A Newsletter of the Department of Computer Science
University of Colorado at Boulder
On August 14 the Department's Academic Advisory Board met for the first time, and on August 15 the Research Advisory Board held its first meeting.
The Academic Advisory Board meeting was attended by
The Academic Advisory Board spent half their time learning details about the B.S. and M.S. programs, and the remaining time probing the Department's management team to help it create its own vision for the future. The Board recommended that the Department revise the program, keeping the following attributes in mind:
1) Significant logical analysis and problem solving abilities. 2) Ability and desire to continue learning and adapting to changing environments throughout their careers. 3) Ability to work, and experience in working, in groups, specifically groups with diverse backgrounds and abilities. 4) Knowledge of current aspects of computer science such as systems, networking, and information security, recognizing that software is increasingly designed and developed based on integration with existing products, on standards and in collaboration with users."
The Academic Advisory Board also recommended that the Department administration "... develop a process for modifying and periodically updating the programs."
The Research Advisory Board meeting was attended by
This Board was briefed on the Department's research and Ph.D. programs, then it focused on our strengths and weaknesses on that front. They produced a report on their findings indicating that there is noteworthy funding in the research programs, but that the "... current space and facilities of the department are a drag on research activities and impose penalties on group interaction, morale, and personal initiative." The Research Advisory Board thought that the individual research activities could have better synergy among them.
The two Boards are scheduled to meet again in March, 1998.
[Karl Winklmann was appointed Chair of the Department of Computer Science, beginning July 1, 1997. Gary Nutt finished his two-year term as Chair on June 30, 1997.]
Like any enterprise, academic departments occasionally need to step back and think about where they are going. This year we are doing just that and anything is open to discussion, from research directions to the content of the undergraduate program.
There certainly is no lack of opportunities, created by the many changes around us. We all know how fast the computing field is changing. This alone creates opportunities for us to adjust our degree programs in order to serve our students even better. In addition, there are changes underway in the university and in funding agencies such as the National Science Foundation, all with a focus on information and communication technology, and on innovation in education. These developments, combined with the continued growth of the computing industry along the Front Range, present many opportunities for us. We need to consider our options, be ambitious, decide what we want to do, and then do it.
This is the time for you to have an impact. If you have thoughts on the strategic directions of the department, please send me email () or call (303-492-6380). I will funnel your input into the deliberations of the department. Please do so soon.
This past July I moved into the chair's office. Some boxes are still unpacked and some aspects of the job are still mysterious, but one thing is perfectly clear: This is a wonderful and exciting time for us.
I hope to hear from you.
Rick Moleres (M.S., 1990) worked for AT&T Bell Labs/Lucent Technologies for 8 years, then "... I decided to give up the security of a large company and I now work for a startup in Boulder called Rodeer Systems, Inc. We're a medical information system company exploring some fairly interesting things with text analysis and distributed parallel searching."
(Ph.D., 91) has recently moved to the Computational Biosciences Section
of the Life Sciences Division from the Computer Science and Mathematics Division
at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL). There he heads the computational
protein structure group, and spends most of his time developing effective
computational methods for genomic sequence analysis and protein structure
prediction and recognition. He also holds a joint appointment with the Center
for Engineering Systems and Advanced Research (CESAR) at ORNL.
As reported last spring, the University and the College of Engineering have decided to explore a new, supplementary approach to graduate education. As a pilot study, several engineering departments are planning on offering a new professional certificate program, with specialization in areas such as software engineering, applied networks, databases, and graphic user interfaces.
The idea is that each area will have a 4-course sequence focusing only on that area; a student can enroll in the certificate program to refurbish or learn new skills in the area without having to be admitted to the full 30-credit Master of Science or Master of Engineering program. This allows the student to focus on a specific area, learning Master's level materials in the area, but without spending time on the breadth of computer science that is appropriate for a full Master's degree.
We expect to offer a Professional Certificate Program in Software Engineering for the first time in the Fall of 1998. As currently envisioned, such a program would consist of three courses, two in Computer Science (Foundations of Software Engineering and Object-Oriented Programming and Design) and one in Engineering Management, plus a "capstone" series of seminars that ties those subjects together and adds a real-world perspective by bringing experienced practitioners to campus.
A final proposal for such a program will go to the College
this semester, then to the Graduate School. If
approved and if successful, we hope to follow up
with Professional Certificate Programs in other
subareas of Computer Science. To find out more about
the program and its current status, contact Professor Alex Wolf
Peter Behrendt, Chairman of the Board of Exabyte, has agreed to teach a course for us in the Spring with a tentative title of "Entrepreneurship in the Computing Field." (A suitable course proposal will start its way through the approval process soon.)
