Category Archives: Computer Science

Reimagining computer science in the curriculum | | Microsoft EDU – Microsoft

As digital transformation accelerates due to the pandemic, its more important than ever to ensure that students across the globe get access to engaging, relevant, and high-quality computer science learning experiences at school.

In many countries, students perceive computer science as difficult and not relevant to their lives or career aspirations. This is particularly acute among young women and girls, with women representing only 19 percent of computer science graduates from bachelors programs in the US, according to the National Science Foundation.1 This picture is similar around the world.

At the same time, job opportunities in computer science are growing, with the World Economic Forum estimating that 97 million new jobs will arise by 2025 in areas such as data science, artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning, and the Internet of Things (IoT).2

Education systems are looking at ways to enhance computer science education throughout student learning pathways, from primary to upper-secondary. We hear from education leaders across the globe that they are keen to include cutting-edge topics like AI and data science in curriculum, but that constant change and innovation in technology makes it challenging to keep current.

In response, Microsoft is aiming to help bridge the gap by launching our new Microsoft Computer Science Curriculum Toolkit. The toolkit is a set of materials that can help education leaders rethink curriculum, by explaining the rationale for change and setting out key learning objectives and guiding materials for kindergarten through grade 12.

The curriculum objectives are based on a set of big ideas that students are encouraged to explore using problem-solving skills and that are aligned to the global challenges of the UN Sustainable Development Goals. We have taken this approach because research has shown that students are more motivated about computer science when we demonstrate how it can be harnessed to solve big-picture societal issues.3

In the toolkit, leaders can take advantage of:

For each step in the curriculum, we propose relevant materials, as well as pointers to leverage Microsofts computer science teaching and learning resources, such as Microsoft MakeCode, Minecraft: Education Edition computer science subject kit, and Microsoft Learn for Students.

We are excited to launch this set of resources and continue to contribute to improving computer science education for students across the world. These resources connect to the Teaching and Learning pillar within the Microsoft K-12 Education Transformation Framework, which supports education leaders in navigating holistic transformation strategy within their institutions.

Explore the computer science white paper, as well as the accompanying curriculum and structure.

1. Women, Minorities, and Persons with Disabilities in Science and Engineering: 2019 | NSF National Science Foundation

2. Tech-Driven Changes in Job Markets Threaten Social Contract with Workers > Press releases | World Economic Forum (

3. Why Europes girls arent studying STEM | Microsoft Research

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Reimagining computer science in the curriculum | | Microsoft EDU - Microsoft

Blackhawk High grad wins Oscar, brings new realism to animation – The Times

Scott Tady|Beaver County Times

Jamie Foxx: Disney/Pixar's Soul is desperately needed

Oscar winner Jamie Foxx, voice of Joe Gardner in Disney/Pixars Soul, says the new film is desperately needed because of the stress and sorrow surrounding the coronavirus pandemic. Soul is the first Pixar film to have a Black lead animated character. (Dec. 22)


Hayley Iben founda way to make movie characters' hair look more naturally curly and wavy.

Animated movie characters, that is.

For that achievement, Iben, a 1997Blackhawk High graduate, earned an Academy Award last weekend.

The South Beaver Township native, director ofengineering for the famed Pixar film studio,officially received her prestigious Oscar award when the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences held a virtual ceremony on Feb. 13,bestowingScientific And Technical Achievement Awards for 17 filmmaking innovations.

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Iben and three Pixar colleagues, Mark Meyer,John AndersonandAndrew Witkin, created the Taz Hair Simulation System that brought a new level of realism to digital characters in popular animated films like 2012's "Brave" and 2015's "Inside Out."

Iben, who has workedon such popular and acclaimed animated films as "Up," "WALL-E," "Ratatouille" and "Toy Story 3," discussed her award-winning career in a male-dominated industry.

Q: Can you explain this Taz Hair Simulation systemand how it has changed the movies that we see?

A: We developed the Taz Hair Simulation System to achieve the previously unachievable desired artistic look and motion of long, curlyhair for the heroine Merida,'as well as to support the various hairstyles for Pixars Brave.

To approximate the thousands of interactions found in real hair, we created a new model of the hair that captured the interactions within a single curly lock using physics and a method that efficiently and stably computed the large number of interactions of locks with each other to give Meridas hair its signature volume. Although we were inspired by long, curly hair, the same hair simulator supports a variety of hairstyles required for our films and, since its creation, has extended the artistic reach possible at the studio as well as enabled hair simulation on all characters needed.

