2019 Caltech Distinguished Alumni


Caltech has recognized alumnus William Dally (PhD ’86, Computer Science) with the Distinguished Alumni Award, the highest honor regularly bestowed by the Institute. Dally was recognized “for his significant contributions to the architecture of interconnection networks. He developed much of the technology found in modern interconnection networks including wormhole routing, virtual-channel flow control, global adaptive routing, modern network topology, deadlock analysis, performance analysis, fault-tolerance methods, and equalized high-speed signaling.” [Caltech story] [Distinguished Lecture at Caltech]

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As artificial intelligence becomes mainstream, who will guide it?


In a recent Techer interview Electrical Engineering alumna Fei-Fei Li (PhD ’05) explains, “As we see artificial intelligence impacting the real world, it’s no longer a niche computer science, technical field. Policymakers, business leaders, educators, social scientists—they all need to take part and guide the future of A.I.” [Check out the full interview]

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Alumnus to Exploring Ways to Tackle California’s Housing Crisis


Caltech has awarded the inaugural Milton and Rosalind Chang Career Exploration Prize to EAS undergraduate alumnus, Sean McKenna (BS ’17, ACM) for his proposed project “Exploring Ways to Tackle California’s Housing Crisis.” McKenna plans to spend the next year connecting with residents, housing developers, homeless shelters, technology innovators, and policymakers in California and Washington, DC to learn more about the roots of the housing crisis. He is grateful for the “incredible amount of freedom" the Chang Prize will give him "to figure out how the skills and passions I developed at Caltech might translate into making a difference in the housing crisis, a problem that is very real for me, other Techers, and all residents of California.” [Alumni Association story]

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Learning Directly From Data Rather Than Human-Provided Expertise


Alumnus Yong Sheng Soh (PhD ’18, ACM), advised by Professor Venkat Chandrasekaran, has won the 2018 INFORMS Optimization Society Student Prize for his paper entitled Learning Semidefinite-Representable Regularizers. Regularization-based algorithms are widely used in the solution of data-driven inverse problems arising in statistics, operations research, signal processing, and machine learning. These approaches typically require a great deal of prior domain-specific expertise about the structure of the underlying problem. Such expertise is especially challenging to obtain in the modern era of 'Big Data' in which our ability to sense all manner of phenomena and produce massive datasets far exceeds our ability to understand the underlying mechanisms governing the phenomena. In his award-winning work, which has been accepted for publication at the Journal of the Foundations of Computational Mathematics, Yong Sheng has developed a new framework for learning suitable regularization methods directly from data rather from human-provided expertise. [INFORMS Optimization Society Award] [Read the paper]

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Alumna Wins Woman of the Year Award


CMS alumna, Ashley Williams, was named 2018 Woman of the Year by the Aerospace Corporation. Dr. Williams received her Caltech PhD in 2011 and was advised by Professors Jerry Marsden, Richard Murray, and Mathieu Desbrun. Currently she is the director of the Studies and Analyses Office at the Aerospace Corporation. [Dr. Williams’ Caltech thesis]

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A Network of Support


Early in his freshman year CMS and BEM alumnus Ramsathwick “Sathwick” Pathireddy (BS ’17) realized just how challenging a Caltech workload could be and turned to his housemates and friends for help. “When I had questions about time management, what classes to take, or what internships to go for, I always had someone to talk to,” Sathwick says. [Breakthrough story]

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For the Record


CMS alumnus Ramruthwick “Ruthwick” Pathireddy (BS ’17) is described as curious, ambitious, and rigorous. “When people talk about Caltech, they think of students studying really hard,” Ruthwick says. “While we do study hard, there’s more to it than that. I don’t think people realize the social opportunities that are available here, how enriching the activities are, and how close the entire undergraduate community is. It’s really like a family.” [Breakthrough story]

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Life in Transition


As she steps down as CEO of the Anita Borg Institute, Telle Whitney (PhD ’85) reflects on her career in tech—and the path ahead for the next generation of women. From Caltech to researcher to entrepreneur to advocate for women in technology, this Caltech alumna’s career has thrived on risk-taking and transition—and she’s inspired and assisted hundreds of thousands of women along the way. [Techer profile]

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TechFest 2017


This year’s CMS Techfest was attended by five hundred members of the Caltech Community and brought together more than thirty companies and nonprofits developing the latest technologies related to the computing and mathematical sciences. Two thirds of the companies attending were from the local area, eight have Caltech alumni co-founders, CEOs, or CTOs. The main goals of the event were to expose students to the latest technologies and a wide range of career options, building and supporting the CMS alumni network, and supporting the local start-up ecosystem. This year’s Techfest involved a demo fair focused on providing startups, companies, students, postdocs, and faculty with a chance for meaningful interactions with each other. The Partners Program company members including as Facebook, Google, Microsoft, and Northrop Grumman showed off cutting-edge research, and brand new technologies. Students learned about the breadth of applications for CMS across industries and networked with company representatives.

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40 Techers Attend Grace Hopper Celebration


Caltech alumni and members of the Information Science and Technology (IST) Advisory Council covered the cost of attendance for many of the forty Caltech students who participated in this year’s Grace Hopper Celebration—the world’s largest gathering of women in technology. [Breakthrough story]

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