Weekly Memo

March 17, 2014

Dear members of the Hajim School community:

    Here's a great project that exemplifies so much of what we're trying to accomplish here at the Hajim School. To help vocal students learn how to sing vowels, a team of students in Asst. Prof. Ehsan Hoque's human-computer interaction class in Computer Science came up with a novel application. It generates an oval-shaped representation of a student's vowel sound -- on a laptop screen, for example -- as the student practices the sound, and compares it to a similar visualization of the teacher singing the sound. When the program establishes that the student has matched the teacher's vowel sounds, it changes the color of the oval, providing instant visual feedback. The students can quickly see how slight changes in the shape of their mouth, or the position of their tongue lead to changes in the displayed oval shape and therefore in the vowel they are singing. That's impressive in itself (you can learn more by watching this video). I'm also encouraged by the interdisciplinary nature of this: An Eastman School faculty member, reading about Ehsan's interest in human-computer interaction, contacted him, was invited to the class, and things started rolling from there. Congratulations to the students -- and to Ehsan, who was teaching his first class here.

    I'm always urging Hajim School students to study abroad, so I would be remiss if I did not extend a warm welcome to six students from overseas who are doing their study abroad at the Hajim School. Isadora Ribeiro Chiquetto, from the Brazil Scientific Mobility Program, is studying in Chemical Engineering. Chi Man "Martin" Wong from Macau Honours College, Abdelrhman Eldallal from American University in Cairo, and Maria del Carmen Aguilar from Pontificia Universidad Catolica del Peru (PUCP), are studying in Computer Science. And Chon Lam "Ron" Lio from Macau Honours College and Hans Miguel Camacho Raygada from PUCP are studying in Electrical and Computer Engineering. To help ensure these students feel connected to the Hajim School and Rochester community, Rohan Palma, our new Study Abroad academic advisor, is meeting with them regularly. And thanks to Jim Zavislan, our Associate Dean of Education and New Initiatives -- and his family -- for recently hosting a dinner for these students at his home.

  Congratulations to these Hajim School faculty, students and alumni:

    Arrvindh Shriraman '11 (Ph.D., Computer Science) and Sandhya Dwarkadas and Michael L. Scott, both Professors of Computer Science, have been awarded a patent for a "Mechanism to Support Flexible Decoupled Transactional Memory,"  The mechanism makes visible the conflicts between transactions on different multiprocessor cores, so that software (rather than hardware) can choose which to commit and which to abort.

     Two ChemE students are among the members of our women's swimming and diving teams who are competing at the NCAA Division III National Championships this week in  Indianapolis. Lauren Bailey, a junior, will be part of five of the seven events UR swimmers are competing in -- the 100- and 200-yard butterfly in addition to three relays. Lauren will swim the butterfly leg on the 200- and 400-medley relays along with one of the four legs of the 200 freestyle relay. Danielle Neu, a freshman, will compete in the one- and three-meter diving events.

     Tim Talley ’88 (Electrical Engineering) successfully pitched his start-up, U-Lace, during the Shark Tank episode that aired  March 7.  The ABC business-themed reality show features self-made multi-millionaires who give budding entrepreneurs "the chance to make their dreams come true and potentially secure business deals that could make them millionaires." Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban agreed to give Talley a $200,000 investment for 35 percent of the company.

      Latest graduate school rankings from U.S. News and World Report put the Hajim School 37th among graduate engineering schools, compared to 38th last year. Let's continue that upward trend!

        "Developing a Business Plan," the second of three workshops leading up to this year's Mark Ain Business Model Competition, offered through the Center for Entrepreneurship, has been rescheduled for 4-5:15 p.m. Thursday, March 27 in Schlegel 207. Click here to register. Hajim School students have done quite well in this competition; you can learn more about it here.
        As always, keep me updated and have a great week.


Robert L. Clark
Professor and Dean