UW News

Paul G. Allen School of Computer Science & Engineering


September 13, 2017

UW team shatters long-range communication barrier for devices that consume almost no power

In the long-range backscatter system developed by UW researchers, this sensor uses reflected radio waves to encode and communicate information using almost zero power. It can “talk” to a receiver up to 2.8 km away.

UW researchers have demonstrated for the first time that devices that run on almost zero power can transmit data across distances of up to 2.8 kilometers — breaking a long-held barrier and potentially enabling a vast array of interconnected devices.


September 6, 2017

PupilScreen aims to allow parents, coaches, medics to detect concussion, brain injuries with a smartphone

photo of pupilscreen in use

University of Washington researchers are developing a smartphone app that is capable of objectively detecting concussion and other traumatic brain injuries in the field, which could provide a new level of screening for athletes and accident victims.


August 28, 2017

New app could use smartphone selfies to screen for pancreatic cancer

BiliScreen is a new smartphone app that can screen for pancreatic cancer by having users snap a selfie. It’s shown here with a 3-D printed box that helps control lighting conditions to detect signs of jaundice in a person’s eye.

A new app could lead to earlier detection of pancreatic cancer simply by snapping a smartphone selfie. The disease kills 90 percent of patients within five years, in part because there are no telltale symptoms or non-invasive screening tools to catch a tumor before it spreads.


August 16, 2017

Computer scientists use music to covertly track body movements, activity

A person walking in a straight line.

Researchers at the University of Washington have demonstrated how it is possible to transform a smart device into a surveillance tool that can collect information about the body position and movements of the user, as well as other people in the device’s immediate vicinity. Their approach involves remotely hijacking smart devices to play music embedded with repeating pulses that track a person’s position, body movements, and activities both in the vicinity of the device as well as through walls.


UW professor Franziska Roesner named one of world’s top innovators under 35

A professor smiling

MIT Technology Review has named Franziska Roesner, University of Washington professor of computer science and engineering, one of 35 “Innovators Under 35” for 2017.


August 10, 2017

DNA sequencing tools lack robust protections against cybersecurity risks

UW researchers have demonstrated for the first time that it is possible to remotely compromise a computer using information stored in DNA. This test tube holds hundreds of billions of copies of the exploit code stored in synthetic DNA molecules, which has the potential to compromise a computer system when it is sequenced and processed.

A new UW study finds DNA sequencing tools lack robust cybersecurity protections. In a scientific first, the team also infected a computer with synthesized DNA molecules.


July 11, 2017

Lip-syncing Obama: New tools turn audio clips into realistic video

Reel of Obama photos

A new machine learning tool developed by UW computer vision researchers can create realistic videos from audio files alone – including speeches by President Barack Obama.


July 5, 2017

First battery-free cellphone makes calls by harvesting ambient power

UW engineers have designed the first battery-free cellphone that can send and receive calls using only a few microwatts of power

UW engineers have designed the first battery-free cellphone that can send and receive calls using only a few microwatts of power, which it harvests from ambient radio signals or light. It’s a major step forward in moving beyond chargers, cords and dying phones.


June 8, 2017

Wide-Open accelerates release of scientific data by automatically identifying overdue datasets

graph showing papers released after WideOpen

WideOpen is a new open-source tool developed at the UW to help advance open science by automatically detecting datasets that are overdue for publication. Already, more than 400 datasets have been made public as a result.


June 2, 2017

Catching the IMSI-catchers: SeaGlass brings transparency to cell phone surveillance

Image of suspicious cell site signal patterns

University of Washington security researchers have developed a new system called SeaGlass to detect anomalies in the cellular landscape that can indicate where and when cell phone surveillance devices are being used.


May 10, 2017

Kids, parents alike worried about privacy with internet-connected toys

barbie-cropped

University of Washington researchers have conducted a new study that explores the attitudes and concerns of both parents and children who play with internet-connected toys. Through a series of in-depth interviews and observations, the researchers found that kids didn’t know their toys were recording their conversations, and parents generally worried about their children’s privacy when they played with the toys.


May 2, 2017

Period tracking apps failing users in basic ways, study finds

Screenshots of pink, flowery apps

A new study finds that smartphone apps to track menstrual cycles often disappoint users with a lack of accuracy, assumptions about sexual identity or partners, and an emphasis on pink and flowery form over function and customization.


April 24, 2017

Scientific discovery game significantly speeds up neuroscience research process

Mozak screenshot

Mozak, a new scientific discovery game from the UW team that created Foldit, is allowing video gamers and citizen scientists to speed up a fundamental task in brain science: reconstructing the intricate architecture of brain neurons.


April 19, 2017

Two UW faculty named to American Academy of Arts and Sciences

Two University of Washington faculty members are among the leaders from academia, business, philanthropy, humanities and the arts elected as 2017 fellows of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, one of the nation’s oldest and most prestigious honorary societies.