This is shaping up to be a wonderful opportunity for our students as
well as an opportunity for us to strengthen our ties to local industry
and increase our visibility.
The Center for Entrepreneurship, A Joint Program of the Colleges of
Business and Engineering, was very helpful in developing this opportunity.
Special thanks are due to the center's director, Dennis Nock.
A former associate dean we all know very well has also been very helpful
The course is for juniors and will have limited enrollment.
Assistant Professors Liz Jessup and Xiao-Chuan Cai
were promoted to Associate Professor with tenure in Fall, 1997.
Most of you know from your years at CU that this is a tremendous
milestone in their careers. The Department is extremely pleased
about the promotion and tenure award, and look forward to continued
great work from Liz and Xiao-Chuan.
Vicki Emken, Graduate Program Advisor, was married in the Spring
and is now Vicki Kunz. Patricia Beals, Chair's Assistant and
CSOps Assistant was married in August and is now Patricia
Beals Moore. Congratulations Vicki and Patricia.
Tim Koschmann is visiting from Southern Illinois University. His background is very much in Computer Science but he has been on the faculty of a medical school for some time. (If you are curious about that combination stop by his office, ECOT 734.) His visit is funded by the graduate school, using funds earmarked for the vacant L3D faculty position.
Bill McIver earned his Ph.D. a few years ago in Computer Science,
and after working at US West Advanced Technologies, has returned
to the department to work with Roger King.
Kirk Johnson has decided to direct his energies at the commercial world. He resigned his Assistant Professor position at the end of the Spring semester to take a position as a staff member at Xilinx in Boulder.
Lynda McGinley, office staff and CS operations manager extraordinaire has accepted a position as a consultant with Net Daemons Associates, a Boulder firm. Lynda continues to help with operations on an as-needed basis.
Mike Novak has taken a position with a Denver consulting firm. He stepped in and did an outstanding job filling in for Roger King during Roger's sabbatical leave in 1996-97. Thanks Mike!
Good luck to Kirk, Lynda, and Mike in their new positions.
The Department continues to grow in the Undergraduate program: In the Fall of 1995, 80 Freshmen, 76 Sophomores, 75 Juniors, 89 Seniors, and 44 Fifth year Seniors enrolled in the program for a total of 364 students. Our Master's program has 95 MS/ME students and 72 students were enrolled in the PhD program in the Fall; this is a total of 167 graduate students.
At the campus level, the total enrollment was 25,109 students;
20,437 were undergraduates and 4,672 graduates. 68.6\% of the
students are residents of Colorado.
A fund has been established in memory of Clive Baillie. It is endowed with just over $12,000. Income from the endowment will be used to help students attend conferences or workshops in the area of High-Performance Computing Applications.
Clive Fraser Baillie was born on May 3, 1962 in Watford, England, to Scottish parents, William Baillie and Anne Grant Sinclair Baillie. He attended Glenwood High School, Glenrothes, Fife, Scotland and then studied at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland where he graduated with a B.Sc. First Class Honors, in 1983. He went on to study Theoretical Physics at the University of Edinburgh, Scotland, where he was awarded a Ph.D. degree in 1986.
Clive was a postdoc at Cal Tech from 1986-1989, then came to CU in 1990,
where he was a Research Assistant Professor. Clive and his wife Julie
died in a climbing accident on Mt. Toll in the Indian Peaks Wilderness
area on October 12, 1996. Please contact Karl Winklmann or the
University of Colorado Foundation if you wish to contribute to the fund.
NSF awarded over $4M over 3 years to a group of PIs from Computer Science and Aerospace Engineering. PIs from Computer Science are Professor Oliver McBryan, Associate Professor Xiao-Chuan Cai, Associate Professor Dirk Grunwald, Assistant Professor Alex Wolf, and Dr. Dennis Heimbigner.
Associate Professor Dirk Grunwald was the Local Arrangements Chair for the International Symposium on Computer Architecture, held in Denver in June.
Associate Professor Mike Mozer once again was a major organizer for the NIPS conference held in Denver.
Assistant Professor Alex Wolf has been elected to a two-year term as vice-chair of SIGSOFT.
Associate Professor Ben Zorn was elected to the SIGPLAN executive committee for a 2-year term. SIGPLAN is responsible for about 5 major conferences and numerous workshops each year. It has a membership of approximately 6,000 professionals.
