Dear alumni and friends,

I send you warm greetings from Madison, Wisconsin, during this most unusual of summers, and do hope you and your loved ones are doing well in these uncertain times.  

Let me first fill you in on some of the good news that has taken place within the CS department. Despite the difficulties posed by COVID-19, we managed to finish up spring semester, graduating one of the largest classes in the history of CS. (CS remains the largest major on campus.) Although continuing our teaching mission in this emergency mode was a challenge, our great staff, students, and faculty were up to the task, and got us all through this unusual semester.  

We also conducted an extensive faculty recruiting season, bringing in over 30 candidates during the spring semester; many of these interviews were virtual, and indeed, some of the new faculty joining us will have never stepped foot in Wisconsin until the day they move here to join our faculty(!). The net result of our work was the hiring of six excellent faculty, in areas such as machine learning, computer vision, human-computer interaction, data visualization, quantum computing, and datacenter networking. When they all arrive, our CS faculty will near 50 people, the largest it has ever been.  

Our new School, CDIS, is up and running, and already off to a flying start. CDIS, as you may recall, is comprised of three departments at the heart of the digital age: CS, Statistics, and the iSchool. Alumnus Tom Erickson is the Founding Director, and he and the team at CDIS are moving forward on a number of major initiatives, including initial efforts towards a new facility to house the School, large-scale research initiatives, innovative educational ventures, and increased outreach to the campus, city, state, and beyond. Some early successes of CDIS include faculty hiring (15 across the three departments just this year) and a new major, Data Science, which will start this fall.  

This issue of Badger Bytes includes articles on other departmental news and events. Included are faculty profiles of four of our new faculty (Ilias Diakonikolas, Jelena Diakonikolas, Earlence Fernandes, and Xiangyao Yu); a report on the continued success of our International Collegiate Programming Contest team (which went to the world finals for 19th year running) and its stalwart lead, Dieter van Melkebeek; an article on incoming faculty Sharon Li, a deep-learning expert, and her selection as one of Forbes's 30 under 30; Shuchi Chawla's campus-wide recognition for her stellar teaching; HTCondor's continued importance in so many aspects of science and computation; and a new and inspiring student organization, Coding for Good. You will also meet Nick Jaeger, the new WFAA Director of Development for CS, and Camille Robert, the new WFAA Donor Experience Director for CS.

The issue also includes an obituary for the late Emeritus Professor Olvi Mangasarian. Anyone who was lucky enough to know him will remember his passion for research and education, his good humor and convivial demeanor, and his kind and thoughtful approach to life. He will be greatly missed. 

The future still remains uncertain, alas. The campus is furiously working to understand how COVID-19 will shape this fall semester and beyond, with numerous contingencies being put in place. The fall semester will begin, and we will work hard to keep all people safe while advancing our research and educational missions.  

Finally, we were all shocked and saddened by the killing of George Floyd. Although no words can do justice to those harmed by this and other similar events, we can say this: the CS department affirms its commitment to becoming the most positive, inclusive, and welcoming environment for Black people. Computer science increasingly affects all of us -- thus, it should include all of us. I know I will be thinking about what I can do, and what we can do together, to help the world change from what it currently is to what we all think it should be. 

At the top of Bascom Hill sits a statue of Abraham Lincoln. I think of the words from his second inaugural address: "With malice toward none; with charity for all ... let us strive on to finish the work we are in." Take care of yourselves, of each other, and On, Wisconsin!

-- Remzi  

p.s. As always, please feel to drop me an email to connect; I'm always happy to hear from our wonderful group of alumni.

Remzi Arpaci-Dusseau, Chair
Computer Sciences Department

New faculty profiles: Ilias Diakonikolas, Jelena Diakonikolas, Earlence Fernandes, and Xiangyao Yu
We welcomed five new faculty members during the 2019-20 academic year. You met Rahul Chatterjee last fall. Now we're pleased to introduce you to:

We also have five new faculty members joining the department during the 2020-21 academic year, so look for their profiles in future newsletters. 

International Collegiate Programming Contest team competes at the world finals for the nineteenth year running
UW-Madison's six teams that entered the regional ICPC secured the 1st, 3rd, 6th, 7th, 8th, and 15th places out of 180 teams. They qualified for the national and international championships for the nineteenth time in a row!

Incoming faculty member Sharon Li named one of Forbes 30 under 30

Sharon Li, who joins the CS department this fall, has been named to Forbes 30 under 30-Science for her work in deep learning, specifically applied to image recognition problems. 

Shuchi Chawla wins teaching award
We all know Shuchi Chawla is a fabulous teacher, and now the university has recognized it by awarding her the 2020 Chancellor's Teaching Innovation Award. Her innovative teaching methods include developing peer mentors for the Introduction to Algorithms course she teaches - so successfully that other CS classes have started doing the same. 

It's been an exciting spring for Chawla - she also received the UW-Madison Provost's Mid-Career Award, along with Bilge Mutlu who received the Early Career Award. 
HTCondor: Paving the way to the future
HTCondor has made it possible for researchers to analyze thousands of pieces of data in a relatively short period of time - data that would have taken a lifetime to process. Companies such as DreamWorks, NASA, and CERN have taken advantage of these capabilities, as have departments within the UW-Madison College of Letters & Science. This article reveals, largely in laypersons' terms, how scientists in the Departments of Botany (Edgar Spalding ,right), Psychology, and Physics used the high-throughput computing, that combines an entire organization's computing power into one super-processor, offered by HTCondor. 

Coding for Good: CS Student Org Spotlight
The CS student group Coding for Good focuses on using their powers for good by creating programs and applications that serve the community. "My motivation for these projects definitely comes from doing good in the community," says group member Kenneth Mui (in the photo on the right).  

Meet Nick Jaeger and Camille Robert!
The Computer Sciences Department is excited to announce that Nick Jaeger and Camille Robert of the University of Wisconsin Foundation are now working with us. Nick Jaeger is now the Director of Development for the School of Computer, Data & Information Sciences (CDIS), and Camille is the new CS Donor Experience Officer (DXO). 

We miss CS Professor Emeritus Olvi Mangasarian
Emeritus Professor Olvi Mangasarian passed away in March. We fondly remember him for his academic prowess and the inspiration he provided to not only computer scientists but also applied mathematicians and engineers. 

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