Q: What are some movies you have worked on that use this technology?

A: Taz quickly became Pixars de facto hair simulation system, being used on hundreds of animated characters since its creation and on nearly every Pixar film since "Brave."Notable main character hairstyles using Taz for simulating motion were the distinct hairstyles of Joy, Sadness and Disgust from Pixars Inside Out;the messy hairstyle for Spot in Pixars The Good Dinosaur;"the stylized hairstyles of Helen and Dash in Pixars Incredibles 2;the furry Bunny and Ducky from Pixars Toy Story 4,and Ian and Barley in Pixars Onward.

Q: What hasyour career as a Pixar engineer entailed?

A: I joined Pixar Animation Studios in 2006 as an intern with the Research group, and transitioned to a full-time position within the Software Research & Development Department, the group responsible for creating and supporting the software used to make films, in 2007. I contributed to the award-winning Presto Animation System by building tools for character articulation and animation, focusing on inverse kinematics and mathematical techniques.

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In 2010, I joined the team that was researching and developing the studio's hair simulation technology, Taz, that debuted in Pixar's "Brave."In 2013, I was promoted to lead software engineer of the simulation engineering team that was responsible for character effects software such as cloth, hair, fleshand skin. In this role, I closely collaborated with production leadership to identify and fulfill needs for the upcoming films. Under my leadership, my team advanced simulation technology for our films, such as the flesh and skin simulation system for Hank on Pixars Finding Dory and new techniques for cloth simulation for Pixars Coco."I also continued to extend Taz to meet the artistic hairstyle needs in Pixars films.

In 2020, I was promoted to director of engineering at Pixar, where I currently oversee the teams that create and support the software used by much of the film production departments at the studio. These departments span the production pipeline, including sets, layout, characters, shading, animation, crowds, simulation, lighting, FX and rendering.

Q: When did you first become interested in a film career?

A: I always loved cartoons as a child and would watch them with my family. My favorite films were the hand-animated Walt Disney films and I was amazed by Pixars Toy Story when I first saw it in the theater in high school. I think it was at that moment that I realized that I could use my skills with computers to create animation and I wanted to learn more about it in college.

Q: Were you involved in art, animation or movie-making while attending Blackhawk schools?

A: At the time, my artistic outlet was primarily music, being part of the marching, symphonic and jazz bands. I was also interested in learning about computer science and took many computer programming classes, ultimately leading to my career choice.

Q: How did your Duquesne University studies (a bachelor's degree in computer science in 2001) help put you on your career path?

A: Duquesne University's computer science program laid the foundation for my career. Because of the small class sizes, I was able to get valuable one-on-one time with professors, developing my skills as a computer scientist. The professors also took an interest in my career early in my college studies, suggesting research projects available in the department before I was even interested in research. I also took a computer graphics class which sparked my interest for further specialization. This exposure was essential for my preparation for graduate school where I furthered studied computer graphics at the University of California, Berkeley, and earned an MS and Ph.D., ultimately leading to my internship in the Research group at Pixar.

Q: What emotions did you feel upon winning an Oscar?

A: I am deeply honored and thrilled that the Academy selected the Taz Hair Simulation System team for a Technical Achievement Award.

Q: Do you hope to be a role model for young girls interested in a film career?

A: I hope that by sharing my experiences in various forums I will inspire women to enter computer science and technical fields. Since graduate school, I have actively participated in groups that support technical women, such as being involved with WICSE (Women in Computer Science and Engineering) at UC Berkeley.

While at Pixar, I have participated in several womens panels and given presentations to high school and college students, sharing my career path and experiences. I am also a founding member of PixWIT, Pixars Women in Technology group, and participate in our outreach activities to the community to encourage young women to enter the technology field. I have also continued to publish when possible so that I am an active member of the computer graphics community and helped create Khan Academys Pixar in a Box Simulation videos.

Unlike the televisedAcademy Awards taking place in April, honoring actors, directors, sound teams, costume designers, composers and cinematographers,the Scientific and Technical Awards are not limited to accomplishments from the previous year.Instead, those achievements must demonstrate a proven record of contributing significant value to the process of filmmakings.