Professor Hal Gabow was elected to Secretary-Treasurer of SIGACT. Let it be duly noted that Hal reports this as a mixed good news/bad news item.
Associate Professor Liz Jessup was recently elected vice-chair of
We have received an endowment from the estate of Mervyn Young specifically to fund the Mervyn Young Memorial Lecture Series. Mr. Young received his BS degree in engineering Physics in 1952, MS in 1954, and JD (from Georgetown University) in 1960. He was fond of attending Computer Science colloquia over the last several years of his life.
This year, the Series is sponsoring three talks:
On May 17, 1997, a delegation of 30 Computer Professionals traveled to China for two weeks of technical and cultural exchange with peers in Shanghai, Tianjin, and Beijing. Under the auspices of the U. S. People to People's Citizen Ambassadors program, visits were arranged to selected universities and industrial labs. The general theme of the interactions was "Organizational Computing and Collaboration Technology." People to People also arranged for visits to cultural sites, and arranged all travel, food, and hotel accommodations. Delegates uniformly expressed that the trip was informative, interesting and rewarding. Not only did delegates get insight and a first hand view of the rapidly evolving technology and society, but also delegates developed heightened cultural awareness and some lasting friendships.
With its extensive natural and manpower resources, and one of the world's fastest growing economies, China has tremendous potential for increased technological, academic, and economic cooperation with the West. The primary goal of this delegation's visit was the exchange of technical information, research findings, and ideas with counterparts in China. A deeper hope was that this interchange could foster professional and cultural ties that will continue to evolve in the future. Thus, this visit was composed of formal and informal technical exchanges interspersed with cultural and social activities.
The Schedule of Activities for the Citizen Ambassador Program Delegation on collaborative computing technology allowed the delegates to share information with their Chinese counterparts during a series of meetings, informal discussions, and site visits. It also indicates cultural activities, and indicates that delegates had free time to browse on their own. Chinese Computer Society (CCS) initiated the request for a delegation visit to the People to People organization.
The delegation convened for a briefing in San Francisco on May 16, 1997. Cultural and pragmatic information was provided to the group by John Jessup, who was the People to People representative that accompanied and assisted us throughout our China tour. Following the briefing, we traveled to Shanghai, Tianjin, and Beijing, returning to San Francisco on May 30. The approximate cost per delegate or accompanying guest was U.S.$4046 (departing from and returning to San Francisco). This included transportation, all meetings and activities, accommodations, most meals, and substantially all other costs. Since People to People is a private citizen effort, delegates are responsible for their own program costs. A special program of cultural activities was arranged for delegates' spouses or friends.
A journal of professional activities was maintained, and it will be generally available to the public at the end of the year, 1997. Contact Skip Ellis () to get a copy.
The expectation was that the meetings were only a first introduction. The group was too large for detailed one-on-one interaction, but pro- ductive follow-up activity has already occurred. Indeed, at some of the institutions, the 30 person visiting delegation was overwhelming to the small group of hosts, and interactions were awkward. However, at some of the companies, and universities, they were quite open in presenting their ideas and their concerns. At the China National Computer Software and Technology Services Corporation in Beijing, we broke into subgroups for very productive discussions. At several of the Universities, the students had penetrating questions to ask, and in numerous occasions, discussion were continued informally at night, or over lunch or dinner. Thus our observation was that there was a large variety of reactions, and a wide variety of technological equipment and skill range. It was interesting and instructive to visit the Cyber Cafe in Beijing where one could do internet browsing while sipping a cup of espresso. Others in the delegation instead visited the Hard Rock Cafe nearby. Finally, one pleasant surprise was that the delegates found a lot of international expertise and variety within the delegation itself. The formation of subgroups also formed friendship and long-lasting bonds. In general, the delegation itself was exceptionally talented and cohesive. I was melancholy when the time arrived for the delegation to disband and return to our separate paths. As declared at our final banquet in Beijing, this event seemed rare and wonderful. Fortunately, we have been able to keep in contact afterwards to some extent electronically.
The trip was very meaningful and interesting to the delegates,
both technically and culturally. China at this time is not wealthy.
Poverty and discomfort are mixed with anticipation and a history of
scholarly thinking. All of this was apparent during our
travels. Generally, the computing technology in China is behind the west,
but there were numerous surprises.
For example they are clearly ahead in some areas of Chinese character
recognition, translation and input/output. China seems on the brink
of tremendous technological growth. The Chinese government is encouraging
this. There is a huge population, and one gets the impression that it
truly is a sleeping giant that is awakening.
