Press Releases

Pitt Names Founding Dean of School of Computing and Information

Created: May 08, 2017 by Mackenzie L. Ball
Press Releases, Departmental News

Paul R. Cohen is the founding dean of the University of Pittsburgh School of Computing and Information. Cohen’s deanship begins on Aug. 1, 2017. The first new school or college established at Pitt since 1995, the School of Computing and Information is a multidisciplinary environment that supports discovery, innovation and entrepreneurship driven by data and technology. It is a key element in Pitt’s strategy to support research in data and computation-intensive fields across the University. The school will begin operations on July 1 and will enroll its first students in the fall 2017 term. “Paul is a visionary leader who will quickly drive our School of Computing and Information to the forefront of academic excellence,” said Pitt Chancellor Patrick Gallagher. For more see the article at:

Pitt hires Rob A. Rutenbar as first senior vice chancellor for research

Created: Apr 21, 2017 by Mackenzie L. Ball
Press Releases, Accolades, Departmental News

The University of Pittsburgh hired Rob A. Rutenbar Monday as the first senior vice chancellor for research, a new position that will oversee and integrate research at Pitt. Rutenbar is a Full Professor of Computer Science, in the Computer Science Department at Pitt.
The search for the job began in October 2016, when Pitt held four town halls to get input on hiring for the new job. During this process, Chancellor Patrick Gallagher said the right candidate would be someone who can work effectively in bureaucracy and promote collaboration.

Rutenbar, an entrepreneur who specializes in computer science, will manage the University’s Center for Research Computing, the Innovation Institute, the Office of Research and other departments with the goal of creating and implementing a “long-term plan for research infrastructure,” according to a press release.

Learn more at

Professor Labrinidis current project has been featured in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Created: Apr 11, 2017 by Julia Qian
Updated: Apr 12, 2017 by Mackenzie L. Ball
Press Releases, Outreach News, Departmental News

Prof. Alexandros Labrinidis and Prof. Kostas Pelechrinis are working on TransitScreen project that can be used to increase traffic at businesses near transit stops.

The university is sponsoring TransitScreen, a service that provides real-time information on a variety of transit services in Oakland, including buses operated by the Port Authority, University of Pittsburgh and UPMC, ride-hailing services Uber and Lyft, car-sharing service Zipcar and Pittsburgh’s bike-sharing program, as part of its Smart Living Program with the Oakland Business Improvement District.

For more information, please visit:

Pitt Announces New School of Computing and Information

Created: Oct 28, 2016 by Mackenzie L. Ball
Updated: Oct 28, 2016 by Mackenzie L. Ball
Press Releases

The University of Pittsburgh is pleased to announce that the School of Information Sciences and the Department of Computer Science will be part of Pitt’s new School of Computing and Information! The School of Computing and Information, which will begin to matriculate students in Fall 2017, will provide an environment enabling larger scale computing and information-related research, leading to new scientific discovery, deeper and broader education of undergraduate and graduate students, and a more significant impact on society.

CS Department receives a Community Grant for $10,000 from the Best Buy Foundation to support TLI!

Created: Oct 14, 2016 by Mackenzie L. Ball
Updated: Oct 14, 2016 by Mackenzie L. Ball
Press Releases, Accolades, Outreach News, Departmental News

The Computer Science Department is pleased to announce that it has received a community grant for $10,000 from the Best Buy Foundation to support the department's Technology Leadership Initiative (TLI)! The grant is awarded through the Community Grants program, in partnership with local Best Buy stores, to support programs that provide youth with access to new technologies and help them become interested and fluent in digital learning while developing skills to help better prepare them for future education and career success. The Best Buy Foundation's primary goal is to give teens access to opportunities through technology that help them excel in school and develop 21st century skills for their future careers. The CS Department's Technology Leadership Initiative aims to engage students across grade levels and strives to instill a passion for computing and technical thinking. TLI consists of two major components, Tech Divaz and High School Academy. The mission of TLI is to provide under-represented and under-served students in grades 6-12 with opportunities, tools, and motivation needed to pursue Computer Science related degrees and excel academically, socially and professionally. Thanks to the Best Buy Foundation the CS Department will be able to continue and expand its TLI program!

Congratulations to Prof. Chrysanthis and Prof. Labrinidis on receiving new NSF Award!