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In a year of upheaval, some things remain constant: around the world, extremely clever people are striving to push the technology of film to new heights, and the Academy is privileged to be able to recognize and celebrate their accomplishments, Doug Roble, chairman of the Scientific and Technical Awards Committee, said. After a lengthy investigation period, the committee, made up of a diverse group of industry experts, identified 17 different technical achievements that absolutely deserve to be honored. We congratulate all the inventors for their contributions to our art form.

Scott Tady is thelocal Entertainment Reporterfor The Beaver County Times and Ellwood City Ledger. He's easy to reach at Follow him on Twitter at @scotttady

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Blackhawk High grad wins Oscar, brings new realism to animation - The Times

Patrick J. McGovern Foundation awards $4.1 million to expand tech education and build an inclusive tech workforce – PRNewswire

The new grants aim to increase diversity in the tech workforce and promote ethical technology development.

The educational grants reflect the Foundation's commitment to advancing tech for good. In January, the Foundation announcedit will double its 2021 data and AI grantmaking to $40 million, and introduce new initiatives to accelerate opportunity and innovation in the development of inclusive, ethical data and AI.

The new grants aim to increase diversity in the tech workforce beginning with computer science education in K-12 classrooms around the country and provide support through college graduation for under-represented and low-income students.

"In today's world, where technology touches every part of our livesfrom keeping us connected and informed to solving global issuescomputer science has become a foundational subject for any future path," said Hadi Partovi, Founder and CEO of, which expands access to computer science in K-12 schools and is one of 16 new grant recipients. "And every student should have the opportunity to study it and take part in creating the future they want to live in."

At the heart of these grants is a commitment to transforming the status quo of technology opportunity with new models that include entrepreneurship, upskilling for historically marginalized communities, and ensuring underrepresented students complete their college education.

"Diverse minds at the design table of technology will not only yield greater innovation, but will also create more equitable and representative technology solutions for a broader scope of challenges facing our communities and our planet," said Ruthe Farmer, Founder & CEO of the Last Mile Education Fund, which focuses on investing in student persistence and potential to get them over the last mile to graduation and into tech careers.

A key focus will be creating educational frameworks for social and ethical technology development. Through collaborations with leading academic institutions, the Foundation is supporting efforts at the forefront of building these frameworks for technology development and policy making.

"We need to develop responsible 'habits of mind and action' for those who create and deploy computing technologies and foster the creation of technologies in the public interest. Key to this effort is training the next generation of leaders who will undertake research that assesses broad challenges and opportunities associated with computing, and who will lead efforts to improve design, policy, implementation, and impacts," said Julie Shah, Associate Dean, Social and Ethical Responsibilities of Computing, MIT Schwarzman College of Computing Schwarzman College of Computing and Associate Professor in Aeronautics and Astronautics and head of the Interactive Robotics Group at Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Lab.

The new grants include:

Code.orgto support the CodeBytes program, which provides short, interactive online computer science lessons for K-12 students. ($100,000)

Girls support the organization's mission to inspire all girls to be strong, smart, and bold through direct service and advocacy and complete a tech infrastructure audit as a first step in accelerating a tech-centered strategic plan. ($250,000)

Girls Who Codeto provide support for their mission to close the gender gap in technology. ($200,000)

Team4Techto support expansion of their community of practice and launch regional hubs to create opportunities for learners around the world. ($100,000)

MIT Beaver Worksto enhance diversity and inclusion efforts as well as to build and scale a model for public use as it develops its rigorous, hands-on student STEM program. ($250,000)

AI4ALLto increase representation of women and other historically excluded groups in AI and build a community of diverse interdisciplinary leaders to positively influence the future of AI. ($500,000)

Last Mile Education Fundto increase diversity in tech and engineering by addressing critical gaps in financial support for low-income, underrepresented students within four semesters of college graduation. ($250,000)

Partners in Developmentto support the Bridging the Digital Divide Program in Rural Mississippi, which currently has very limited educational resources and internet access. ($200,000)

First Starto provide support for the First Star National STEAM Academy. Led by technology and grounded in social justice, this series of culturally relevant online Tech Talks is aimed at increasing teenage foster youth engagement in STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math) careers. ($50,000)

The Tech Interactiveto support The Tech for Global Good program, including the selection of an annual laureate who is using technology to bring about needed change in their community, a virtual field trip, and the development of educational content for students. ($200,000)

The Hidden Genius Projectfor their mission to train and mentor Black male youth in technology creation, entrepreneurship, and leadership skills to transform their lives and communities. ($300,000)

AkiraChixprovides tech training, upskilling, and mentorship to young women from Kenya, Rwanda, South Sudan and Uganda ($150,000).

