College of Computing Adds Four Assistant Professors to Faculty Roster

August 18, 2014

The College of Computing welcomes four assistant professors to the faculty during the 2014 fall semester: William Harris and Taesoo Kim will join the School of Computer Science, while Byron Boots and Alex Endert will join the School of Interactive Computing.

“We are always on the lookout for fresh ideas and burgeoning talent in the field of computing to bring to the College,” said Zvi Galil, the John P. Imlay Dean of Computing. “These young men have exhibited the innovations and forward-thinking we seek in terms of academics and research. We welcome them to the GT Computing community.”

The new assistant professors are:

Byron Boots

Before joining Georgia Tech, Boots served as a post-doctoral research associate in the Robotics and State Estimation Lab in the Computer Science and Engineering Department at the University of Washington, where his research focused on statistical machine learning, artificial intelligence and robotics. In his work, Boots designs learning algorithms with strong theoretical guarantees that also achieve state-of-the-art performance in applied domains. His algorithms make use of and extend theory from kernel methods, spectral methods, and predictive state representations.

He recently received his doctorate from the Machine Learning Department in the School of Computer Science at Carnegie Mellon University. At CMU, he was a member of the SELECT Lab run by Carlos Guestrin, and his adviser was Geoff Gordon. Before attending CMU, he served as a research associate in the laboratory of Dale Purves, investigating human visual and auditory perception in the Center for Cognitive Neuroscience at Duke University. Before that, he worked as an engineer at MobileRobots Inc., developing perception and navigation systems for autonomous mobile robots. He spent his undergraduate years at Bowdoin College, where he earned a double major in computer science and analytic philosophy and competed on the track and field teams. 

Alex Endert

For the past two years, Endert served as a visual analytics research scientist at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, where he worked on visual data exploration, human-computer interaction, and information visualization. His research interests center around exploring novel user interaction techniques for visual data analysis. He explores ways that visualization and data mining techniques can couple the subjective domain expertise of people with the rigorous computational abilities of machines. Ultimately, the goal is to build visualizations that help people gain insight and become empowered in an era where data is superfluous. 

He is an active member of, and contributor to, premier venues for human-computer interaction and information visualization (ACM CHI, IEEE VIS, IEEE TVCG, IEEE CG&A). He received his doctorate in computer science at Virginia Tech in 2012, where he worked with Chris North. In 2013, his work on semantic interaction was awarded the IEEE VGTC VPG Pioneers Group Doctoral Dissertation Award and the Virginia Tech Computer Science Best Dissertation Award.

William Harris

William Harris will earn his doctorate at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where he was advised by Somesh Jha and Thomas Reps. He studies program synthesis, analysis and verification and has developed tools that generate programs to help operating systems meet specified security requirements even if the underlying components may not be trusted. He also worked manipulating tabular data by example which appeared as a CACM Research Highlight and playing a role in the new Flash Fill feature in Excel 2013.

Harris received his bachelor’s degree from Purdue University in 2007 and his master’s from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2011. He has worked as a visiting researcher for NEC Labs America and Microsoft Research. He was a Microsoft Research Fellow from 2010-2011. Harris will join the faculty this fall and begin serving as an assistant professor in January 2015.

Taesoo Kim

Kim recently finished his doctorate at MIT, where he worked with professors Nickolai Zeldovich, Frans Kaashoek and Robert Morris specializing in systems security. His thesis work focused on detecting and recovering from attacks on computer systems. Kim has developed tools that would detect intrusion and discover which parts of the operating system could have been affected, allowing a systems administrator to recover from an attack without excessive manual effort.

Kim received his bachelor’s in both computer science and electrical engineering from the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology in 2009 and his master’s in both majors from MIT in 2011.

(Pictured left to right: William Harris, Taesoo Kim, Byron Boots and Alex Endert)