It’s been one year since I started as executive officer (Caltech’s name for department chair) for our CMS department…and, not coincidentally, it’s been almost that long since my last blog post! But now, a year in, I’ve got my administrative legs under me and I think I can get back to posting at least semi-regularly.
As always, the first post back after a long gap is a news filled one, so here goes!
Caltech had an amazing faculty recruitment year last year! Caltech’s claim to fame in computer science has always been pioneering disruptive new fields at the interface of computing — quantum computing, dna computing, sparsity and compressed sensing, algorithmic game theory, … Well, this year we began an institute-wide initiative to redouble our efforts on this front and it yielded big rewards. We hired six new mid-career faculty at the interface of computer science! That is an enormous number for Caltech, where the whole place only has 300 faculty…
The hires include:
- Lior Pachter: CS+Biology (he wrote a great blog post about the transition)
- Andrew Stuart: CS+Math
- Garnet Chan: CS+Chemistry
- Fernando Brandao: CS+Physics
- Aaron Ames: CS+MechE
- Sung-Jo Chung: CS+Aerospace
We’re extremely excited to have all of them join us at Caltech!
On the more personal side, I’m in the middle of an exciting semester… I’m an organizer of the program at the Simons Institute this term on Algorithms and Uncertainty. So, I’m spending two days every week up at Berkeley. It sounds painful, but it’s actually working out great so far. It’s about 2.5 hours from my house in Pasadena to my office at Berkeley, so I can have breakfast with the kids one day and be home for dinner with the kids the next!
We’re just wrapping up the first workshop of the program, on “Optimization and Decision-making under Uncertainty“. All the talks are videoed, so I highly recommend watching them!
Also, I was neglectful in not posting during the boot camp last month, but there were some great talks there too. I gave two tutorials there: one with Nikhil Bansal on “Online scheduling meets Queueing” (part I, part II) and one with Eilyan Bitar on “Energy and Uncertainty” (part I, part II). The videos for both are available at the links.
That’s enough for a first post, but I’ll try to follow this up with more regular posts in the coming weeks/months!