All News

Congratulations to Dr. John "Jack" Lange on His Promotion to Associate Professor with Tenure!

Created: Sep 08, 2016 by Julia Qian
Updated: Sep 08, 2016 by Mackenzie L. Ball
Accolades, Departmental News

We are excited to announce that Dr.John "Jack" Lange has been promoted to Associate Professor with tenure!
Before joining the Department of Computer Science at the University of Pittsburgh in the fall of 2010, Dr. Lange received his PhD and M.S. degrees in Computer Science from Northwestern University (2006 and 2010). Prior to that he received a B.S. in Computer Engineering as well as a B.S. in Computer Science also from Northwestern University (2003).

His research specializes in High Performance Computing and Operating Systems, as well as networking, virtualization and distributed systems. His current focus lies in the area of specialized operating systems for super-computing environments.

Please join us in congratulating Dr. Lange on his promotion!


Pitt CS's SteelHacks ranks 18th out of 47 ranked hackathons in North America by MLH!

Created: Sep 02, 2016 by Mackenzie L. Ball
Updated: Sep 08, 2016 by Mackenzie L. Ball
Accolades, Outreach News

Major League Hacking (MLH) is the official student hackathon league. Each year, they power over 200 weekend-long invention competitions that inspire innovation, cultivate communities and teach computer science skills to more than 65,000 students around the world. MLH is an engaged and passionate maker community, consisting of the next generation of technology leaders and entrepreneurs. SteelHacks is an MLH member event hosted at the University of Pittsburgh, through the Department of Computer Science, for students at colleges & universities across the US who are passionate about getting their hands dirty using technology and design. Congrats SteelHacks!!


Pitt Computer Science to host WiCStart Program!

Created: Aug 04, 2016 by Mackenzie L. Ball
Updated: Aug 11, 2016 by Julia Qian
Outreach News

Are you a woman coming to Pitt? Are you unsure of what to study? Do you want to know more about computer science? Sign up for WiCStart!
WiCStart takes place the week before fall classes begin, and is designed to introduce incoming undeclared women to computer science in a no-pressure environment.
WiCStart students will be permitted to move into their residence halls one week early. They will get a broad overview of various topics in computer science and hear stories, advice, and technical information from upperclassmen and professional women in industry. Lunch will be served daily.

Throughout the week, students will learn about such topics as basic hardware and software concepts, programming, big data, and artificial intelligence. They will also learn about the benefits of being a CS student at Pitt and graduating with a CS degree. Finally, they will be given the chance to connect with other technical women.

There are no costs for attending WiCStart. In addition to an early move-in date and free lunch, we’ll provide all necessary materials and equipment.

Please email wicstart@cs.pitt.edu if you are interested in learning more.


Pitt CS Welcomes TLI Participants

Created: Jun 14, 2016 by Lydia Moss
Updated: Jun 27, 2016 by Mackenzie L. Ball
Outreach News, Departmental News

The Department of Computer Science's Technology Leadership Initiative kicked off its summer program by welcoming 35 middle school girls to Sennott Square for Tech Divaz, a week full of technology and fun. Shelley Goldberg and Sabrina Aravena, the instructors for Tech Divaz, planned an exciting and innovative curriculum that focuses on introducing the girls to the field of computer science through activities encompassing everything the discipline has to offer, from hardware to software and everything in between. At the end of the week, we are looking forward to welcoming friends and family to the department and seeing the projects the students have put together!
High School Academy follows Tech Divaz and gives students in grades 9-12 a two-week crash course in computer science and allows them a glimpse into life at the University of Pittsburgh and potential career paths as a computer science major.


Pitt CS Startup Receiving Local Attention

Created: Jun 13, 2016 by Lydia Moss
Departmental News

CS seniors Natalie Boehm and Robbie McKinstry, along with two other Pitt students, have created software to assist in grading computer science projects. They named their software Alligrader, and recently competed in the Blast Furnace demo event held at the William Pitt Union. Alligrader is a software intended to help improve the accuracy and efficiency of grading computer science projects, a task that is time-consuming for professors and TAs. Though they didn't win the startup competition, they do hope to market their product to department chairs and are looking to partner with other accelerators. Read the full Post-Gazette article here


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.


PhD student Huy Nguyen Wins Best Student Paper Award

Created: May 25, 2016 by Lydia Moss
Accolades, Departmental News

Huy Nguyen, a sixth year PhD student at the University of Pittsburgh under the advising of Dr. Diane Litman was recently awarded "Best Student Paper" at the 29th International Florida Artificial Intelligence Research Society conference. Congratulations!!


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. http://www.cicholski-zidekfuneralhome.com/notices/Russell-HowardII


Pitt CS Students Ritwik Gupta and Laurence Putterman Win Red Bull's Hack the Hits!

Created: Apr 14, 2016 by Mackenzie L. Ball
Updated: Apr 15, 2016 by Mackenzie L. Ball
Accolades, Outreach News

Pitt Computer Science students Laurence Putterman and Ritwik Gupta, along with Tiffany Jiang from Carnegie Mellon, were recently one of 5 teams around the nation picked to compete in Red Bull’s Hack the Hits hackathon in San Francisco this past weekend. Their team won first place where they created a MIDI controller that mimics the experience of playing a string instrument with some additions. Over the course of 24 hours, each of the 5 teams (from schools such as Stanford and UC Berkeley) tried to create an expressive, playable instrument that could be used in a live or studio setting. Using four touch sensitive “thinpot” (thin potentiometer) sensors connected to an Arduino and some cardboard, they recreated the general shape of a guitar, where the thinpot sensors took the place of strings. This enabled the player to expressively slide their notes just like a string instrument player. In addition, a Leap Motion attached to the body of the instrument allowed players to modulate effects by gesturing in front of the instrument with their hands. The thinpot sensors send their output to the Arduino, which relays the information over a serial connection. Max for Live, a powerful visual programming environment specifically designed for interfacing with Ableton Live (audio software), receives this data, separates the data according to sensor, and transforms those values into MIDI. Each sensor outputs to its own MIDI channel, allowing the user a great deal of flexibility with regards to how they would like the instrument to sound. They were featured in Forbes, follow the link for the article http://goo.gl/RR5G8M Congratulations to Ritwik and Laurence!!!


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!

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