k-SUM problem. The Henry Ford II Scholar Award is funded under an endowment provided by the Ford Motor Company Fund. The award is made annually to engineering students with the best academic record at the end of the third year of undergraduate study.

Tags: honors Henry Ford II Scholar Award Christopher Umans Ching-Yun (Chloe) Hsu Rupert Frank

Professor Umans Receives Northrop Grumman Prize for Excellence in Teaching


Christopher Umans, Professor of Computer Science, is the recipient of the 2017 Northrop Grumman Prize for Excellence in Teaching. The Prize is awarded to an EAS professor who demonstrates, in the broadest sense, unusual ability, creativity, and innovation in undergraduate and graduate classroom or laboratory teaching. A nomination for Professor Umans read, “his course on computational complexity has become the de facto way that students decide if they're interested in computer science. It is an extremely challenging, mathematical course but his crisp, entertaining lectures bring everyone along.” Students in his class described it as, “my favorite class at Caltech so far", and ”I didn't think I liked theoretical CS until I took this course.”

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The Mechanical Universe Now on YouTube


The critically acclaimed television series The Mechanical Universe… And Beyond, created at Caltech and broadcast on PBS from 1985-86, is now available in its entirety on YouTube thanks to the efforts of Caltech's Institute's Information Science and Technology initiative. [Caltech story] [Watch the show]


Open Online Course on Quantum Cryptography


Thomas Vidick, Assistant Professor of Computing and Mathematical Sciences, is co-teaching a massive open online course (MOOC)—CS/Ph 120, Quantum Cryptography—focused on the ways in which quantum mechanics can be used to create secure lines of communication. "It's a hot topic, but there are very few resources for people wanting to go beyond just the basics. Very few schools will even have a quantum cryptography course," Vidick says. [Caltech story] [Vidick blog]

Tags: CMS IST Thomas Vidick teaching

Janet Campagna Named 2016 Distinguished Alumna


Janet C. Campagna (MS ’85, Social Science) has been named a 2016 Caltech Distinguished Alumna for her contributions to quantitative investment and for her leadership in the financial industry. She is the founder of QS Investors and a member of the Caltech IST Council. The information science and technology (IST) council helps increase national and global awareness of research in information science and technology as well as garner support for it. [Alumni story]

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Professor Umans Named Simons Investigator in Computer Science


Christopher Umans, Professor of Computer Science, has been named a Simons Investigator in Computer Science by the Simons Foundation’s Mathematics and Physical Sciences Division. The award honors and supports "outstanding scientists in their most productive years, when they are establishing creative new research directions, providing leadership to the field and effectively mentoring junior scientists." Professor Umans’ research centers on algorithms and complexity. He has made contributions to the understanding of randomness in computation, and algorithms for fundamental algebraic problems which includes developing a group-theoretic approach for matrix multiplication. [List of awardees] [Caltech story]

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EE students Win $100K Qualcomm Innovation Fellowships


Professor Babak Hassibi’s students Kishore Jaganathan, and Christos Thrampoulidis as well as Professor Pietro Perona’s students Ron Appel, and Krzysztof Chalupka, have won the 2014 Qualcomm Innovation Fellowship. Jaganathan, and Thrampoulidis’ proposal is entitled Interference Alignment via Matrix Completion for Cellular Networks and Network Coding. Appel, and Chalupka’s proposal is entitled Energy-Efficient Multiclass Classification for Visual Applications on Mobile Devices.  Each winner will receive a $100K fellowship. This year there were 137 submissions and only 9 winners have been announced. Caltech is the only school to have two winning teams. [List of Winners]

Tags: EE honors Pietro Perona Babak Hassibi Kishore Jaganathan Christos Thrampoulidis Ron Appel Krzysztof Chalupka

Professor Wierman Finishes First in Class in LA Triathlon


On Sunday April 13, 2014, Adam Wierman, Professor of Computer Science, and his Rigorous Systems Research Group (RSRG) members joined the approximate 700 people competing in the Los Angeles Triathlon Series at Bonelli Par. Professor Wierman finished 1st in his race class and 13th overall among individuals competing in the Tri-Express, which consisted of a 300-meter swim in Puddingstone Lake, a 13.91-kilometer bike course, and a 5-kilometer run through the Park.

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Tags: CMS Adam Wierman Anish Agarwal Yong Sheng Soh Matteo Ronchi Kathryn Knister Daniel Chao

Professor Gerald Whitham Passes Away


Gerald B. Whitham, Charles Lee Powell Professor of Applied Mathematics, Emeritus, passed away on Sunday, January 26, 2014 at the age of 86. Professor Whitham was a pioneer in the area of nonlinear waves. His research focused on fluid dynamics and the study of wave phenomena, including sonic booms, supersonic flow and shock-wave dynamics, and ocean waves. He was also instrumental in setting up Caltech's applied mathematics program in 1962, which is now part of the Department of Computing and Mathematical Science . [Caltech Obituary] [History of Department]

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Alumnus Receives 2012 Simons Graduate Fellowships in Theoretical Computer Science


Christopher Beck (BS '09 Computer Science and Mathematics) is a recipient of a 2012 Simons Graduate Fellowship. The fellowships are given to graduate students in theoretical computer science with outstanding track records of research accomplishments. Beck’s work seeks to establish the limits of how efficiently we can solve computational problems. One of his papers studies a popular class of algorithms known as SAT solvers and shows that if their memory is restricted, then they can require exponential running time. Another result concerns how well we can approximately sample from certain distributions when our computation must be small depth, that is, highly parallelizable. Beck and his co-authors showed that even exponentially large bounded depth circuits cannot sample with even exponentially small success from a certain simple distribution.

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