The Ubiquitous Telepresence Project is a group of faculty and students interested in investigating what next-generation WWW technology might be like. The main idea of ubiquitous telepresence (UT) is to allow users to project their physical presence anywhere on the Internet. Specifically, we are interested in exploring the development of very low-cost, high-functionality robotic devices (which we call ubots) that can be attached to the WWW and manipulated remotely. The purpose of the project is to attempt to build such systems from off-the-shelf components, and explore implementation issues as well as potential application areas.
The basic capabilities of the ubot that we have considered include mobility, video and audio, telecommunications, and manipulator devices. Ideally, a remote user should be able to bring up a WWW browser and control a ubot from anywhere in the world. With sufficiently high quality video, audio, and manipulator devices, the ubot could provide a sense of presence to the remote user.
We have considered a number of possible applications of this technology. These applications also serve to illustrate the differences between ubiquitous telepresence technology and other available approaches to achieving a similar goal. One application of ubots would be to allow individuals to remotely tour a museum. To allow this, the museum would maintain a collection of ubots that could be ``checked-out'' by remote viewers. Other technologies exist to allow remote viewing of museum collections, but they all have weaknesses relative to our UT solution. For example, a CD containing a collection of museum photos becomes dated. A WWW site with museum photos only allows viewing of the collection made available on the WWW, which also can become dated. Photos in general have the weakness that they are static, and, for example, cannot provide an arbitrary viewpoint with respect to a sculpture. Finally, static cameras could be located throughout the museum, but this solution is costly and still limits viewing substantially. If ubots could be located cheaply in such an environment, they would provide significant advantages over the approaches mentioned.
Other areas of ubot application include supporting remote collaboration (e.g., paleontologists might collaborate remotely at a fossil dig), remote population studies (e.g., in the Alaskan tundra or on the ocean floor), and recreation (a ubot would be the next best thing to snorkeling an ocean reef, and you could do it from your desktop). Another area of potential application would be to empower disabled individuals whose mobility has been limited.
Our work is related to a number of other successful efforts to implement such devices. Researchers at AT&T Bell Labs developed a remote control car with a video camera mounted on it, and attached that car and camera to the WWW. Researchers at Berkeley developed a blimp with an extremely lightweight camera attached to it and allow users to control the blimp remotely on the WWW. Other examples of related work include art exhibits and projects attempting to understand the social implications of remote operation and interaction.
Our group has explored several ubot implementations based on a Connectix QuickCam connected to tethered vehicles. We first explored a system based on Fisher-Technic building components mounted on a wooden rail. More recently, we have been using a Lego Technics vehicle with an MIT Handy Board mounted on it. The Handy Board is a 6811-based controller board designed explicitly for experimental robotics applications (and used primarily in education). The Handy Board has a number of digital and analog sensor inputs, as well as motor controls and an LCD output. Handy Boards are available from a number of vendors and cost approximately $300.
One of the satisfying things about the UT Project is that it involves
many different kinds of technology and requires that we understand how
they interact. We continue to explore the possibilities enabled by
current hardware, network, and software technology, looking toward the
future and trying to understand what it holds. If you are interested
in knowing more about the UT project, please contact
The CU Computer Science Department is fortunate to have a number of excellent teachers, reflected by the following FCQ results. Join us in congratulating all these fine teachers for their teaching performances for Spring, 1997.
Course # Course Title # Course Instruct Enroll Grade Instructor Grade CSCI 2270-1 Data Structures/Algorithms 78 A- Michael Main A CSCI 2270-2 Data Structures/Algorithms 75 A Michael Main A CSCI 3203 Intro to AI 25 B+ Michael Eisenberg B+ CSCI 4318 Software Engineering Project 2 55 B Bruce Sanders B+ CSCI 4830 Special Topics 19 B Clayton Lewis A- CSCI 5229 Computer Graphics 30 A- Oliver McBryan A- CSCI 5454 Design & Analysis of Algorithms 26 A Hal Gabow A- CSCI 6838 User Interface Design 43 B+ Clayton Lewis A CSCI 7176 Topics in Numerical Computation 10 A Xiao-Chuan Cai A CSCI 7222 Topics in Nonsymbolic AI 10 A Michael Mozer A+
This newsletter does not use any state, tuition, or grant funds. It is wholly funded through donations. Many employers will match any donations you make to an educational institution. If you would like to make a donation, and earmark it for any particular project, contact the Computer Science Department Chair at (303) 492-7514.