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CRA Conference at Snowbird 2008

For Chairs of Ph.D.-granting CS and CE Departments and Directors of U.S. industrial and government computing research labs/centers interested in Computing Research

 July 13 – 15, 2008
Cliff Lodge, Snowbird Resort
Snowbird, Utah


Program and Slides

PDF versions of the slides are linked to the corresponding presenters name.

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Saturday, July 12 - Sunday, July 13
  Workshop on the Instrumentation Needs of CISE Research
  Azer Bestavros (Boston University)
Sunday, July 13
8:30 am - 2:45 pm CRA Board of Directors Meeting (begins Saturday 6PM)
2:00 pm - 7:30 pm Conference Registration
3:00 pm - 5:30 pm Workshop for New Department Chairs 


Susanne Hambrusch (Purdue University)
Darrell Whitley (Colorado State University)
Speakers: Jeanne Ferrante (UC San Diego)
Diane Souvaine (Tufts University)
Robert Walker (Kent State University)

Xiaodong Zhang (Ohio State University)

Agenda | Recommendation from the panel

6:00 pm - 7:00 pm Welcome Reception
7:00 pm - 9:30 pm Dinner


Shree Nayar , PhD
T. C. Chang Chaired Professor
Department of Computer Science, Columbia University

Topic: Computational Cameras: Redefining the Image

Monday, July 14
7:00 am - 8:30 am Breakfast Buffet
7:30 am - 8:30 am Registration
8:30 am - 8:40 am Welcome


J Strother Moore, University of Texas at Austin (Academic Snowbird Chair)
Marek Rusinkiewicz, Telcordia Technologies (Labs/Centers Snowbird Chair)
8:40 am - 10:00 am Plenary Session I

Innovation in the Knowledge Economy


Cita Furlani (NIST)


Irving Wladawsky-Berger (MIT)
10:00 am - 10:30 am Break
10:30 am – Noon Workshop I (three parallel sessions)
  Exploring the Interaction Between Computational Science and Music

Chair and Speaker:

Christopher Raphael (Indiana University)


Douglas Eck (University of Montreal)
John Sanderson (Indiana University)

This session presents both interesting scientific problems and challenging application domains that live at the confluence of music and computer science. Douglas Eck, Associate Professor of Computer Science at the University of Montreal and member of the "BRAMS” International Laboratory for BRAin Music and Sound, will discuss humanizing computer-generated piano performances with an eye toward computer composition for video games. Christopher Raphael, Associate Professor in the School of Informatics at Indiana University and head of the Music Informatics program, will present his musical accompaniment system "The Informatics Philharmonic" in service of violin virtuoso John Sanderson, who is a student in the IU Jacobs School of Music.

  Paper and Proposal Reviews: Is the Process Flawed?


Hank Korth (Lehigh University)


Phil Bernstein (Microsoft)
Mary Fernandez (AT&T Labs–Research)
Le Gruenwald (National Science Foundation)
Phokion Kolaitis (IBM Almaden Research Center)
Kathryn McKinley (University of Texas at Austin)
Tamer Ozsu {Double Blind} (University of Waterloo)

The review process for computer science publications and proposals is crucial to the health of our field, especially for new researchers seeking to establish themselves in the field. Current and past processes have been criticized for a variety of reasons, including timeliness of decisions; fairness, especially to “outsiders;” and openness. The responses have included turnaround time guarantees and process changes. Some journals and conferences have moved to double-blind reviewing, though not without strong opposition. NSF moved some time ago from a journal-style review process to doing most reviews via panels that meet physically in one location. Meanwhile, conference program committees have moved in the opposite direction. Many do not meet physically and instead use an asynchronous on-line process. This panel will discuss the concerns that have led to change, the degree to which process changes have addressed these concerns and/or created new problems, and what further steps ought to be taken from here.

A recent USENIX workshop also addressed many of these issues. Papers and slides for that USENIX workshop are posted at

  Web 2.0


Natalie Glance (Google)


Nicole Ellison (Michigan State University)
Jure Leskovec (Carnegie Mellon University '08)
Steve Skiena (Stony Brook University)

Web 2.0 is a set of tools that enables the masses to easily create content on the WWW, in the form of blogs, social networks, video and photo collections, and simple application creation frameworks. In addition, Web 2.0 has amplified the importance of relationships between users that are represented in social networks. The emergence of this new and varied content has led to a flurry of research activity that aims to mine the content and infer useful data from it (e.g., sentiment analysis, network analysis). This session presents a sampling of some recent work in this area, and exposes some of the important directions for future research in Computer Science.

