Computer Science News
- The members of the Computer Science Department mourn the death of our good
friend and colleague, Matt Bradley. We miss his humor, his generous spirit,
and his awesome abilities, both physical and mental. He will be missed.
College announcement of Matt's death. Click
here for a department page remembering Matt.
- Senior CS major Sophia Yang has won first place in the ACM undergraduate
student research competition at the Grace Hopper Conference held in Atlanta,
Georgia on September 28 to October 2, 2010. The title of her research
presentation was "What are you looking at? Classifying neural activity of
the fusiform face area". The research was done under the guidance of
Professor Michael Spezio of Scripps College, while part of the work was done
as a class project for the Pomona College Artificial Intelligence class
taught by Professor Sara Sood.
The following is the abstract for Yang's poster:
"We apply supervised learning techniques in the analyses of neural activity.
Given a repository of fMRI data from subjects viewing images of faces,
objects, or scrambled objects, we focus on the fusiform face area (a region
known for its role in visual processing and face recognition) for pattern
specific information. We are able to predict viewed image types with 65-70%
accuracy given two image conditions, and 45-50% accuracy given three."
Competitors first presented
posters that were judged by a panel of computer scientists. Five
semi-finalists were then chosen to give a talk at the conference on their
research, with the winner chosen based on the quality and significance of
their research, on the informal discussion of posters, and on the formal
presentation of their research.
An article, "Sentiment-sensing software could aid in weeding hostile online comments", on the web site of the Scientific
American magazine, describes the work of Professor Sara Sood and her collaborator, Elizabeth Churchill,
a principal research scientist at Yahoo Research who manages the company's Internet Experiences Group. They have
developed software, a "sentiment engine", to analyze the emotional content of postings in comment threads on
Another article on their research can be found at Wired Magazine on-line.
Sood and Churchill's research got media attention after their work was presented
in October, 2010, at the annual Grace Hopper conference.
Congratulations to Professor Sara Sood on receiving a Wig Award for
Excellence in Teaching! (5/2010)
Congratulations to Ian Carr '10 on having Shelley, the film that he and a
friend made this past summer, accepted into the Cannes film festival! This
is a tremendous honor: in the 11 years the Cinefondation (Cannes' student
selection) has existed, it has only screened 206 films, 23 of them from the
US. This year, out of 1600 submissions, they selected Ian and Andrew's film
to be one of the 13 to be screened in May. The Pomona news release is
and you can watch the trailer at the film's website.
(4/2010) Read the Los Angeles Times article here (5/2010).
- Lucy Vasserman '10 was one of two runners-up for the Computing Research Association's Outstanding Undergraduate Researcher Award. This is a great accomplishment as she was competing against Computer Science students from colleges and universities across North America. The full results are posted here.
For more about Lucy's specific project, click on her name.
For more about the award, see
- Lucy Vasserman '10 won second place and a prize of $300 in the
undergraduate research competition at the Grace Hopper Conference in October 2009. More details » (10/2009)
The Spring 2009 issue of the Pomona College Magazine has an article titled
"Search Your Feelings" on Professor Sood's research. Read it
Congratulations to Shiri Azenkot '06 on being awarded both an NSF graduate research fellowship and an
Fellowship. She was also awarded a NASA fellowship, which she
declined. Shiri will be entering the PhD graduate program at the
University of Washington
this fall. (5/2009)
Congratulations to Lucy Vasserman '10 on being awarded Honorable Mention
in the Computing Research Association's Outstanding Undergraduate Award
competition! Take a look here for more about this prestigious award. (12/2008)
- Professor Chen is part of a group of 6 professors who were
jointly awarded a $150,000 grant from the NSF for their collaborative
research project titled "Commonsense computing: What students know
before we teach." Read more about it here (9/2008)
- Congratulations to Professor Yi Chen and her husband, Chris
Umans, on the birth of their first child, a daughter named Kira, on
Sunday, July 8, 2007. Mother and baby are both doing fine. (7/2007)
- Congratulations to Alex Haro, Tim Brown, and Kurt Ude for
winning the Hidden Agenda contest! This is the 3rd
year the contest has been run, and the first time a
Pomona team has won (instead of placing second).
The Pomona team did
such a good job that they suspended the contest for this year
to further develop and test slinky bomb, which is designed
to teach Physics to middle school students. By the way, the
winning team got $25,000!
If you want to try out the winning game
(SlinkyBomb), it's been
installed on one of the new machines in the back of
the Unix lab. You can also see (the released versions
of) games from previous years' contests at
www.hagames.com (Elemental (originally called ChemPop)
was developed by John Plewe '03, and AlgebrArcade was
developed by Ben Swanson '06). A more detailed
writeup is now available(7/2007)
We have now (1/2007) moved into our new home in the
Edmunds Building. Come visit our offices and labs up
on the second floor of Edmunds, right across fom the
Smith Campus Center. You will find beautiful and
spacious new labs and offices. (1/2007)
- The Computer Science programming team consisting of Alex Haro '08,
Frank Salim '07, and Michael Carter '07 entered
the Southern California regional ACM programming contest on Saturday,
November 11th, 2006, in Riverside. The team came in 15th out of 73
- Computer Science is now Pomona's newest department. While
Computer Science has been a separate major for many years, the
creation of a separate department reflects the college's view of the
importance of Computer Science at Pomona. Next up will be our move to
the (currently under construction) Edmunds Building in January, 2007.
These are exciting times for Computer Science at Pomona! (7/2006)
- Shiri Azenkot '06 won first place and a prize of $500 in the
undergraduate research competition at the ACM SIGCSE conference in
March, 2006. More details » (3/2006)
- Congratulations are in order for our own Prof. Yi Chen, who
was recently awarded a prestigious five-year National Science Foundation Career
grant! Read more about it in this news
article ». Way to go Yi! (4/2005)