Greeners on the Cutting Edge
Spring 2014 PLATO[i] Lecture Series:
Mondays, 1:30-3, LH 1

Evergreen has many graduates out in the ‘real’ world, doing interesting and innovative technology research and development.  The PLATO Lecture Series  Greeners on the Cutting Edge is a celebration (and but a sample of!) those graduates on the cutting edge!

Wk 1:  March 31: Helping Developers Find Useful ToolsEmerson Murphy-Hill, Ph.D.  Assistant Professor, North Carolina State University. Emerson directs the Developer Liberation Front. His research spans human-computer interaction and software engineering, winning an NSF CAREER Award in 2013 and three ACM SIGSOFT Distinguished Paper Awards. His research problems are informed by and his results influence software development at companies such as ABB, Google, and Microsoft.

See  Abstract/Bio/ReadingEmerson’s Lecture Slides.

Wk 2:  April 7:  Proving Program Termination (and more)Byron Cook, Ph.D. Principal Researcher at Microsoft Research,  MSR-NYC and MSR-Cambridge:    Byron is also full professor of computer science at University College London (UCL) . Byron’s research interests include program analysis/verification, programming languages, theorem proving, logic, hardware design, operating systems, and biological systems.  Byron’s recent work has been focused on the development of automatic tools for proving program termination/liveness (see the T2 project), memory safety (see the SLAyer project), as well as properties about models of biological systems (see the BMA project).  Byron will also briefly discuss his career and how Evergreen has influenced it thus far.

See Abstract/Bio/Reading  See also: Byron’s Lecture Slides

Wk 3: April 14: MONSTROUS Advances in CGI – With a Special Screening of Pixar’s The Blue UmbrellaDylan Sisson. Technical Marketing Specialist at Pixar, currently RenderMan Technical marketing specialist.    Dylan is often called upon to showcase the new lighting and shading tools in RenderMan Studio 4.0, including a new physically plausible shader library, progressive re-rendering, and a host of cutting-edge features.  Dylan is also a talented artist and iPhone game developer – read about Dylan the Artist.

See Abstract/Bio/Reading.  Sorry, Dylan’s slides were proprietary; we can’t post them.

Wk 4: April 21: Making Databases Smarter with Optimization.   Emir Pasalic, Ph.D.  BS Evergreen 1997. Computer scientist at LogicBlox, Atlanta GA.  Emir’s interests include multi-stage programming, type theory and domain specific languages.designs;  currently, he implements database platform support for mathematical programming, optimization and in-database machine learning.  As a postdoc at Rice, he worked on adding dependent types to OCaml by plugging Coq into its type checker and on program generation (e.g., staging dynamic programming algorithms) at the Rice PLT group.

See Abstract/Bio/ReadingEmir’s Slides.

Wk 5: April 28:  Imaginary Places.  Irina Gendelman, Ph.D. and Jeff Birkenstein, Ph.D.    Irina (Associate Professor of Communication, Department of Society and Social Justice, and Co-Director, Center for Scholarship and Teaching, Saint Martin’s University, Lacey, WA) studies the intersections between urban spaces, technology and social justice and founded CROW, a community mural group, and Urban Archives, a digital repository of street art.  She currently teaches the  Digital Imagination class at Saint Martin’s. Her research includes the study of visual communication and how the production and consumption of food, nature and art are negotiated between stakeholders in cities.
Jeff (Assoc. Prof. English and Dept. Chair, St Martin’s) strives to break down walls between the classroom and the world, for example, his watching a plane crash into New York’s World Trade Center live on television led to a conference and then a class and finally a book: Reframing 9/11: Film, Pop Culture and the “War on Terror”.  

