School of Computer Science Holds Annual Staff Recognition Event

The SCS community gathered at UPMC Sportsworks Feb. 6 to honor outstanding members of its student body, staff and faculty.

Two teams of SCS researchers received the School's Allen Newell Award for Research Excellence--the first group for developing the Informedia Digital Library project, which "virtually established the field of video information extraction," and the second for Project LISTEN, a computerized reading tutor that listens to children read and verbally prompts them when they stumble. Today, children are using Project LISTEN's Reading Tutor daily on 216 computers in nine schools in two statesThe Informedia team includes SCS Vice Provost for Research, Howard Wactlar; Informedia Project Leader Alexander Hauptmann; CSD Senior Systems Scientist Michael Christel; Whitaker University Professor Takeo Kanade, and HCII Senior Systems Scientist Scott Stevens.

Jack Mostow, a principal research scientist in the Robotics Institute and Gregory Aist received Newell medals for project LISTEN. Aist, who is presently at NASA's Ames Research Center in Calif., received his doctor's degree in language technologies under Mostow. He worked on Project LISTEN as a post-doctoral student. The Graduate Student Service award went to Stephanie Schriver for her outstanding service to the SCS community.

Michele Mannella, graduate program coordinator in the HCI Institute, Karen Olack, personnel records manager in the Computer Science Department, and Marian D'Amico, assistant to HCII director Dan Siewiorek, were recognized as outstanding support staff. In addition to the traditional financial rewards, they received a large, plastic M&M candy dispenser, a giant jar of pretzels, and a decorated, customized Ouija board, respectively.

HCII Associate Professor Bonnie John took the prize for "most overworked faculty member." A joint award for the "most innovative effort" went to technical staffers Bill Ross a commercialization specialist at the National Robotics Engineering Consortium (NREC) of the Robotics Institute and Jason Pratt, a research programmer in the Entertainment Technology Center and HCII. Technical support awards went to Computer Operations Supervisor Kirk Berthold and Peter Rander, also a commercialization specialist at the NREC.

SCS Business Manager Allen Stoltzfus was honored for his "wise choices" in hiring outstanding employees.

And the SCS "Rainmaker" award went to the faculty team who brought in last year's $5.6 million NSF award for computational biolinguistics. Judith Klein-Seetharaman, assistant professor in the Department of Pharmacology at the University of Pittsburgh Medical School with a secondary appointment in the LTI, accepted the "umbrella" for the team that also includes Simon University Professor Raj Reddy, LTI Director Jaime Carbonell, LTI Associate Professor Ronald Rosenfeld and LTI Associate Professor Yiming Yang.

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