Noon - 1:30 pm Luncheon
1:30 pm - 3:00 pm PLENARY SESSION II
  Industrial Hiring Expectations: The Big Picture


Alon Halevy (Google)


Alan Eustace (Google)
Eric Grimson (MIT)
3:00 pm - 3:30 pm Break
3:30 pm - 5:00 pm Workshop II (four parallel sessions)
  1. Defining the Computer Science in Biomedical Informatics: Opportunities for CS Research in Biomedical Domains


Sethuraman (Panch) Panchanathan (Arizona State)


Atul Butte (Stanford University)
Edward Shortliffe (University of Arizona)
Peter Szolovits (MIT)

In recent years, biomedical informatics (sometimes called medical informatics or health informatics) has emerged as an important and well-received discipline at many medical schools, often involving close collaborative relationships with computer science departments at the same institution. In this workshop discussion we will define the field of biomedical informatics, identify its scope and relationship to computer science, and characterize some of the fundamental research problems to which computer scientists can contribute. The goal is to enhance interact-tions between researchers in biomedical informatics and computer science while also addressing the differences between the fields and the resulting synergies that exist.

  2. Industry/Academic Partnerships


Gabby Silberman (CA Labs)


Josep Lluis Larriba-Pey (Larri) (The Polytechnic University of Catalonya, Barcelona)
Helen Meng (The Chinese University of Hong Kong)
Hausi A. Muller (University of Victoria, Canada)

The "three Rs" of industry-academia collaboration, Research, Recruiting, and Relevant skills, are just some of the many dimensions both parties can work along to reap the benefits of a win-win partnership. The goal of this panel is to explore a number of successful industry-academia models for research collaboration through the experience of non-US academic colleagues, with the view to learn in what ways US models have been adjusted to better match local cultural, legal, and other relevant practices, or how they may fundamentally differ from US-based efforts.

  3. Graduate School Immigration and Emigration


Kim Bruce (Pomona College)


Randal Nelson (University of Rochester)
Mor Harchol-Balter (Carnegie Mellon University)
Adam Beberg (Stanford University)

The transition from undergraduate to graduate student and from graduate student to faculty or industry does not always go smoothly for students. How can graduate programs assist students in making these transitions? This panel will describe programs and courses designed to help students prepare for these changes.

  4. Practical Solutions to a Continuing Problem: Sexual Harassment and Gender Discrimination


Susanne Hambrusch (Purdue University)


Eric Grimson (MIT)
Susanne Hambrusch (Purdue University)
David Notkin (University of Washington)
Valerie Taylor (Texas A&M)

Session Slides

Many people believe that, at least within academia, explicit sexual harassment is a thing of the past, and more subtle forms of gender discrimination have waned. Unfortunately, there continue to be disturbing incidents of harassment, and "implicit bias" is a pervasive phenomenon, particularly in male-dominated fields such as computer science. This interactive session: 1) will focus on practical solutions departments can effectively implement, including ways of responding to harassment that does not meet the legal threshold but is detrimental to the environment and all involved; and 2) will be based on strategies that are grounded in extensive research from the social-science literature.

6:30 pm - 9:00 pm Dinner and State of the CRA Address


CRA’s Distinguished Service Award to Rick Adrion by Dan Reed (CRA Board Chair)
CRA’s Habermann Award to Richard Ladner by Andrew Bernat (CRA Executive Director)


Dan Reed (CRA Board Chair)
Andrew Bernat (CRA Executive Director)

Tuesday, July 15

7:00 am - 8:30 am Breakfast Buffet
8:30am - 10:00 am PLENARY SESSION III
  Computing Research: A View From DC


Andrew Bernat (CRA)


Jeannette Wing (NSF CISE)

10:00 am - 10:30 am

10:30 am – Noon Workshop III (four parallel sessions)
  1. Communicating the Excitement of CS: K-12 Outreach Practices

Chair and Speaker:

Eric Grimson (MIT)


Marc Snir {ObamaChicTech.wmv}(University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign)
Chris Stephenson (Computer Science Teachers Association)

As many departments struggle with declining or stagnant enrollments in computer science, the mismatch between the wealth of career opportunities for CS graduates and the perception of such opportunities among young people poses a significant challenge. The problem is particularly acute with young women and under-represented minorities. Outreach programs for middle and high school students, aimed at dispelling myths and communicating the excitement and the range of opportunities for CS graduates, is an important element of broadening the pool of potential majors. This session will present and discuss a series of outreach programs.

