News Update :: Tuesday, June 13, 2006


Cal-Tech Nabs Georgia Tech’s Chameau for President’s Post

Georgia Tech Provost Jean-Lou Chameau has been named president of California Institute of Technology . Since June 2001, Chameau, 53, has been provost and vice president for academic affairs at Georgia Tech, where he has known for his interdisciplinary vision. He will start his new job on September 1.

Chameau joined the Georgia Tech faculty in 1991 and has been the dean of Georgia Tech's College of Engineering. At Caltech, he will succeed Nobel Prize-winning biologist David Baltimore. Georgia Tech President Wayne Clough said the school was “very proud of his appointment,” and hopes to “take advantage of this link between two of the nation's leading technological universities.”

Chameau received his secondary and undergraduate education in France and his graduate education in civil engineering from Stanford University. In 1980 he joined the civil engineering faculty at Purdue, where he subsequently became a full professor and head of the geotechnical engineering program. He also serves on the board of l'Ecole Polytechnique, a position he will also keep after assuming the presidency of Caltech.

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Computing, Internet Pioneer Alan Kotok Dies

Revered computer scientist Alan Kotok, known for his work on the groundbreaking DEC PDP-10 computer, for being on the team that invented the joystick, and his more recent involvement with the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), died over the Memorial Day weekend.

World Wide Web creator and W3C director Tim Berners-Lee, called Kotok “one of the early wise men of computer science.” In a statement, Berners-Lee listed some of Kotok’s accomplishments and gifts, “which was apparent in his undergraduate days at MIT.” Kotok helped create the first video game, Spacewar, which he and several classmates created for the PDP-1 in 1962. He was also part of the team which invented the joystick, and as a member of the MIT Tech Model Railroad Club, “he proved to be highly adept at understanding complex technical systems and making them do new things,” Berners-Lee said.

Kotok spent 34 years with Digital Equipment Corp. in numerous leadership roles, including chief architect of the PDP-10 family of computers. He also had a wide range of roles at W3C, including associate chairman.

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U of Illinois CIO to Lead UC Davis Information Tech Efforts

Peter Siegel, an expert in university information and learning technologies and the chief information officer at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, was named vice provost for information and educational technology and chief information officer at the University of California at Davis. He will begin his new job on July 1.

In addition to overseeing IT and education tech strategies, Siegel will be responsible for coordinating technology between the Davis campus and the UC Davis Health System. The UC Davis Informational and Educational Technology division has 275 employees and an annual budget of $32 million. The position is part of the chancellor's cabinet, and reports to both the chancellor and provost. As vice provost at UC, Siegel will earn an annual salary of $250,000.

UC Davis Chancellor Larry Vanderh'ef called Siegel "quite a catch for the Davis campus. He comes from a university that is regarded as a national leader in the area of information technology. With the breadth of experience over his career, he'll be off and running the moment he arrives."

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Wisconsin Prof Wields Statistics in War on Computer Bugs

Ben Liblit, an assistant professor in the University of Wisconsin-Madison's department of computer sciences, is using the tools of automated statistical analysis to combat computer bugs on campus, a process he refers to as “statistical debugging.”

Liblit’s Cooperative Bug Isolation Project distributes modified versions of open source software, such as Evolution (similar to Microsoft Outlook), Gnumeric (a spreadsheet), Rhythmbox, similar to iTunes), and Spin, a CPU simulator from Bell Labs. The software has been tweaked with extra instrumentation code that runs alongside the application to monitor its behavior. Liblit and his team are looking at data values within the application, and testing them to see if they show unusual patterns. If monitoring picks up something unusual and the application also crashes, then they may have isolated the cause of a bug.

Liblit has posted 192 versions of eight different open-source applications. These special versions monitor their own behavior while they run and report back. The Association of Computing Machinery named Liblit's doctoral dissertation on cooperative bug isolation from the University of California-Berkeley as the best computer science and engineering dissertation in 2005.

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Berkeley WiFi Video Conveys Eye Care to Remote Villagers

Researchers at the University of California, Berkeley, working with an Indian hospital system and the Intel Corp., have developed a new technology for low-cost rural wireless connectivity that is helping thousands of residents of rural villages in India get quality eye care.

The technology, based on Wi-Fi wireless networking, allows eye specialists at Aravind Eye Hospital in the southern India state of Tamil Nadu to interview and examine patients in remote clinics via a high-quality video conference. The success of the project has prompted its expansion last week to include five hospitals that will be linked to 50 clinics that are expected to serve half a million patients each year.

Eric Brewer, a UC Berkeley professor of computer science and director of the Intel Research Berkeley lab, initiated the project. "Historically, most projects have been either too expensive or too technologically complex to be used in poor, rural areas, he said. “What we've done here is develop a simple, inexpensive software and hardware system that can provide villages with a high-bandwidth connection to computer networks in cities as far as 50 miles away."

The project is one of several projects Brewer and a group of UC Berkeley computer science students have initiated through the Technology and Infrastructure for Emerging Regions (TIER) project, which is sponsored by UC Berkeley's Center for Information Technology Research in the Interest of Society (CITRIS). The TIER research team works through an open collaborative research agreement between Intel and UC Berkeley.

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