UW Today

News releases


December 14, 2015

UW Board of Regents approves new Master of Science in Data Science for professionals

The northern and western provinces are divided into cells (the smallest administrative unit of the country), and the cell is shaded according to the average (predicted) wealth of all mobile subscribers in that cell. The southern province is overlaid with a Voronoi diagram that uses geographic identifiers in the call data to divide the region into several hundred thousand small partitions, which each may be as small as a household or a microvillage.

The UW will offer a new Master of Science in Data Science program to provide students with advanced technical expertise in managing, modeling and visualizing big data to meet the growing needs of industry and research.


Seattle’s Ballard is ripe for green-space restoration, new report says

A vacant lot at Northwest 65th Street and 7th Avenue Northwest in the West Woodland section of Ballard.

A University of Washington graduate student saw green-starved Ballard as an opportunity to call attention to areas in the neighborhood that have restoration potential. Her new report, the “Ballard Green Spaces Project,” identifies 55 sites that could be restored as natural areas for people and wildlife, increasing the neighborhood’s total amount of accessible green spaces.


History meets geography: James Gregory’s collaborative digital project tracks key 20th century social movements

James Gregory

UW historian James Gregory’s new collaborative digital project, “Mapping American Social Movements through the 20th Century” uses data visualization and interactive maps to depict the progress of various social movements — with more to come.


December 10, 2015

Trees either hunker down or press on in a drying and warming western U.S. climate

Trembling aspen.

Two University of Washington researchers have uncovered details of the radically divergent strategies that two common tree species employ to cope with drought in southwestern Colorado. As they report in a new paper in the journal Global Change Biology, one tree species shuts down production and conserves water, while the other alters its physiology to continue growing and using water.


December 9, 2015

Iceland volcano’s eruption shows how sulfur particles influence clouds

lava and big emission plume

The long, slow 2014 eruption of Iceland’s Bardarbunga volcano offers a testbed to show how sulfur emissions, from volcanoes or humans, act to brighten clouds and reflect more sunlight.


December 8, 2015

Treasured faculty member and theater professional, Sarah Nash Gates, loses battle with cancer

Sarah Nash Gates, former director of the UW School of Drama, died on Dec. 4.

The College of Arts & Sciences at the University of Washington is saddened to lose one of its most prominent faculty members and a longtime leader in the Seattle theater community, Sarah Nash Gates. Gates passed away on Friday evening, December 4, surrounded by family and close friends.


December 7, 2015

What makes Tom Hanks look like Tom Hanks?

UW researchers reconstructed have 3-D models of celebrities such as Tom Hanks from  Internet photo collections. The models can be controlled by photos or videos of another person.

UW researchers have reconstructed 3-D models of celebrities such as Tom Hanks from large Internet photo collections. The model can deliver speeches that the real actor never performed – one step toward developing fully interactive digital personas of people from family or historic photo collections.


December 4, 2015

UW project focuses on fines and fees that create ‘prisoners of debt’

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Criminals are meant to pay their debts to society through sentencing, but a different type of court-imposed debt can tie them to the criminal justice system for life and impact their ability to move forward with their lives. Though debtors’ prisons were eliminated in the United States almost two centuries ago, a modern-day version exists…


December 3, 2015

Citizen-science climate project adds logs from historic Arctic whaling ships

handwritten pages with whale sketches

A citizen science project that asks volunteers to transcribe historic ships’ logbooks to uncover data about past Arctic climate has added logbooks from hundreds of whaling ships. The hunters’ handwritten logs will provide new clues about the history of Arctic climate and sea ice.


December 2, 2015

Vessel speed biggest factor in noise affecting killer whales

Digital acoustic recording tags temporarily attached to killer whales measured vessel noise reaching the whales.

The speed of vessels operating near endangered killer whales in Washington is the most influential factor – more so than vessel size – in how much noise from the boats reaches the whales, according to a new study published today in the online journal PLOS ONE.


December 1, 2015

Washington state home prices up, sales down in third quarter of 2015

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Home sale prices increased but sales themselves were fewer in Washington state in the third quarter of 2015, according to the Runstad Center for Real Estate Studies in the UW’s College of Built Environments.


UW roboticists learn to teach robots from babies

photos of gaze experiments

A collaboration between University of Washington developmental psychologists and computer scientists has demonstrated that robots can “learn” much like babies – by experiencing the world and eventually imitating humans.


November 30, 2015

UW researchers estimate poverty and wealth from cell phone metadata

The northern and western provinces are divided into cells (the smallest administrative unit of the country), and the cell is shaded according to the average (predicted) wealth of all mobile subscribers in that cell. The southern province is overlaid with a Voronoi diagram that uses geographic identifiers in the call data to divide the region into several hundred thousand small partitions, which each may be as small as a household or a microvillage.