AnnieCannonsto transform the lives of survivors of human trafficking and gender-based violence with computer science training and job skills that lead to gainful employment and independent economic security. ($100,000)

Oxford's Institute for Ethics in AI to investigate and address the ethical challenges and opportunities that AI poses to the future of democracy. ($500,000)

The Social and Ethical Responsibilities of Computing, a cross-cutting area of the MIT Stephen A. Schwarzman College of Computing, to support the equipping of researchers and students from across engineering, computer science, the humanities, and social sciences to analyze and articulate societal and ethical considerations as well as pursue cross-disciplinary approaches to develop technologies that can foster positive impacts for individuals and society. ($500,000)

The Stanford University Institute for Human-Centered Artificial Intelligence(HAI) to support its work to implement rigorous education programs for policymakers, supplying them with critical knowledge needed to understand AI technologies, trends and coming advances preparing them to address policy opportunities and challenges. ($500,000)

ThePatrick J. McGovern Foundation is a global philanthropy bridging the frontiers of artificial intelligence, data science, and social impact to create a thriving, equitable, and sustainable future for all. Learn more about our recent grants to supportclimate action, digital health, andvulnerable communities.

Media contact:George Mastoras[emailprotected](914) 489-5282

SOURCE Patrick J. McGovern Foundation

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Patrick J. McGovern Foundation awards $4.1 million to expand tech education and build an inclusive tech workforce - PRNewswire

20-year-old scientist inspires with her innovative medical technology – Yahoo Lifestyle

Kavya Kopparapu is a 20-year-old scientist and founder of the Girls Computing League.

As a changemaker, Kopparapu is inventing new technologies in the medical field with artificial intelligence and bringing computer science to girls around the world.

Growing up, Kopparapu didnt imagine herself in the science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) field, but after seeing a lecture at a local university by female computer scientists, she knew it would be a way to impact the world.

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At 17 years old, Kopparapu invented Eyeagnosis, a device that connects to your smartphone that can take a photo of your retina. It uses an artificial intelligence algorithm that processes the image and provides a diagnosis for diabetic retinopathy.

The Eyeagnois project is tackling diabetic retinopathy, which is a symptom of diabetes that affects the retina which is like the back layer of your eye that actually does a lot of the photo recognition in the way that we perceive the world, Kopparapu explained.

In 2019, Kopparapu was awarded the patent for GlioVision, a device that can rapidly determine the molecular and genetic features of tumors caused by glioblastoma, an aggressive brain cancer.

It really started after going to a science and tech high school and seeing even in such a resource-rich environment there were very few girls who continued in computer science classes passed the required amount, Kopparapu explained.

Because of the lack of women in her classes, Kopparapu founded the Girls Computing League.

The league started with Kopparapu and her friends teaching in local high schools. Now the program is in 15 states in the U.S. and in Japan. Girls Computing League hopes to be working with 1000 educational partners by the end of the year.

To be a changemaker means to leave the world a better place than when you came into it, Kopparapu said. I think being a changemaker means making a path and making sure that path is well-protected.

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20-year-old scientist inspires with her innovative medical technology - Yahoo Lifestyle

Virginia 4-H Partners With Google, Bill Nye ‘The Science Guy,’ To Take Mission to Mars – The Roanoke Star

As Emma Lloyd, a 13-year-old member of the Soaring Arrows 4-H Club in Frederick County, Virginia, watches NASAs Perseverance Mars Rover barrel toward the red planet, she feels a special connection to the historic moment.

Working on the 4-H Mars missions at the same time as NASA is inspiring, Lloyd said. I feel like Im working alongside NASA to get to Mars. It makes me want to learn more about the red planet and NASA.

Seizing the moment of NASAs Mars rover launch last year, 4-Hers across the country took part in the Mars Base Camp Challenge, four unique hands-on activitiesto get kids and teens to explore computer science, space agriculture, and more. The rover is expected to touch down on the red dust of Mars on Feb. 18.

With support from Google, National 4-H Council, andVirginia Cooperative Extension,Virginia 4-Hdesigned the challenge to ensure that young people everywhere, regardless of internet connectivity or family resources, have access to STEM Challenge kits, which include online and offline activities.

