Articles by Jesse Polhemus

Nick DeMarinis Returns To Brown CS As Lecturer


After working hard to make computer science part of his high school courseload, a young Nick DeMarinis was thrilled to end up in an advanced placement CS course in his senior year with a “really kind of eccentric” teacher at the helm. Nick is the most recent hire in the multi-year CS With Impact campaign, the largest expansion in Brown CS history. Having successfully defended his doctoral thesis last September, he’s returning to the department this July as lecturer. 

Look Where Our 2022 Graduates Are Headed!


At last month's Commencement ceremony, Brown CS presented diplomas to 366 undergraduate students, 21.8% of all the undergraduates who graduated from Brown this May. It's the highest number of graduations ever from a single department or school at Brown, and just as it’s been for the last six years, Computer Science is the most popular concentration on campus.

RLDM 2022 Brings Over 500 Reinforcement Learning Researchers To Brown


This week, Brown University hosts the Multi-disciplinary Conference on Reinforcement Learning and Decision Making (RLDM), bringing over 500 of the field’s thought leaders to Providence and demonstrating Brown’s continued status as one of the world’s leading centers for reinforcement learning (RL) research and study. Attendees will include the field's founders, Andy Barto and Rich Sutton, and many others who have made seminal contributions, including Peter Dayan, who in 2017 received a Brain Prize for identifying how RL principles explain the workings of the dopamine system in the brain and its implications for human decision-making and its disorders.

George Konidaris Wins A Salomon Award To Express Prior Knowledge To Reinforcement Learning Agents


Brown CS Professor George Konidaris has just received a Richard B. Salomon Faculty Research Award. This honor, given annually by Brown’s Office of the Vice-President for Research, was established to support excellence in scholarly work by providing funding for selected faculty research projects of exceptional merit with preference given to junior faculty who are in the process of building their research portfolio.

Eli Upfal Gives The 21st Annual Kanellakis Memorial Lecture


The Paris C. Kanellakis Memorial Lecture, a tradition of more than two decades, honors a distinguished computer scientist who was an esteemed and beloved member of the Brown CS community. Paris came to Brown in 1981 and became a full professor in 1990. His research area was theoretical computer science, with emphasis on the principles of database systems, logic in computer science, the principles of distributed computing, and combinatorial optimization. He died in an airplane crash on December 20, 1995, along with his wife, Maria Teresa Otoya, and their two young children, Alexandra and Stephanos Kanellakis.

Zachary Espiritu Wins The Norman K. Meyrowitz '81 Award


Brown University's Department of Computer Science has just announced that Zachary Espiritu, a Brown CS student, SPOC (Systems Programmer, Operator, and Consultant), and one of the four Meta-TAs who coordinate the Undergraduate Teaching Assistant program, has just won the Norman K. Meyrowitz '81 Award. Named for an alum known for his contributions to the department, the award recognizes exceptionally meritorious service to Brown CS and is accompanied by a cash prize of five hundred dollars.

Seny Kamara Delivers "Crypto For The People (Part 2)" At USENIX Enigma '22


Brown CS Professor Seny Kamara's keynote for CRYPTO 2020, "Crypto for the People", which took a critical look at who benefits from cryptography as it currently stands and explores how it can be used to fight oppression and violence, has already received more than 11,000 views. Seny describes it as an atypical keynote that was shaped by his experience of being Black, an immigrant, an applied cryptographer, and in particular, an outsider: one of perhaps only two or three Black cryptographers in the world. Last month, he followed it up with an invited talk ("Crypto for the People (Part 2)") …

Brown CS Remembers Isabel Cruz


Brown CS is mourning the loss of our alum and friend, Isabel Cruz, Distinguished Professor of Computer Science at University of Illinois Chicago (UIC)’s College of Engineering. She passed away on September 19, 2021, following unexpected complications from surgery. Her life partner, Brown Plastech Professor of Computer Science Roberto Tamassia, offers her biography and their shared story on his website, and he expresses his gratitude to Isabel’s many colleagues, mentees, and friends who have sent us their own memories of her, some of which we include below.