In developing or war-ravaged countries where government censuses are few and far between, gathering data for public services or policymaking can be difficult, dangerous or near-impossible. Big data is, after all, mainly a First World opportunity. But cell towers are easier to install than telephone land lines, even in such challenged areas, and mobile or…


November 25, 2015

University of Washington receives gold sustainability rating from STARS

STARS-gold

The University of Washington is among the most sustainable schools in North America, according to the Sustainability Tracking, Assessment and Rating System (STARS).


November 23, 2015

AAAS names four UW researchers as fellows

campus-TILE

Four University of Washington researchers are among 347 new fellows of the American Association for the Advancement of Science for 2015.


November 19, 2015

Sequencing algae’s genome may aid biofuel production

Chrysochromulina tobin

University of Washington scientists have sequenced the complete genetic makeup of a species of ecologically important algae, which may aid in biofuel production.


November 18, 2015

University of Washington signing White House climate pledge

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The University of Washington has joined schools across the country in signing on to a White House climate pledge. The pledge is part of the Nov. 19 White House and Higher Education Climate Day of Action. The White House and the State Department will bring together leaders from higher education institutions to call for action…


Popular Science names ‘Power Over Wi-Fi’ one of the year’s game-changing technologies

Photo of device

The Power Over Wi-Fi (PoWiFi) system developed by UW engineers is one of the most innovative and game-changing technologies of the year, according to Popular Science, which included it in the magazine’s annual “Best of What’s New” awards announced this week.


November 17, 2015

New report outlines Puget Sound region’s future under climate change

ferry with mountains

A new report by the University of Washington synthesizes all the relevant research about the future of the Puget Sound region to paint a picture of what to expect in the coming decades, and how to prepare.


November 16, 2015

UW team refrigerates liquids with a laser for the first time

Photo of crystal

Since the first laser was invented in 1960, they’ve always given off heat. University of Washington researchers are the first to solve a decades-old puzzle — figuring out how to make a laser refrigerate water and other liquids.


Microbes that are key indicators of Puget Sound’s health in decline

A variety of foraminifera (or forams) — single-celled, marine organisms that live on the sea floor. UW Burke Museum researchers have found forams in Washington’s Bremerton and Bellingham Bay waters have declined in health and numbers, even when chemical testing of the waters fall within healthy limits.

Paleontologists with the University of Washington’s Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture find that tiny organisms called foraminifera have a big story to tell about the health of Puget Sound. Two recent studies about the health of Bellingham Bay and inlets in the Bremerton area found the diversity and number of foraminifera — single-celled marine organisms that live on the sea floor — deteriorated significantly. The decline of these microscopic organisms is consistent with the deterioration of snails and other larger marine animals, even though analysis showed a reduction of chemical pollutants in Bellingham Bay and Bremerton over the same period of time.


November 13, 2015

Industry leaders gather at first ever University of Washington Innovation Summit in Shanghai

Speakers at the University of Washington’s inaugural Innovation Summit, held November 13 in Shanghai, China. From left: Adina Mangubat, Jiande Chen, Chris Gregoire, Ralph Haupter, Ana Mari Cauce, Yuan Ming, Vikram Jandhyala, Shwetak Patel, Gina Neff and Ben Waters. (Not pictured: Wang Jian)

The University of Washington held its first ever Innovation Summit today in Shanghai, China. The event brought together industry leaders from China and the United States, who discussed how they are turning ideas into impact, connecting academia to industry and helping solve the world’s most pressing problems.


November 12, 2015

UW Regents approve contract for President Ana Mari Cauce

Ana Mari Cauce

At its regular meeting today, the University of Washington Board of Regents approved a five-year contract for president Ana Mari Cauce.


Pacific Lutheran University signals intent to sell KPLU 88.5 FM to UW’s KUOW

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Pacific Lutheran University and the University of Washington announced today PLU’s intent to sell its broadcasting rights and facilities associated with KPLU to KUOW.


Oceans — and ocean activism — deserve broader role in climate change discussions

Joshua Cinner, at Australia's James Cook University, interviews fishermen in Papua New Guinea about adapting to changing social and environmental conditions.

When President Barack Obama visited the shrinking Exit Glacier in September, he pointed to a very obvious sign of our warming planet literally at his feet. Less visible, but perhaps more indelible, signs of changing climate lie in the oceans. A University of Washington researcher argues in the journal Science that people — including world…


From garden to gut: New book from UW’s David Montgomery explores an unfolding scientific revolution

The Hidden Half cover

A new book by University of Washington geologist David Montgomery weaves history, science and personal challenges into an exploration of humanity’s tangled relationship with microbes, perhaps the least loved and most misunderstood creatures on Earth — and in you. “The Hidden Half of Nature: The Microbial Roots of Life and Health” comes out Nov. 16…


November 11, 2015

UW, NASA measure rain and snowfall to gauge new precipitation satellite

clouds on water

With high-tech weather radars, weather balloons, ground instruments and NASA’s DC-8 flying laboratory, scientists will be watching rain and snow storms on Washington’s famously wet Olympic Peninsula.


