A digest of Illinois Computer Science faculty, alumni, and students who are featured in the media.
Vox -- Coronavirus scammers are sending fake emails from real domains. Assistant Professor Gang Wang explains why email authentication systems have low adoption rates. “The current situation is that not everybody is doing it. So essentially the problem is that you cannot punish other people for not doing it. You cannot just block their emails automatically because you will not receive legitimate emails from them."
The News-Gazette -- Meet AVATRINA, a robotic nursing assistant under development at the University of Illinois that could potentially deliver some help when the next pandemic comes along. AVATRINA is an updated version of TRINA (Tele-Robotic Intelligent Nursing Assistant) developed by UI Professor Kris Hauser and his research team.
The New York Times -- A billionaire developer of software and artificial intelligence is teaming up with top universities and companies to see if A.I. can help curb the current and future pandemics. Illinois CS alumnus Thomas M. Siebel, founder and chief executive of artificial intelligence company C3.ai, said the public-private consortium would spend $367 million in its initial five years, aiming its first awards at finding ways to slow the new coronavirus that is sweeping the globe.
The News-Gazette -- “Most departments are able to handle the situation really well,” said Luke Stephens, who is a finance major with a computer science minor taking six classes this semester. “The departments I have dealt with are doing a great job.”
The Seattle Times -- “If you’re going to take a measure as dramatic as a containment zone you better realize that there has to be a payback and benefit to it, because there are great costs to pay,” said Sheldon Jacobson, a professor of computer science at the University of Illinois who studies public health.
The Los Angles Times -- “On the app, we noticed that whenever there wasn’t an emoji readily available, people would be very creative about sequencing existing emojis,” Assistant Professor Ranjitha Kumar said. “Boba tea, it’s popular around campus, and people started using a tea emoji and milk emoji along with a black dot or circle.”
Blocks & Files -- Western Digital has appointed David Goeckeler (MS CS '86), the head of Cisco’s networking and security Business, as its new CEO. Goeckeler is a 19-year Cisco veteran, responsible more than $34 billion of Cisco’s technology franchise and leading a global team of more than 25,000 engineers.
Yahoo! Lifestyle -- “Much of the fear surrounding the coronavirus is figuring it out in real-time,” said Sheldon H. Jacobson, a professor of computer science at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. “And that’s why the numbers seem so frightening to people...this is a bad situation, but it’s not something that everyone will get.” Jacobson says common-sense measures like healthy eating, exercise and hand-washing are people’s best bets.
The Daily Illini -- Colleges across the country are using bluetooth to track attendance in their classes using a company called SpotterEDU. Assistant Professor Gang Wang would like to see policies to protect students and faculty before apps like SpotterEDU are used on campus. “The challenge is that apps like these could update daily, monthly or semi-semesterly basis, and every update brings new functionality and users. Students and the University deserve to know and need to prove the updates aren’t intrusive to their students,” Wang said.
The Washington Post -- The Transportation Security Administration intercepted a record number of firearms at airport security checkpoints last year in what the agency’s leader called a “deeply troubling” trend. U. of I. computer science professor Sheldon Jacobson, who has studied aviation security system analysis for 25 years and is among the researchers whose work led to the development of the TSA PreCheck screening system, says TSA’s concerns over the 2019 increase come without context. “What if they found 10 firearms, or what if they found 10,000?
Inside Higher Ed -- The University of Illinois broadened access to its online master of computer science and its data science track by introducing a new Specialization that helps students prepare for a proficiency exam that strengthens their degree application.
GeekWire -- The three-year-old startup’s secret sauce has to do with AI on the edge — machine learning and image recognition tools that can be executed on low-power devices rather than relying on the cloud. “We’ve been able to scale AI out of the cloud to every device out there,” said co-founder Ali Farhadi (PhD CS '11).
Illinois Alumni Association -- As a senior engineering director overseeing Google Chrome, Parisa Tabriz (BS CS '05, MS '07)—aka the “Security Princess”—helps keep your computer safe against assaults by bedroom hackers, hostile nation states and everything in between.
Forbes -- Professor Dakshita Khurana was included in the 2019 edition of the annual list of 600 trailblazers in 20 industries "chronicling the brashest entrepreneurs across the United States and Canada." Khurana develops new cryptographic techniques to make communications and systems more secure.
Chemistry World -- Professor Saurabh Sinha is a member of a team that has created a fully automated algorithm-driven platform that can not only design, build, and test biochemical pathways to make valuable compounds, it can learn from its mistakes and also optimize the process.
Datanami -- Officially launched in October, the Center for Digital Agriculture, co-directed by Professors Vikram Adve and Matthew Hudson, is intended to foster innovation and discovery that will “help agricultural producers, researchers, and industries keep pace with the ways technology is transforming how we feed and support a growing population.”
CNBC -- Tesla is acquiring DeepScale, a computer vision start-up founded and led by Forrest Iandola (BS CS '12) that could help it develop fully driverless vehicles. DeepScale’s technology was designed to help automakers use low-wattage processors, which are standard in most cars, to power very accurate computer vision.
Illinois Innovators Podcast -- In 2017, the U.S. Army began outlining plans for the Internet of Battlefield Things, allowing military to be connected on the battlefield the same we are connected in our homes. Prof. Tarek Abdelzaher, the academic lead of the Army Research Lab’s Alliance for IoBT Research on Evolving Intelligent Goal-Driven Networks (REIGN), discusses the program's progress.
U.S. News & World Report -- Schools are finding new ways to blend liberal arts training with skills in technology and entrepreneurship. This excerpt from the "Best Colleges 2020" guidebook leads off with a look at Illinois' CS + X program and a profile of CS + Astronomy senior Charlie Young.
Chicago Inno -- Pitchbook has ranked the University of Illinois 10th for the number of entrepreneurs getting venture capital funding, with more than 500 founders receiving funding. Illinois also placed 19th for the number of female founders.