  2. Innovative Undergraduate Curricula


Mark Guzdial (Georgia Tech)


Merrick Furst (Georgia Tech)
Deepak Kumar {Abstract Art.mpg} (Bryn Mawr)
Lynn Andrea Stein (Franklin W. Olin College)
Andre van der Hoek (UC Irvine)

Students today have a wide variety of choices. Computer science educators are challenged to develop innovative curricula that draw in students (perhaps more broadly than we have before), motivates and retains them, and still prepares them to compete in a global marketplace for research and development. Departments across the country are inventing innovative curricula to meet these challenges. The panel will feature representatives from several of these departments to discuss what they are trying and learning.

  3. Research on a Small Scale

Chair and Speaker:

Karen T. Sutherland (Augsburg College)


Ishwar Sethi (Oakland University)
Holly Yanco (UMass, Lowell)

Session Slides

An increasing number of CS faculty at relatively small universities and colleges are developing research programs. Due to factors such as limited facilities, teaching loads or institutional culture, research projects tend to be "small scale." This panel session will address the contributions that such work makes and/or could make to the research community as well as to the institution, funding opportunities geared toward this sort of research, and problems and pitfalls unique to such a program.

  4. Wikinomics &. Researchnomics: Accelerating CS Research


David Tennenhouse (New Venture Partners, LLC)


Randy Bryant (Carnegie Mellon University)
Sailesh Chutani (Microsoft)
Ron Larsen (University of Pittsburgh)
Larry Peterson (Princeton University)
Alon Halevy (Google)

This panel will discuss the implications of wikinomics, i.e., web-enabled collaboration, for the computing research community. How has the Internets culture of open collaboration/ dissemination impacted the pace of computing research, i.e., is the productivity of our community improving? To what extent has CS research been democratized? What are the success stories and where are the failures? What are the negative implications/risks arising from open collaboration?" Is there a balance to be struck between centralized and distributed research? What are the implications for—and the future role of—intellectual property and the commercialization of CS research? Looking beyond wikinomics, what other opportunities are there to change our business practices and accelerate CS research?

Noon - 1:30 pm Luncheon
1:30 pm - 2:30 pm Hot Topics


David Notkin (University of Washington)
  Wish you had asked a question at a session? Wish you had run a session? Wish you had planned Snowbird? Have something (at least) somewhat related to computing research on your mind? Don’t like the alcohol rules in Utah? If so, the inaugural Hot Topics session is for you. Five-minute blocks (any projector setup is considered as charged time) are available, with comments and opinions that are six sigmas out preferred. Selection is entirely at the discretion of the session chair, who will entertain requests by email and on-site.
2:30pm - 4:00 pm PLENARY SESSION IV
  Computing Community Consortium

Chair and Speaker:

Ed Lazowska (University of Washington)


Randy Bryant (Carnegie Mellon University)
Chip Elliott (BBN)
Susan Graham (UC Berkeley)
Richard Ladner (University of Washington)
  In this plenary we discuss CCC, NetSE, and GENI. Slides from this session are also available here.

CCC -- The Computing Community Consortium -- is a CRA-organized initiative that supports the computing research community in creating compelling research visions and the mechanisms to realize these visions.

NetSE -- Network Science & Engineering -- is one such vision. In short, our networks, broadly interpreted, have evolved to be extremely complex and we do not understand them. Tackling this is a "grand challenge" for our field, for which an inclusive and compelling research agenda is currently being defined.

GENI -- the Global Environment for Network Innovation -- is an effort to design a suite of research instruments to support some of the research opportunities in the NetSE space.

We also discuss other research visioning exercises that are taking place with CCC sponsorship, such as the "Big Data Computing Study Group," "Cyber-Physical Systems," "From Internet to Robotics," and "Visions for Theoretical Computer Science."
5:00pm - 9:00 pm Workshop for IT Deans


Debra Richardson (UC Irvine)

Wednesday, July 16

8:00am - noon Workshop for IT Deans



Conference Sponsors: ACM
Bell Labs (Alcatel-Lucent)
CA Labs
IBM Research
IEEE Computer Society
Intel Corporation
Microsoft Research
Mitsubishi Electric Research Labs
SRI International
Sun Microsystems Inc.
USENIX Association


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