The kit contained the parts for the construction of a complex miniature Mars rover. Youth built a motorized rover that could navigate obstacles ranging from blocks found around the house or even cardboard boxes to simulate the topography of Mars.

Im getting more practice at not giving up or getting upset when something is hard or doesnt work, said Genevieve Harvey, 7, and member of the Soaring Arrows 4-H Club. My rover was too fast at first and then it kept getting stuck or spinning. I had to keep on trying and making changes to get it right, but it was fun, and I got to see other kids have fun.

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Virginia 4-H Partners With Google, Bill Nye 'The Science Guy,' To Take Mission to Mars - The Roanoke Star

‘Its almost like a safe space’: Curls on the Block combines science and self-acceptance – KUSA

Curls on the Block combines beauty with science and helps Black women love themselves among other people who understand their experiences.

DENVER When your hair is labeled wild, unbecoming and unprofessional, embracing your natural curls doesnt always come easy. Black women have long faced certain prejudices against natural hair in professional and academic settings. The rejection of Black hair has a long history rooted in slavery.

For curly girls, accepting natural hair is usually a process that starts at a young age.

They know by four years old whats considered good, bad, pretty, ugly," said Annalise Harris.

She's a special needs teacher for Denver Public Schools as well as the founder of Curls on the Block, an afterschool program aimed at teaching girls of "all curls and colors" to embrace, explore and empower their natural selves.

Harris said she sees Black and brown girls struggling emotionally and socially in school every day, and that she's realized many of those behavioral issues were centered on self-esteem.

Watching a young Black girl basically get suspended off of wearing a pink bandanna and she refused to take it off. it escalated out of the classroom and she got a suspension, Harris said. I just realized I have to do something else where girls feel comfortable, and if thats not in the class immediately, lets create a space for them to really take their hair out.

Curls on the Block was founded in 2017, and the curriculum combines the world of beauty with science, technology, engineering, art and math (STEAM).

Theres like 4% of women who are going to major in computer science and even fewer Black girls," Harris said. "We tried other things and they dont work.

"What does the scientist look like? Typically not them. So now were changing that with representation saying, lets do science to make something that you can use actually on yourself that makes you look good.

The lessons include testing the PH level in local water, researching ingredients in hair products and making flax seed hair gel. Each session weaves STEAM into the love of hair and beauty.

Its almost like a safe space, said 19-year-old Trinity Burch, a graduate of Curls on the Block.

Burch joined Curls on the Block as a freshman in high school. She said she was one of only three Black girls in her entire grade.

In a school full of people who didnt look like me," Burch said, "ok, I have this hour once a week to get to know these people and people who relate to me.

"They also look like me and they also have the same issues as me. They wake up and they dont know how to do their hair. Its comforting.

With the success of Curls on the Block, Harris started a beauty pageant.

The Miss Curly Self-eSTEAM pageant includes a focus on healthy and active lifestyles, cultural appreciation and pitching original products or services to enhance the curly community.

My curly hair journey has been a lot! I loved every step of it. It really helped me figure out myself a little bit more, Reigning Miss Curly USA 2021 Arlette Dervil said.

Curls on the Blocks message is clear: whether curly, kinky, coily, or wavy own your crown and wear it proudly.

Curls on the Block curriculum can be brought into any school or organization. Click here for more information.

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'Its almost like a safe space': Curls on the Block combines science and self-acceptance - KUSA

National Science Foundation adds URI to prestigious list of CyberCorps universities – URI Today

KINGSTON, R.I. Feb. 18, 2021 The National Science Foundation is expanding its support of the nations cybersecurity workforce and the University of Rhode Island is reaping those benefits as it becomes one of six universities being added to the CyberCorps: Scholarship for Service program. The program provides full scholarships and stipends of up to $34,000 to students who agree to work in cybersecurity jobs for federal, state, local or tribal governments after graduation.

The NSF is investing nearly $6.9 million overall, with a total of almost $21.2 million expected over the next five years. URI along with Augusta University, Michigan Technological University, Old Dominion, Central Florida, and Cincinnati join 78 universities in the program, which represents 36 states and the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico.

