Caltech's Hixon Writing Center team has expanded to include two STEM writing specialists, Christina Birch who has a PhD in biological engineering from MIT and Erin Burkett who has a PhD in geophysics from UC Davis. Hixon director Susanne Hall describes, “now a student in any scientific discipline can come into the writing center and get help on their academic writing from a tutor with firsthand experience of the styles and genres of scientific communication." The center has also begun a partnership with the Division of Engineering and Applied Science (EAS) to bring STEM writing instruction directly into classrooms. "Communication is of fundamental importance for students today, but it's hard to learn in isolation," Professor Adam Wierman says. "Being able to partner with Hixon to embed writing and communication into my course allowed us to teach students at the moment they needed it.” [Caltech story] [ENGenious snap shot on new EAS course E111]
Animashree (Anima) Anandkumar, Bren Professor of Computing and Mathematical Sciences, develops efficient techniques to speed up optimization algorithms that underpin machine-learning systems. Speaking about the connections between industry and academia she explains,“bridging the gap between industry and academia is really important. It is a big part of what brought me to Caltech. The sooner we can take theory and deploy it practically, the faster innovation moves and the more impact it can have.” [Interview with Professor Anandkumar]
Take a deep dive into a crucial moment in technological history with Carver Mead, Gordon and Betty Moore Professor of Engineering and Applied Science, Emeritus. In this first of a series of videos being produced by the Caltech Archives, titled 'My First Chip’, Professor Mead tells the story of meeting Gordon Moore, who would soon predict that every year the semiconductor industry would double the number of transistors that could be fabricated on a commercial integrated circuit. Carver Mead and his students worked on the physics of ultra-small transistors, and showed that, in addition to allowing greater density, they ran faster and used less power. This work proved that Moore’s prediction did not violate any laws of physics, and it became known as 'Moore's Law'–the term coined and made famous by Professor Mead.
The Bat Bot, a self-contained robotic bat with soft, articulated wings, created by Professor Soon-Jo Chung and his colleagues has been selected by the Museum of Arts and Crafts in Hamburg to be placed in a special exhibit entitled Animals: Respect / Harmony / Subjugation. Professor Chung’s robotic bat will be on special display along with the work of virtuosos like Albrecht Dürer till March 4, 2018.
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.
Thomas Vidick, Associate Professor of Computing and Mathematical Sciences, has been named an Azrieli Global Scholar by the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research (CIFAR). This scholars program supports researchers within five years of their first academic appointment, helping them build research networks and develop leadership skills. Professor Vidick will receive $100,000 in research support and will become a part of one of CIFAR's 12 research programs for two years. [Caltech story]
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]
This fall, three graduate students will enter Caltech as Kortschak Scholars in Computing and Mathematical Sciences. They are the first students in the Kortschak Scholars program, a newly established endowment for incoming PhD students in computer science at Caltech. “We are grateful to the Kortschaks for their vision and generous support enabling our students to identify the research areas where their passion could have the biggest impact. The Kortschak Scholars will be attracted to Caltech by the opportunity to work at the leading edges of computing and mathematical sciences to invent the technologies of the future,” said EAS Chair G. Ravichandran. [Breakthrough story]
Yisong Yue, Assistant Professor of Computing and Mathematical Sciences, and colleagues have developed an algorithm that can automatically recognize formations of teams—how they arrange themselves on the field—when analyzing player tracking data. The algorithm can also imitate players' behavior. "We're training the algorithm to understand soccer at the same level that a fan would. It's not just mindlessly watching faceless players move across a field; it's watching strikers and right midfielders and forwards arrange themselves in specific formations," says Professor Yue. [Caltech story]
Peter Schröder, the Shaler Arthur Hanisch Professor of Computer Science and Applied and Computational Mathematics, and his team have built a computational algorithm to model the behavior of vortices—rotating regions of fluids that form phenomena such as tornados or whirlpools. [Caltech story]