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  News for Alumni and Friends September 2020, Issue 2  

Twenty talented new CS faculty.

Twenty-three tremendously talented new faculty members will join Illinois Computer Science over the next year. They will provide expertise in topics ranging from online misbehavior to broadening participation in computing, climate forecasting to data-driven agriculture, human-robot interaction to machine learning, and data-oriented computer architecture to cryptography. This growth offers fresh opportunities to expand possibilities in the classroom, while continuing to break new research ground. Read More


Construction Robot 

An interdisciplinary University of Illinois team has received support from the National Science Foundation and the Discovery Partners Institute to plan the establishment of the first-of-its-kind National Institute for Artificial Intelligence in Construction. Researchers include Illinois CS professors David A. Forsyth, Julia Hockenmaier, and Derek Hoiem.

Jian Peng 

Professor Jian Peng is part of a multi-institutional research team that recently earned $8.95 million over three years through the Aligning Science Across Parkinson’s (ASAP) initiative. Peng and his colleagues will use patient-derived stem cells to investigate how risk factors accumulate and interact to drive Parkinson’s disease.

Sarita Adve 

Professor Sarita Adve worked with colleagues to form SIGARCH CARES – a subcommittee within one of the most influential professional organizations for computer architecture. Just two years later, CARES has spread to other computing research areas and earned a Distinguished Service Award from the Computing Research Association. 

Siebel Scholars Logo 

Graduate students Suneer Angra, Beleicia Bullock, Bhavana Jain, Haoyang Wen, and Andrew Yoo have been named to the 2021 class of Siebel Scholars. Selected from the world’s leading graduate schools of computer science, business, bioengineering and energy science, Siebel Scholars are recognized for their academic excellence and leadership potential.

Siebel Center 

Illinois CS faculty recently received research grants totaling $4.2 million from the National Science Foundation. These five new projects span a range of topics including data mining, software engineering, autonomous systems, cloud computing, computer architecture, and bioinformatics.

Elsa Gunter 

Elsa Gunter, director of undergraduate programs for Illinois CS, took advantage of The Grainger College of Engineering’s “What it Takes” Virtual Summer Camp to introduce high school students to computer science during an unusal summer. 

Saurabh Sinha 

According to professor Saurabh Sinha, gene regulatory networks play a crucial role in behavior, and measuring their activity in the brain will someday help unravel human psychiatric diseases and conditions. Sinha and a multi-institutional team of researchers recently published this viewpoint in a Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences perspective paper.

Siebel Center for Computer Science 

The Discovery Partners Institute recently made eight grants to launch interdisciplinary centers for significant economic and societal impact. Illinois CS faculty are involved in four of these projects, which cover topics that include autonomous farming, trustworthy and ethical artificial intelligence, privacy in the era of big data, and artificial intelligence tools for the construction industry.  

Ananya Cleetus 

Illinois CS undergraduate Ananya Cleetus was recognized for Anemone, an app that helps support users dealing with mental health crises. Ten winners, chosen from among 20 finalists, were awarded resources from the University of Illinois's Health Maker Lab for ideas to improve the world's health. 


Get CS apparel for a limited time!


New Media Coverage

Good Morning America

With the flexibility to work remotely, some travelers are considering booking deals on last-minute getaways and holiday travel. Professor Sheldon Jacobson sounds a note of caution: "When you consider air travel, it is fundementally incompatible with social distancing because air travel brings people together in tight quarters." 


Colleen Bushell (FAA '85, '95) recalls Mosaic and margaritas with Marc Andreessen (BS CS '94) and Eric Bina (BS CS '86, MS CS '88) at the Center of the Universe -- Philo, Illinois.

Northern Public Radio

Illinois Valley Community College was hit with a ransom attack in April, and adminstrators are still dealing with the consequences of the hack. Professors Sibin Mohan and Gang Wang explain how hackers typically choose their targets and discuss the aftereffects of the hack.


The National Artificial Intelligence Research Institutes announced a $20 million award to the Center for Digital Agriculture at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign to develop a new Artificial Intelligence for Future Agricultural Resilience, Management and Sustainability (AIFARMS) institute.

The News Gazette

This list of "history-making women on campus" includes Nancy M. Amato, the first female department head of Illinois Computer Science.

Chicago Tribune

Govenor J.B. Pritzker says football and other contact sports are still too risky in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. According to professor Sheldon Jacobson, as long as players get tested, wear masks and stay inside their “bubble” — avoiding contact with people outside of their teams — they should stave off infection.


Apply now for the NCWIT Aspirations in Computing awards!


Featured Events

Illinois logo 
Check the Calendar for Upcoming Speakers!
The Illinois Computer Science Speaker Series brings prominent leaders and experts to campus to share their ideas and promote conversations about important challenges and topics in the discipline. Join us online: talks are virtual this year!
54 logo 
Oct. 9 - 11

Registration is open until September 30 for 54, a weekend-long event put on by Founders - Illinois Entrepreneurs, the largest student-run entrepreneurship organization at Illinois. Students from a diverse set of backgrounds come together to work on startup ideas through ideation, prototyping, and pitching to industry representatives.


Apply for the Online MCS by October 15!

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