Every day, we see headlines that underscore the urgency of ensuring an adequately sized and well-trained cybersecurity workforce in the United States, particularly in government agencies, said Kim Barrett, director of NSFs Division of Graduate Education. Im excited that six new institutions will be added to the CyberCorps: Scholarships for Service program ranks. These diverse universities have each proposed innovative approaches to cybersecurity education and professional development that not only will support students selected for scholarships, but also increase the vitality of cybersecurity preparedness for the nation.

To ensure strong cybersecurity at all levels of government, it is vital that we recruit and develop top talent with the skills to tackle the wide array of threats we face, said U.S. Rep. Jim Langevin, D-R.I., chairman of the House Armed Services Committees Subcommittee on Cyber, Innovative Technologies, and Information Systems and a member of the Cyberspace Solarium Commission, which has recommended significantly expanding the CyberCorps program. Im thrilled that the University of Rhode Island has been selected as a CyberCorps: Scholarship for Service school. CyberCorps provides an amazing opportunity for our talented young Rhode Islanders to get paid for going to college and get an exciting job in the U.S. government at the end of it. CyberCorps students are often on the front lines helping to secure critical systems, and I am constantly amazed by the alumni I meet in key cybersecurity positions. Congratulations to Dr. Victor Fay-Wolfe and the University of Rhode Island for achieving this milestone and positioning our state to help fill desperately needed technology roles and better prepare us to prevent and respond to cyber incidents.

Over the next five years, URI will receive about $3.8 million with the first scholarships expected to be awarded for fall 2021. The program will fund about 5 to 10 students, including students at the undergraduate and graduate levels. All scholars must complete the Professional Science Masters in Cyber Security program, but the vast amount of the scholarships will got to students in the Accelerated Bachelors to Masters Degree in Computer Science and Cyber Security program, said Fay-Wolfe, professor of computer science.

Were very proud to be part of the CyberCorps program, which is awarded by the federal government to the top cybersecurity academic programs in the nation, said Fay-Wolfe. The scholarships are by far the biggest benefit to URI, but it is also a significant investment in our cybersecurity program. Staff and students will be able to attend national conferences and workshops on cybersecurity education, which will help us maintain the quality of our academic programs in the ever-changing field.

URI is designated by the National Security Agency and the Department of Homeland Security as a Center of Academic Excellence in Cybersecurity Education and Cybersecurity Research, one of the few institutions in the nation with both designations. It is the first school in Rhode Island to be added to the NSFs CyberCorps program.

About 140 students including about 100 undergraduates are pursuing degrees in one or more of URIs half-dozen cybersecurity programs, which span all levels from minors to Ph.D. degrees along with an online graduate certificate in cyber security. Many of these students also take part in internships with cybersecurity organizations, compete in inter-school competitions, and are encouraged to participate in state and national cybersecurity organizations.

Community colleges began participating in the CyberCorps program in 2015 and play an important role in several of the recent awards, including URIs. The University has an articulation agreement with the Community College of Rhode Island, which is similarly designated a Center for Academic Excellence in Cybersecurity Education and has a thriving cybersecurity program. Under the agreement, CCRI cybersecurity students who earn their associates degrees can join the URI program as third-year students.

To learn more about Department of Computer Science and Statistics and its cybersecurity programs, go to

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National Science Foundation adds URI to prestigious list of CyberCorps universities - URI Today

L’Oral & UNESCO Announce The For Women In Science International Awards – Beauty Packaging Magazine

