Fei-Fei Li ’99, along with Princeton colleagues, has built the world’s largest visual database in an effort to mimic the human vision system, according to a report by John Markoff in The New York Times.

“With more than 14 million labeled objects, from obsidian to orangutans to ocelots, the database has become a vital resource for computer vision researchers,” Markoff writes.

Kai Li, Paul M. Wythes ’55, P’86 and Marcia R. Wythes P’86 Professor of Computer Science at Princeton, is a collaborator. Fei-Fei Li, now an associate professor at Stanford, earned her undergraduate degree in physics from Princeton in 1999. She earned her PhD from Caltech in 1995 and was an assistant professor of computer science at Princeton from 2007 to 2009.

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Purple America 2012 3D
MIT Technology Review
this week highlights Robert Vanderbeis 3D Purple America map, a nuanced visualization of the 2012 presidential election showing the proportion of people who voted Democrat or Republican, county by county, as a gradient between blue and red. The height of the horizontal bars indicates how many voters are in each county.

Vanderbei’s Purple America website also features an animated gif showing the evolution of the nation’s electoral complexion from 1960 to 2008.

Vanderbei, a professor of operations research and financial engineering, built his first Purple America map after the 2000 presidential election.

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Akamai, the leading company in the field of cloud computing, announced this week it has acquired Verivue, a company that relies on a private content delivery network invented at Princeton.

Verivue’s infrastructure is largely built around a system designed by CoBlitz, a company that grew out of a Princeton research project for handling the distribution of rich online content like video without overloading network servers. Verivue acquired CoBlitz in 2010.

The co-inventors of the CoBlitz system are Princeton computer science professors Vivek Pai and Larry Peterson along with KyoungSoo Park, who earned his PhD from Princeton in 2007. Park, whose dissertation focused on CoBlitz, is now an associate professor at KAIST, in South Korea.

Pai, Park, and Peterson are co-founders of the company along with Marc Fiuczynski, a former researcher at Princeton, and Patrick Richardson, who graduated from Princeton in 2006 with a degree in electrical engineering.

Tom Leighton, who graduated in 1978 from Princeton with a degree in computer science and electrical engineering, is the co-founder and chief scientist of Akamai.

CoBlitz inventors from left to right: Larry Peters, KyoungSoo Park, and Vivek Pai. Photo by Mark Czajkowski.

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American Mathematical Society

Princeton Engineering professors Philip Holmes and William Massey have been named to the inaugural class of Fellows of the American Mathematical Society, the world’s largest and most influential society dedicated to mathematical research, scholarship, and education.

Holmes is the Eugene Higgins Professor of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering. Massey is Edwin S. Wilsey Professor of Operations Research and Financial Engineering.

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Second Avenue SubwayPhil Rice ’77 and Eve Glazer ’06 are coming to the Princeton campus to give their firsthand perspective of construction on the Second Avenue Subway project, New York City’s largest expansion of the subway system in more than 50 years. When completed, it will provide a new line on the east side of Manhattan.

Princeton’s student chapter of the American Society of Civil Engineers is sponsoring the talk, which will take place on Nov. 13 in Friend 008. The talk begins at 4:30 p.m. Rice and Glazer are part of the Parsons Brinckerhoff construction management team.

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One of the first satellites designed to provide space-based digital radio service to consumers in North America was recently donated  to the Smithsonian. The Sirius FM-4 broadcasting satellite was built as a flight-ready back-up for a constellation of three satellites manufactured by Space Systems/Loral. The FM-4 satellite will be on display in the James S. McDonnell Space Hangar of the National Air and Space Museum’s Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center.

“We are honored that our FM-4 satellite will help the National Air and Space Museum tell the story of modern satellite communications and its powerful impact on everyday life,” said Princeton engineering alumnus Robert Briskman, a co-founder of SiriusXM. “Satellite radio now takes its place as one of the great innovations of our time to inspire the next generation of broadcasters.”

Briskman graduated from Princeton in 1954 with a degree in electrical engineering.

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Art of Science Liberty Science Center

A special Princeton Art of Science traveling show, consisting of 44 images chosen from the more than 250 images exhibited during the competition’s first five years, opened last month at Liberty Science Center. The traveling show was selected by celebrated photographer Emmet Gowin and Joel Smith, former curator of photography at the Princeton Art Museum.

The exhibit will be on display at Liberty Science Center through the end of August, when it will travel to other venues. More photos of the exhibit here.

The exhibit was made possible through the generosity of the David A. Gardner ’69 Fund in the Council of the Humanities and the School of Engineering and Applied Science at Princeton University. Photo by Ellen Lynch.

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engineering rankings 2012-13


The Times Higher Education has just issued its list of top 50 engineering schools for 2012-13, and Princeton’s School of Engineering is ranked number 2, after Caltech and ahead of MIT, University of California-Berkeley, and Stanford.

Princeton Engineering was ranked number 3 in last year’s line-up.

When making its rankings, the publication says it takes into consideration a school’s core missions: teaching, research, knowledge transfer and international outlook.

See the full list here.

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Former Princeton computer science grad student Timothy Lee interviewed Ed Felten of the Center for Information Technology Policy about his time as the Federal Trade Commission‘s first Chief Technologist. The piece has the provocative title of “Geeks are from Mars Wonks are from Venus.” Read the full ars technica piece here.

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Networked Life by Mung Chiang

Cambridge University Press this month has released a new book by Mung Chiang titled Networked Life: 20 Questions and Answers. Driven by twenty real-world questions — from how Google figures out what to charge for ads to why Skype and BitTorrent don’t cost you a cent — this book pulls back the curtain on the Internet and explains the hidden guts of our networked lives.

The book quickly became the Number 1 Bestseller both in engineering and in networking on Amazon when it was released; at one point it ranked 322 of all books.

In other news, today marks the start of Chiang’s Coursera class, “Networks: Friends, Money and Bytes.” An article by Daily Princetonian‘s Rebecca Zhang says that Chiang is encouraging his 40,000 Coursera students to write blog posts and contribute to what he said he hopes will become an archival-quality wiki. In the process, Zhang says, Chiang intends to crowd-source the writing of a companion textbook based on the wiki contributions.

The Prince story offers a lot more on Chiang’s game plan for the Coursera class and also talks about two other online Princeton Engineering courses:  David Wentzlaff‘s on computer architecture and the algorithms course by Robert Sedgewick and Kevin Wayne.

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