Created: Sep 13, 2016 by Julia Qian
Updated: Sep 15, 2016 by Mackenzie L. Ball
Press Releases, Accolades, Departmental News

Prof. Chrysanthis and Prof. Labrinidis, together with colleagues from the School of Engineering (Prof. Peyman Givi, PI) and the Math Department (Prof. William Layton) received new research funding from the National Science Foundation for their project entitled Appraisal of Subgrid Scale Closures in Reacting Turbulence via DNS Big Data. The project will employ a range of strategies and computational tools for utilizing DNS data to appraise the performance of large eddy simulation (LES) predictions in turbulent combustion. The study will pave the way for LES to become the primary means of predictions for future design and manufacturing of combustion systems, while building a data sharing infrastructure, and providing educational and outreach programs to students at all levels.

Congratulations to Professor Adriana Kovashka on receiving a NSF CRII CISE Research Initiation Grant!

Created: Jun 01, 2016 by Mackenzie L. Ball
Press Releases, Accolades

This project develops technologies to interpret the visual rhetoric of images. The project advances computer vision through novel solutions to the novel problem of decoding the visual messages in advertisements and artistic photographs, and thus brings computer vision closer to its goal of being able to automatically understand visual content. From a practical standpoint, understanding visual rhetoric can be used to produce image descriptions for the visually impaired that align with how a human would label these images, and thus give them access to the rich content shown in newspapers or on TV. This project is tightly integrated with education. The work is interdisciplinary and can attract undergraduate students to the research from different fields.

This research focuses on three media understanding tasks: (1) understanding the persuasive messages conveyed by artistic images and the strategies that those images use to convey their message; (2) exposing a photographer's bias towards their subject, e.g., determining whether a photograph portrays its subject in a positive or negative light; and (3) predicting what part of an artistic photograph a viewer might find most captivating or poignant. To enable decoding of artistic images, a large dataset is collected and annotated with a number of artistic properties and persuasion techniques that are intended for human understanding, then methods are developed to model visual symbolism in artistic images, as well as adapt positive/negative effect methods from sentiment analysis. To predict the photographer's bias towards a subject, a dataset of historical and modern portrayals of minorities and foreigners is collected, then an algorithm is created that reasons about body language and 3D layout and composition of the photo. To predict poignance, eyetracking data on a set of artistic images from famous photographers is collected, then semantic and connotation conflicts between the objects in the photographs are analyzed.

Valued Staff Member Russell A. Howard II Passes Away

Created: May 09, 2016 by Mackenzie L. Ball
Updated: May 09, 2016 by Mackenzie L. Ball
Press Releases, Departmental News

It is with a heavy heart that we share the news of long time staff member Russell "Russ" Howard's passing. He received his BS in Computer Science and MS in Information Science from the University of Pittsburgh. He worked for the Department of Computer Science for over 20 years as a valued and beloved member of the technical staff. He contributed to the CS Department in countless ways, and was an important part of the CS Department staff. He was well liked by all and he will be deeply missed. We will remember him always for his devotion to the Department and his sincere kindness to everyone he met.

Pitt Computer Science Supports NCWIT Aspirations in Computing by offering scholarships to NCWIT Winners!

Created: Apr 08, 2016 by Mackenzie L. Ball
Updated: Apr 08, 2016 by Mackenzie L. Ball
Press Releases, Outreach News, Departmental News

The National Center for Women & Information Technology (NCWIT) is a non-profit change leader network of more than 650 universities, companies, non-profits, and government organizations nationwide working to increase women’s meaningful participation in computing. The Department of Computer Science is a proud NCWIT Academic Alliance Member.
The NCWIT Award for Aspirations in Computing honors young women at the high-school level for their computing-related achievements and interests. Awardees are selected for their computing and IT aptitude, leadership ability, academic history, and plans for post-secondary education. Offers both a national and local award competition.
The Department of Computer Science offers a $5,000 scholarship for NCWIT Aspirations in Computing Winners! The award ceremony was held on April, 2nd, 2016!

Mohamed Aly, CS Ph.D. Alumni, featured in Forbes Magazine

Created: Mar 02, 2016 by Lydia Moss
Updated: Mar 02, 2016 by Lydia Moss
Press Releases, Accolades, Outreach News, Departmental News

Mohamed Aly, under the advising of Panos Chrysanthis and Kirk Pruhs, received his Ph.D. in 2009. In 2011, he founded his own start-up called Seeloz.
Read the full Forbes article here

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