On the occasion of the International Day for Women and Girls in Science, the Fondation L'Oral and UNESCO have unveiled the 23rd For Women in Science International Awards, which honor five distinguished women scientists with exceptional careers. Representing every major region of the world, they are rewarded for the excellence of their research in Physical Sciences, Mathematics and Computer Science.According to a UNESCO study on women in science, while the number of women pursuing careers in science is on the rise, reaching just over 33% of the world's researchers, progress is still too slow, particularly in Physical Sciences, Mathematics, Computer Science and Engineering. Only 28% of engineering graduates and 40% of computer science graduates are women.Moreover, comments Shamila Nair-Bedouelle, assistant director-general for Natural Sciences at UNESCO, this new study shows it is not enough to attract women to a scientific or technological discipline. We must also know how to retain them, ensuring that their careers are not strewn with obstacles and that their achievements are recognized and supported by the international scientific community. While they represent 33% of researchers, only 12% of them, on average, are members of national academies of sciences around the world."Not only is this a matter of equality, it is also a global social issue, particularly given that the Fourth Industrial Revolution, also known as "Revolution 4.0", will be driven by these scientific fields - precisely those where women are most absent. We are already seeing the dangerous biases generated by this lack of inclusiveness: in artificial intelligence, where women represent just 22% of people working in this field, algorithms frequently lead to discrimination mechanisms. Another alarming prospect is the over-representation of all women in jobs doomed to obsolescence: by 2050 half of all jobs in the world today are set to disappear, affecting 70% of women in a country like the United Kingdom.Therefore, UNESCO believes it is vital to act in favor of more inclusive research, and to encourage young girls to pursue careers in science, which too few still consider, despite being highly motivated to make a difference. Three out of four girls in Europe would like to contribute positively to the world through their jobs, but only 37% plan to pursue a career in science.Alexandra Palt, executive vice president of the Fondation LOral, says, "The invisibilization of women in science is still too significant. Today, less than 4% of the scientific Nobel Prizes have been awarded to women and the glass ceiling still persists in research. We absolutely must aspire to a profound transformation of institutions, of teaching and promotion of female researchers, of the system as a whole. While the gender imbalance remains in science, we will never be able to meet the challenges of an inclusive society or to tackle the scientific issues the world is facing.Based on the conviction that the world needs science, and that science needs women, the Fondation L'Oral and UNESCO are committed to the promotion of women in science, in order to render them more visible, make their talent known and inspire vocations. Since the creation of the For Women in Science program in 1998, 117 Laureates and over 3,500 talented young scientists, PhD candidates and post-doctorates have been supported and honored in 117 countries.Professor Catherine Ngila ChemistryActing executive director of the African Academy of Sciences, former deputy vice chancellor in charge of Academic and Student Affairs (DVC-AA) at Riara University, Kenya, and visiting professor of applied chemistry at the University of Johannesburg, South Africa.Awarded for introducing and developing nanotechnology based analytical methods for the monitoring of water pollutants and applying them in countries heavily impacted by pollution. Her innovative work is of vital importance for the development of sustainable water resource management, respecting the environment.Professor Kyoko Nozaki - ChemistryProfessor of Chemistry at the University of Tokyo, Japan.Awarded for her pioneering, creative contributions within the field of synthetic chemistry, and their importance to industrial innovation.Her research has led to new, highly effective and environmentally friendly production processes to manufacture molecules useful for medicine and sustainable agriculture.Professor Shafi Goldwasser Computer ScienceDirector of the Simons Institute for the Theory of Computing, professor in electrical engineering and computer sciences at University of California Berkeley, RSA professor of electrical engineering and computer science at MIT, United States of America and professor of computer science and applied mathematics at Weizmann Institute, Israel.Awarded for her pioneering and fundamental work in computer science and cryptography, essential for secure communication over the internet as well as for shared computation on private data. Her research has a significant impact on our understanding of large classes of problems for which computers cannot efficiently find approximate solutions.Professor Franoise Combes AstrophysicsProfessor and galaxies and cosmology chair at the Collge de France in Paris, and Astrophysicist at the Paris Observatory - PSL, France.Awarded for her outstanding legacy in astrophysics which ranges from the discovery of molecules in the interstellar space to supercomputer simulations of galaxy formation. Her work has been crucial in our understanding of the birth and evolution of stars and galaxies, including the role played by supermassive black holes at galactic centers.Professor Alicia Dickenstein MathematicsProfessor of Mathematics at the University of Buenos Aires, Argentina.Awarded for her outstanding contributions at the forefront of mathematical innovation by leveraging algebraic geometry in the field of molecular biology. Her research enables scientists to understand the precise structures and behavior of cells and molecules, even at a microscopic scale. Operating at the frontier between pure and applied mathematics, she has forged important links to physics and chemistry, and enabled biologists to gain an in-depth structural understanding of biochemical reactions and enzymatic networks.

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L'Oral & UNESCO Announce The For Women In Science International Awards - Beauty Packaging Magazine

USCIS Rescinds Guidance on H-1B Classification for Computer Positions – The National Law Review

Saturday, February 13, 2021

On February 3, 2021, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) rescinded a policy memorandum that, while in place, had negated long-standing agency guidance for the adjudication of H-1B petitions in computer programming and related occupations.

