Graduation time

In between trips, I had the pleasure of being back at Caltech for Commencement to congratulate the three RSRGers whom we’re sending off into the world this year. So, congratulations again, Subhonmesh Bose, Matthew Faulkner, and Zhenhua Liu! As is typical in our group, all three of them have at least 2 co-advisers, with Bose clocking-in a record four!

It’s always sad to say goodbye to students, but in these cases, it’s a little easier because we know we’ll be seeing them frequently.

Bose and Zhenhua will be staying in academia, doing postdocs before starting their faculty jobs. Zhenhua will be doing a postdoc at Berkeley before joining the faculty of Stony Brook, which has become a powerhouse in performance modeling & energy now with the recent additions of Xue Liu, Ansul Ghandi, and Zhenhua. Bose will be doing a postdoc at Cornell before starting his faculty position, but he has not yet decided where that will be. Matt is taking a different route, but we’ll be seeing him frequently too, I’m sure, since he is doing a startup making use of ideas from his thesis.

Energiewende is giving renewables a bad name

Germany has been ahead of the curve in terms of pushing the integration of renewable generation. Its so-called “energy revolution,” or Energiewende, is something it has been both heralded and criticized for over the years. In my opinion, the impacts of Energiewende on the energy industry have to a large extent been positive, since the investment has served to motivate and fund a lot of technological advances, especially for solar. However, Energiewende has certainly made some big mistakes over the years which, in a few cases, have threatened to hurt investment in renewables in other countries.

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A report from (two days of) Sigmetrics

Well, June is conferences season for me, so despite a new baby at home I went off on another trip this week — sorry honey! This time it was ACM Sigmetrics in Austin, where I helped to organize the GreenMetrics workshop, and then presented one of our group’s three papers on the first day of the main conference.

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A report from (one day of) EC

This past week, a large part of our group attended ACM EC up in Palo Alto.  EC is the top Algorithmic Game Theory conference, and has been getting stronger and stronger each year.  I was on the PC this year, and I definitely saw very strong papers not making the cut (to my dismay)… In fact, one of the big discussions at the business meeting of the conference was how to handle the growth of the community.

Finding about about the increasingly difficult acceptance standards, I was even happier that our group was so well-represented.  We had four papers on a variety of topics, from privacy to scheduling to equilibrium computation.  I’ll give them a little plug here before talking about some of my highlights from the conference…

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(Research) Heroes

Greetings from Manhattan, where I’m visiting for STOC and for the Women in Theory (WIT) workshop.

I attended the first WIT workshop as a PhD student, back in 2008. That workshop marked the moment when I first started to feel that I belonged in the CS theory community. I realized I was finally at the point where I could get a lot out of attending technical talks, and that I could even sometimes ask a good question. And there I was at the workshop, schmoozing with some of my biggest research heroes—Dorit Aharonov, Shuchi Chawla, Julia Chuzhoy, Irit Dinur, Cynthia Dwork, Joan Feigenbaum, Shafi Goldwasser, Tal Malkin, Eva Tardos, Tiffani Williams, Lisa Zhang—what a lineup! It was so inspiring to talk with the speakers at the workshop and to hear not only about their work, but about their lives, their families, and the challenges they’d faced in their careers. There was something very special about sitting in technical talks and looking around the room to see a sea of female faces, when I’d grown accustomed to being the only woman or one of only a few in the room. Then, to top it off, I had a conversation with Eva Tardos where she suggested coming to Cornell for a postdoc, which was my dream.

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