Alumni VR Startup in Forbes

youvisit-founders-2013Abi Mandelbaum, Endri Tolka, and Taher Baderkhan’s startup YOUVISIT is profiled in Forbes as how to bootstrap a successful company without venture capital. The company creates virtual reality visiting experiences for universities and commercial properties, saving people the airfare. All three graduated in Computer Science from Brandeis in 2003.

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David Waltz Summer Research Fellowship

David Waltz, a CS Professor from 1984-1993 passed away in 2012. The department moved to establish an endowed Ph.D. Fellowship in his honor which would broaden participation in AI research.  So far, we only raised enough to endow a summer fellowship. This first summer, the fellowship was awarded to Jessica Lowell, a student working with Prof. Pollack.

jessieWe continue to raise funds for this endowment, from alumni who remember David, as well as the thousands of people in the field of AI who remember him fondly.

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Streambase: Computer Science Senior Field Project

Last semester we again ran the Cosi Senior Field Project, this time with TIBCO. Actually, it was with Streambase, which was recently acquired by TIBCO.

Streambase’s products grew out of “Aurora”, research done here at Brandeis as well as MIT and Brown University. Streambase looks at databases not as static repositories, but as  real time and constantly flowing “streams” of information. With that perspective, you and now do queries and execute triggers on this flow. Suffice it to say that it’s very cool!’

The Senior Field Project is structured is a one semester, four student independent study. The project is defined by the partner organization, in this case Streambase, and usually involves some combination of investigation, ideation, design, prototyping and implementation leading to an on-site presentation of results and deliverables.

Last fall the team of Eden Zik, Sharat Sridhar, Yahui Wang and Artem Malyshev began working with their counterparts at Streambase to sort through some needs and ideas and decide on a project that would be beneficial to all concerned. Continue reading

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Michael Stonebraker wins 2014 Turing Award

This is the second year in a row that the Turing Award recipient has had a Brandeis connection.  Last year, The Association for Computing Machinery named Leslie Lamport, MA ’71, PhD ’72, the recipient of the 2013 Award, an honor widely known as the ‘Nobel of Computing.’   Professor Mitch Cherniack has been a frequent collaborator of this year’s Turing award recipient:  Dr.  Michael Stonebraker, of MIT, working with him on such projects as the Aurora/Borealis stream processing system (commercialized into Streambase and acquired by Tibco), the C-Store column store DBMS (commercialized into Vertica and acquired by HP) and most recently, the Data Tamer data integration system (commercialized into Tamr).

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Brandeis CS Reunion 2015

About 30 people joined us for our annual reunion get together in the Vertica Lounge, going all the way back to our first class of 1975. Click on the photo to go to a Picasa Album of photographs. If it doesn’t work due to Brandeis-Google interference, here is a link to the same album on Facebook.


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Update on pilot Cosi Industry Field Projects

Last semester we kicked off the first pilot of a Computer Science Industry Field Project with Adobe. We’re doing it again this semester, this time with another local company, Streambase.

Final Presentations at Adobe Offices, December 2014

Final Presentations at Adobe Offices, December 2014

Last month, the four students who ran the field project had the opportunity to present their projects to their counterparts at Adobe. There were two projects:

  • A research project to learn the gaps in Adobe product offerings aimed at the educational space. More specifically, the students ran a series of focus groups and developed a series of product mockups around Adobe “PDF”, resulting in a report to Adobe about product usage, feature set and pricing around the family of Adobe “pdf” related products: Reader, Acrobat and
  • A prototyping project to produce a totally alternative way of reading .pdf files on mobile devices. Instead of following the conventional approach where PDFs show up as miniature renderings of a full page, the objective was to provide more useful flexible rendering of the information with a focus on readability and best use of the small screen.

The feedback from Adobe to our students was very positive. Let’s just say that resumes were exchanged, and Adobe was eager to do another similar project with Brandeis students this semester!

Continue to read about the 2015 StreamBase Industry Field Project

Continue reading

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Martin Weiner Lecture in Computer Science: Anita Sarkeesian, Feb. 9th 2015

This event has been cancelled due to Brandeis Closing for Snow. We hope to reschedule it but do not yet have a date and venue.

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Software for Violin Makers

On January 8 and 9, computer science professor Harry Mairson ran a workshop for a group of luthiers (string instrument makers) on using software he is developing for the design and historical analysis of instruments from the violin family.  His software is based on the extraordinary research and book of French luthier François Denis, “Traité de lutherie”, which explains the historical methods of design, founded on classical ideas from architecture and geometry in the tradition of Vitruvius, Alberti, and Palladio.  Denis’s text is a tour de force synthesis of practical lutherie with the history and philosophy of both science and art.

Those luthiers attending the workshop, who heard an extended presentation Harry made on this project at the Violin Society of America this past September, included laureates from the Society’s instrument competitions, the director of a school of violin making, and other accomplished makers.  Computer science undergraduate Eden Zik ’16, who understood the software and programming environment, was a big help to the workshop participants.  The software is intended as a contemporary design tool, as a method for describing the relevant drafting methods (so that luthiers can exchange information on their method, as well as their final product), and to facilitate a greater understanding of the evolution of instrument forms during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Continue reading

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$16M startup competition!

What if you were asked to allocate $16,000,000 among 7 student led projects? Ok, the money was funny, but we suspended disbelief!

On December 15, 2014 students of Cosi 165a – IT Entrepreneurship presented their projects to a panel of experts and an audience of classmates and others of the Brandeis community.

The course, taught by Pito Salas is based on the “Lean Startup” methodology focuses on “getting out of the building” to refine and validate product concepts and design growth models that can lead to sustainable businesses.


The format of the day was that the students were given timed slots of 8 minutes to present as a team the basic business concept, product, user interface, business model and pricing for the ideas. 8 minutes seems like very little but similar pitch event in the industry often limit entrepreneurs to as little as 5 minutes!

And to keep it interesting, the judges were given $16,000,000 (in funny money) to invest in any of the projects that they deemed worthy. No further instructions were given: they could put it all in one, or give each project an equal chunk. They did neither.

Read past the break to see the projects and results. Continue reading

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2014 Brandeis CS Alumni Entrepreneur of the Year

On October 21, we held a Career Fair in conjunction with the Hiatt Center as well as an alumni networking event. We named David Litwack ’68 as our 2014 entrepreneur of the year.

David Litwack ’68 received his BA in Mathematics and worked as a software developer, an executive and a director at numerous companies. He is best known as the founder of Powersoft in 1989, which was acquired in 1995 by Sybase, in one of the largest high-tech mergers at that time.  He went on to found Silverstream Software in 1997, which was acquired by Novell in 2002. Mr. Litwack recently began an entirely new career as a speculative fiction author, and he has published three novels, well reviewed on Amazon.

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