March 9, 2017

$50M endowment establishes the Paul G. Allen School of Computer Science & Engineering at the University of Washington

The University of Washington has established the new school in recognition of Allen’s longstanding support of CSE and the UW.

A $50 million endowment for the newly established Paul G. Allen School of Computer Science & Engineering will propel the UW to the forefront of computer science education and innovation for generations to come.


March 1, 2017

Singing posters and talking shirts: UW engineers turn everyday objects into FM radio stations

photo of poster broadcasting music

A new technique pioneered by University of Washington engineers enables “singing” posters and “smart” clothing to send audio or data directly to your car’s radio or your smartphone by piggybacking on ambient FM radio signals.


February 23, 2017

UW CSE announces the Guestrin Endowed Professorship in Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning

Photo of Carlos Guestrin

University of Washington Computer Science & Engineering announced today the establishment of the Guestrin Endowed Professorship in Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning. This $1 million endowment will further enhance UW CSE’s ability to recruit and retain the world’s most outstanding faculty members in these burgeoning areas.


February 21, 2017

Three UW scientists awarded Sloan Fellowships for early-career research

campus-TILE

Three faculty members at the University of Washington have been awarded early-career fellowships from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. The new Sloan Fellows, announced Feb. 21, include Ali Farhadi, assistant professor of computer science and engineering; Emily Levesque, assistant professor of astronomy; and John Tuthill, assistant professor of physiology and biophysics.


February 16, 2017

New UW Computer Science & Engineering building receives $5M gift from Charles and Lisa Simonyi

rendering of student commons

Longtime philanthropists Charles and Lisa Simonyi have given a second Computer Science & Engineering (CSE) building on the University of Washington’s Seattle campus a major boost with a $5 million gift.


February 1, 2017

New route-finding map lets Seattle pedestrians avoid hills, construction, accessibility barriers

AccessMap provides customized directions for Seattle pedestrians and wheelchair users looking to avoid hills, construction sites and other accessibility barriers. In this example, Access Map routes users trying to reach Seattle City Hall via Pike Street rather than directly up steep Seneca Street.

AccessMap – a University of Washington project spearheaded by the Taskar Center for Accessible Technology — launched a new online travel planner offering customizable suggestions for people who need accessible or pedestrian-friendly routes when getting from point A to B in Seattle.


January 10, 2017

Two UW professors win Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers

Emily Fox and Catherine Karr

Two University of Washington professors have received the 2017 Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers, the highest honor given by the U.S. government to early career scientists and engineers.


Zillow Group pledges $5 million for new UW Computer Science & Engineering building

rendering of Zillow Commons event space

Zillow Group, the Seattle-based company that houses real estate and home-related brands on mobile and web, has committed $5 million toward the development of a second Computer Science & Engineering (CSE) building on the UW Seattle campus.


December 7, 2016

Volunteers hack toys for children with disabilities at UW Dec. 11

photo of person adapting a toy train

At the Hack for Access: Holiday Toy event on Dec. 11 and the UW, community volunteers will disassemble and rewire toys to make them more accessible for children with disabilities.


December 5, 2016

No peeking: Humans play computer game using only direct brain stimulation

The UW researchers used a magnetic coil placed at the back of the skull to noninvasively stimulate test subjects’ brains. Players used the absence or presence of phosphenes — blobs of light that appear when researchers stimulate a specific region of the visual cortex — to guide them through a maze without actually seeing the maze.

UW researchers have published the first demonstration of humans playing a simple, two-dimensional computer game using only input from direct brain stimulation — without relying on any usual sensory cues from sight, hearing or touch.


November 30, 2016

What makes Bach sound like Bach? New dataset teaches algorithms classical music

MusicNet is a new publicly available dataset from UW CSE and statistics researchers that “labels” each note of a classical composition in ways that can teach machine learning algorithms about the basic structure of music.

MusicNet is the first publicly available large-scale classical music dataset designed to allow machine learning algorithms to tackle everything from automated music transcription to listening recommendations based on the structure of music itself.


October 26, 2016

For the first time in humans, researchers use brain surface stimulation to provide ‘touch’ feedback to direct movement

CSNE M.D./Ph.D. student and GRIDLab member David Caldwell tests the hardware used for stimulating and recording a patient’s brain surface, along with a cyber glove to track hand joint angles and finger motions.

For the first time in humans, UW Center for Sensorimotor Neural Engineering (CSNE) researchers have used direct stimulation of the human brain surface to provide basic sensory feedback through artificial electrical signals, enabling patients to control movement while opening and closing their hand.


October 24, 2016

Turning your living room into a wireless charging station

graphic of wireless power delivery system

A flat-screen panel that resembles a TV on your living room wall could one day remotely charge any device within its line of sight, according to new research from UW and Duke University engineers.