See Abstract/Bio/Reading.  See also:  Irina’s and Jeff’s Slides

Wk 6: May 5: Fail fast, succeed faster!”  Sonia Scaer, Software Process Delivery Leader, Technical Project Lead, and  Risk Management Engineering Lead at GE Healthcare, Global Asset Management.   Sonia has Certified Software Quality Engineer experience, working in an FDA regulated software development environment, and is interested in aspects of software quality that impact a technical team’s work and strategies that improve communication and meet quality goals.  Sonia has successfully led cross-functional, co-located and remote teams through changing business directions and adopting and maintaining QMS and project milestones/objectives.  She will talk about Agile Scrum.

Abstract/Bio.  Reading is The Lean Startup.  See also Sonia’s Slides and Sonia’s Lessons Learned and Job Tips, and
the (short) article: “10 Tech Companies Proving Innovation Isn’t Dead“, by Don Reisinger, eWeek posting, 4/23/2014 (click through the 12 slides) – you might want to turn on ad-block before you look at this.

Wk 7: May 12:  Creating Geographic Visualizations Frank Hardisty, Ph.D.  TESC BA (English and Math), Research Faculty at Penn State University, GeoVISTA Center .   Frank currently conducts research and teaches programming, geographic information systems, spatial analysis, and cloud computing. He also works as a Java programmer and project manager at GeoVISTA, as the primary developer and maintainer of the GeoViz Toolkit suite of software for geographic visualization.

See Abstract/Bio/Reading.  Frank’s Slides (coming)

Wk 8: May 19: Educating for Job Skills.  Lynda Weinman, Executive Chair and cofounder (with Bruce Heavin) of lynda.com. Lynda is a web graphics and design veteran and author of dozens of best-selling books, including the first industry book on web design designing web graphics in 1995. Before lynda.com, she was a faculty member at Art Center College of Design in Pasadena CA and worked as an animator and motion graphics director in the special effects film industry. She also taught at UCLA Extension, American Film Institute, and San Francisco State University’s Multimedia Studies Program.   

See  Abstract/Bio/ReadingLynda’s Slides.

May 26:  Memorial Day – College closed; no speaker

Wk 10: June 2: Moishe Lettvin – Software Engineer – Etsy – Boulder, CO – Seeing the Forest and The Trees 1998-99. Moishe is an engineering manager at Etsy, working on projects to help independent sellers succeed. Before Etsy, he worked at Google, Microsoft and a couple of small startups. He will talk a bit about software engineering in general, and about the process of technical interviews – “a weird skill that’s in some ways orthogonal to actually writing software”. He’d love to meet Evergreen students interested in working at Etsy, and thinks it’s probably the most Evergreen-y tech company he could imagine: people are creative and generous, and there’s a shared sense of responsibility to make the world a better place.”

See  Abstract/Bio/Reading .

Evaluation Week – Tuesday June 10, 3-5pm, Lib 2612.  Student Originated Software – Software Fair

In Memorium – Keith Jackson.  on April 25 Judy learned from a mutual colleague of Keith’s death.  He was definitely one of our “Greeners on the Cutting Edge”.  She had wondered why Keith did not respond to her emails asking him to speak in this series.   Keith’s untimely passing is a tremendous loss for LBNL and Evergreen;  we will miss him.  Keith went to Pacific Northwest National  immediately after graduating from Evergreen in 2000, and then transferred to Lawrence Berkeley National Lab where he worked with the Data Intensive Systems Group.  See:  Keith’s LBNL Memorial notice, and Keith’s professional home page.   He won several awards, including:


[i]The Evergreen PLATO Lecture Series was endowed in ~1985 by John Aikin to fund an annual series of lectures about computing and its implications and applications.  Funds for the lecture series were set up in perpetuity from royalties accrued from PLATO  (Programmed Logic for Automated Teaching Operations) CAI (Computer Aided Instruction) courses for BASIC and Pascal written by Aikin and his Evergreen students under a grant from CDC (Control Data Corporation);  read more about the PLATO Fund setup.  Originally written in American English, those courses were translated into many other (natural) languages and given worldwide exposure.  There is now a PLATO simulation Cyber1 , though the Evergreen courses have not been loaded.  Rumor has it that there were many fine games on this system, which was 30+ years ahead of its time.