A USCIS policy memo from December 2000, supported granting H-1B classification for computer programmers and individuals in other related computer occupations, on the basis that at least a bachelors degree or equivalent was the normal minimum requirement for entry into these occupations. As outlined in immigration regulations, occupations that require this threshold degree requirement for entry can qualify as a specialty occupation suitable for H-1B sponsorship. The December 2000 policy memo, which remained in effect from December 2000 until March 2017, relied on the U.S. Department of Labors (DOL) occupational classification guidance, which states that most computer programmer positions require a bachelors degree in computer science or a related field.

In March 2017, though the DOLs occupational classification guidance has remained constant, USCISrescindedthe December 2000 policy memo, finding that it did not contain an accurate representation of the regulatory requirements for H-1B classification. USCIS determined that the DOLs occupational guidance was insufficient to determine that a position within the computer programmer occupational classification was a specialty occupation. USCIS indicated that since the DOLs summary contained information that most, but not all, positions within this job classification require a bachelors degree for entry, the agencys guidance did not categorically support H-1B classification for these occupations. The agency further took issue with the lack of a specific list of degree fields that were related to the occupation.

As a result of USCISs change in policy, employers faced increasing hurdles in sponsoring H-1B workers in computer programmer occupations, as well as related roles in the computer technology field. Because employers were no longer able to rely on the DOL occupational guidance, USCIS often requested additional data from employers on their internal hiring and recruiting practices, information on industry hiring norms, and expert analysis on the sponsored employees technical duties and qualifications. The denial rates for H-1B petitions also increased during this period.

The February 3, 2021, USCIS policy memo, entitled Rescission of 2017 Policy Memorandum PM-602-0142, rescinds the agencys March 2017 guidance. The agency took this action after the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit overturned a USCIS decision as arbitrary and capricious. The court overturned a USCIS denial of H-1B classification for a computer programmer occupation, finding in part that USCISs characterization of the DOLs occupational guidance was flawed. The court noted that USCISs arguments followed the logic of the March 2017 guidance, and that this reasoning is not entitled to deference. USCIS has indicated that additional guidance will be forthcoming on the issue.

2020, Ogletree, Deakins, Nash, Smoak & Stewart, P.C., All Rights Reserved.National Law Review, Volume XI, Number 44

Originally posted here:

USCIS Rescinds Guidance on H-1B Classification for Computer Positions - The National Law Review

ENIAC, the first computer, is turning 75 in Philadelphia – KYW Newsradio 1060

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) A little more than 75 years ago, scientists across the world were realizing they needed a machine to do equations faster than humans could. Dr. Brian Stuart, professor of computer science at Drexel University, says people around the world were working on these ideas, notably in Germany, at Harvard University, and at Bell Labs.

But it was John Mauchly who ended up figuring out the blueprint for the worlds first computer, after taking a summer course at the University of Pennsylvania and meeting J. Presper Eckert.

When World War II consumed Europe, the US government needed fast and accurate calculations to advance the war effort. So the government invested in Mauchly and Eckerts plan, which eventually became the Electronic Numerical Integrator and Computer, or ENIAC.

In some sense you can almost think of the machine as a very large number of desk calculators all connected together in such a way that one calculator can pass its numbers on to the next, and so on, Stuart described.

By late 1943, Eckert and Mauchly had assembled a prototype and then it became more of a construction project. The ENIAC machine ran along the walls of a room that was bigger than 32 feet by 16 feet.

Stuart says by early 1944 the two men were already starting to think about their next machine.

So it turns out the machine didn't end up being used for the war even though war needs is what funded it.

The ENIAC performed top secret work for the US government in the winter of 1945, running calculations for a project that was later declassified and revealed to be nuclear weapons development.

So since the war was over (and) the machine was now working, the army decided to publicize it and make it public, Stuart said. And thats what we are about to celebrate is the 75th anniversary of that public unveiling of that machine in February of 1946.

The ENIAC, as Stuart puts it, set the stage for the computer construction, performance, and programming developments and innovations of the next 75 years.

On Monday, February 15, the University of Pennsylvania will host virtual presentations about the first computer. And on Thursday, February 18, there will be roundtable discussions in affiliation with the University City Science Centers Venture Cafe.

People can register for the Venture Cafe special event featuring Stuart and other computer scientists involved in the ENIAC presentations.

People will be able to come and ask any question that occurred to them when they were watching the videos, he said, and dig a little deeper into everything that's gone on since then really kind of right here where it all started.


ENIAC, the first computer, is turning 75 in Philadelphia - KYW Newsradio 1060