October 21, 2016

Research in complex computational problems snares Packard honors for UW’s Thomas Rothvoss

UW assistant professor Thomas Rothvoss.

The David and Lucile Packard Foundation has awarded a prestigious fellowship to University of Washington assistant professor Thomas Rothvoss to fuel his passion to balance precision and efficiency in complex mathematical calculations. The Packard Foundation Fellowships for Science and Engineering honor early-career academics pursuing innovative research in all fields of science and engineering. “It’s a…


October 19, 2016

Popular Science picks DNA data storage project for 2016 ‘Best of What’s New’ Award

Lee Organick, a UW computer science and engineering research scientist, mixes DNA samples for storage. Each tube contains a digital file, which might be a picture of a cat or a Tchaikovsky symphony.

A technique to store and retrieve digital data in DNA developed by University of Washington and Microsoft researchers is one of the most innovative and game-changing technologies of the year, according to Popular Science’s 2016 “Best of What’s New” Awards.


October 6, 2016

CSE gets major boost with $10 million donation from Amazon

The new 130,000-square-foot UW CSE building will provide space for the University of Washington to double the number of computer science and engineering graduates annually.

Amazon is giving a major push to the campaign to build a second Computer Science & Engineering building on the University of Washington campus with a $10 million gift, the university announced Thursday. “Our state’s economy — and the world’s economy — depends on innovation and on innovators. UW graduates with skills in computer science…


September 27, 2016

Secure passwords can be sent through your body, instead of air

photo of on body system

UW engineers have devised a way to send secure passwords through the human body, instead of over the air where they’re vulnerable to hacking.


September 8, 2016

Life after Fitbit: Appealing to those who feel guilty vs. free

Is life better or worse after sticking your Fitbit in a drawer? UW researchers surveyed hundreds of people who had abandoned self-tracking tools and found emotions ranged from guilt to indifference to relief that the tracking experience was over.

Is life better or worse after sticking your Fitbit in a drawer? UW researchers surveyed hundreds of people who had abandoned self-tracking tools and found emotions ranged from guilt to indifference to relief that the tracking experience was over.


September 7, 2016

HemaApp screens for anemia, blood conditions without needle sticks

Photo of HemaApp illuminating a patient's finger

UW engineers have developed HemaApp, which uses a smartphone camera to estimate hemoglobin concentrations and screen for anemia without sticking patients with needles.


August 17, 2016

Interscatter communication enables first-ever implanted devices, smart contact lenses, credit cards that ‘talk’ Wi-Fi

photo of three devices used in experiment

“Interscatter” communication developed by UW engineers allows power-limited devices such as brain implants, contact lenses, credit cards and smaller wearable electronics to talk to everyday devices such as smartphones and watches.


August 15, 2016

Unearthing trackers of the past: UW computer scientists reveal the history of third-party web tracking

security camera

At the USENIX Security Conference in Austin, Texas, a team of University of Washington researchers on Aug. 12 presented the first-ever comprehensive analysis of third-party web tracking across three decades and a new tool, TrackingExcavator, which they developed to extract and analyze tracking behaviors on a given web page. They saw a four-fold increase in third-party tracking on top sites from 1996 to 2016, and mapped the growing complexity of trackers stretching back decades.


July 21, 2016

Imaging software predicts how you look with different hair styles, colors, appearances

These examples show a single input photo (left) and Dreambit's automatically synthesized appearances of the input photo with "curly hair" (top row), in "India" (2nd row), and at "1930" (3rd row).

A personalized image search engine developed by a University of Washington researcher lets a person imagine how they would look a with different a hairstyle, if they lived in a different time period or any other appearance change that can be synthesized with internet photos.


July 8, 2016

Researchers show phone calls can forecast dengue fever outbreaks

Predictions from the research team's model about where dengue fever cases would appear based on phone calls (in red) closely track suspected dengue cases actually reported by Pakistani hospitals (in black).

A UW computer science and engineering doctoral student has helped develop a system that can forecast the outbreak of dengue fever by simply analyzing the calling behavior of citizens to a public-health hotline.


July 7, 2016

UW, Microsoft researchers break record for DNA data storage

photo of researchers

University of Washington and Microsoft researchers have broken what they believe is the world record for the amount of digital data successfully stored — and retrieved — in DNA molecules by encoding, among other things, an OK Go video.


June 23, 2016

How well do facial recognition algorithms cope with a million strangers?

photo of images in MegaFace gallery

University of Washington computer scientists have launched the “MegaFace Challenge,” the world’s first competition aimed at evaluating and improving the performance of face recognition algorithms at the million person scale.


June 21, 2016

UW-led team awarded $1M bioelectronics innovation prize

diagram of how device works

An international team led by researchers at the Center for Sensorimotor Neural Engineering (CSNE) based at the University of Washington is one of three finalists in a race to produce an implantable wireless device that can assess, stimulate and block the activity of nerves that control organs.



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