November 9, 2015

UW and Tsinghua University announce dual degree program through the Global Innovation Exchange

Agreement signing

The University of Washington and Tsinghua University have agreed to launch an integrated dual degree program through the Global Innovation Exchange (GIX) that combines project-based learning in design thinking, technology development and entrepreneurship.


November 4, 2015

Krispy Kreme crack and luxury food fever: new book links overeating to consumer culture

Overeating

In an era of Fitbits, Skinnygirl margaritas and kale mania, isn’t overeating simply a failure of willpower, an unwillingness or inability to make good choices? It’s not that simple, says Kima Cargill, a professor of clinical psychology at the University of Washington in Tacoma. In her new book “The Psychology of Overeating,” Cargill places the…


November 3, 2015

Life, enhanced: UW professors study legal, social complexities of an augmented reality future

A mockup of an augmented reality mobile phone using a curved LED screen that renders augmented reality data for the wearer/user from cameras mounted on one or both sides.

A report from the interdisciplinary UW Tech Policy Lab on the challenges of augmented reality suggests such systems should be adaptable to change, resistant to hacking and responsive to the needs of diverse users.


November 2, 2015

Children’s self-esteem already established by age 5, new study finds

stock photo of children dressed as superheroes

By age 5 children have a sense of self-esteem comparable in strength to that of adults, according to a new study by University of Washington researchers.


UW to co-lead West Coast ‘Big Data brain trust’ for NSF

Logo_eScience-stacked (002) copy

The National Science Foundation has selected the University of Washington, along with the University of California, San Diego and the University of California, Berkeley, to co-lead one of four Big Data Regional Innovation Hubs around the country.


October 29, 2015

UW scientists are the first to simulate 3-D exotic clouds on an exoplanet

Artistic depiction of exoplanet GJ1214b.

A nearby exoplanet has an atmosphere that might be similar to Earth’s before life evolved. In an attempt to simulate the structure of this exoplanet’s atmosphere, UW researchers became the first to simulate three-dimensional exotic clouds on another world.


October 28, 2015

Alaskan trout choose early retirement over risky ocean-going career

dolly varden trout

A new study in Ecology shows that Alaskan Dolly Varden trout, once they reach about 12 inches in length, can retire permanently from going to sea. They rely on digestive organs that can massively expand and contract and a unique relationship with sockeye salmon.


October 27, 2015

UW initiative aims to tackle city, region’s most pressing urban issues

In September 2015, Urban@UW co-organized NextSeattle, a four-day boot camp bringing together teams of students to tackle urban challenges in the University District.

When Thaisa Way put a call out last spring to see if University of Washington faculty members working on urban issues wanted to join forces, she wasn’t sure what the response would be. “There were a lot of people who said, ‘You’re not going to get anyone to show up,’” said Way, a UW associate…


October 22, 2015

UW Tacoma historian Michael Honey’s film about Rev. James Lawson to screen locally

Rev. James Lawson

UW historian Michael Honey and filmmaker Errol Webber have produced a documentary about the life of Methodist minister and civil rights activist Rev. James Lawson that will be screened in Tacoma on Oct. 28, Seattle on Oct. 29


New UW model helps zero in on harmful genetic mutations

gene splicing illustration

By more accurately predicting how variations in DNA sequences affect gene splicing, a new UW model and publicly available Web tool can help narrow down which genetic mutations cause disease and which have little effect on a person’s health.


October 21, 2015

Gear, not geoducks, impacts ecosystem if farming increases

Geoduck clams after harvesting.

The equipment used to farm geoducks, including PVC pipes and nets, might have a greater impact on the Puget Sound food web than the addition of the clams themselves. That’s one of the findings of the first major scientific study to examine the broad, long-term ecosystem effects of geoduck aquaculture in Puget Sound.


UW autism expert helped shape new ‘Sesame Street’ initiative

"Sesame Street" character Abby Cadabby, right, is part of the new See Amazing in All Children campaign.

During its almost half-century on television, “Sesame Street” has tackled thorny issues ranging from divorce to death, food insecurity and parental incarceration. The show is now turning its attention to autism, and a University of Washington expert played a pivotal role in the effort. Wendy Stone, director of the UW’s Research in Early Autism Detection and Intervention…


October 20, 2015

UW study: Will Puget Sound’s population spike under climate change?

Seattle panorama at night

A UW graduate student’s research paper is the first serious study of whether climate change is likely to cause human migration to the Puget Sound region.



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