As this unusual year draws to a close, it is my sincere wish that you and yours are doing well, and that your year ends on a wonderful note. On campus, life has felt much more “normal” than the previous year; teaching in front of students - even with everyone wearing masks - will do that, I suppose. I can certainly sense that students are enjoying the change back to in-person instruction; to see each other, collaborate with each other, and be together in our studies and our research is just so much better than to stare at a screen all day. Despite stereotypes, Computer Scientists are people too!
I do have an important update about the new School of Computer, Data & Information Sciences building. We held a small, in-person launch in September where a $125 million gift from John and Tashia Morgridge was announced, $50 million of which is in the form of a dollar-for-dollar match. In addition, Erik Iverson also made public a $50 million gift toward the building from the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation (WARF). You can read more about this in the link below. Thanks to this incredible generosity and support, we have made excellent progress towards our final fundraising goal; however, there is more work to do, and we will need all the help we can get!
In this issue, we also have some great stories to share with you. We welcome four new faculty members this fall; their profiles are available in the links below. Professor Somesh Jha was awarded a US Department of Defense Multidisciplinary University Research Initiative (MURI) grant for their project Cohesive and Robust Human-Bot Cybersecurity Teams. The team will study how to coordinate HBCT in the presence of active adversaries that are also adapting to changing conditions. Three Computer Sciences professors are developing robotic technologies that seamlessly mesh with people’s lives in the People and Robots Lab. Computer Sciences is collaborating with the Art Department and the School of Education’s Department of Curriculum and Instruction on a Game Design Certificate that is proving to be extremely popular among undergraduates. Finally, Professor Jin-Yi Cai has been awarded two prestigious prizes in the last few months: the Gödel Prize in theoretical computer science and the Fulkerson Prize for work in discrete mathematics.
We hope you are doing well and look forward to being able to reconnect in person sometime soon. Take care! And please reach out at any time; I'm always happy to hear from our wonderful alumni.