From the Dean's Desk - Nov. 13, 2020

Dear GT computing community,
Georgia Tech Dean of Computing Charles Isbell

One of the big issues that we in computing are increasingly coming to terms with is that humans tend to encode their biases into their systems. This reality is pervasive, but has become especially clear in machine learning and AI. If you’re interested in these issues, our own Ayanna Howard will be having a conversation with President Cabrera about her recent book, Sex, Race and Robots: How to be Human in the Age of AI next Wednesday, November 18 at 5:30 pm. There is space for 25 people to attend in person (reserve your ticket here), but the conversation will also be broadcast for everyone to hear. I can tell you now that it will be well worth your time to tune in.

Actually, the Machine Learning center is also holding a panel in a similar vein next Friday, November 20, at noon. The panel includes Irfan Essa and me; along with alumnus Rapha Gontijo Lopes, co-founder of Queer in AI and AI Resident at Google Brain; and Tiffany Deng, program management lead for machine learning fairness and responsible computing at Google. I know I am looking forward to our conversation. It’ll be a good week for these discussions.

Speaking of educational, CSE, PACE and our comms team have produced a virtual 360-degree tour of the Coda datacenter. The tour is being shared with high schools across Georgia, alongside data center tours from NASA, Intel, and NVIDIA. We are not only breaking new ground in research, but finding new ways to share what we do with the public, surely an unalloyed good.

Speaking of research, Georgia Tech led all institutions with seven papers from 20 faculty members at the recent ACM Conference on Computing and Communications Security (CCS). Wenke Lee gave the keynote address, and Mustaque Ahamad and alum Vijay Balasubramanian won the conference’s Test of Time Award for their paper, Pindr0p: Using Single-Ended Audio Features to Determine Call Provenance

Meanwhile, our colleagues in Ivan Allen also made waves in cybersecurity. Milton Mueller was a featured keynote at the 2020 Conference of the Hague Program for Cyber Norms, a prominent three day conference on cybersecurity and cyber diplomacy topics. The very same week as ACM CCS, the United Nations Internet Governance Forum included topics on cybersecurity policy, with GT faculty and researchers in the School of Public Policy’s Internet Governance Project (IGP) leading a number of workshops.

These are not just important research achievements, but are a clear demonstration that we are the right folks at the right time to start a new School of Cybersecurity and Privacy.

On a much sadder note, I wanted to note the passing of  Chuck Eastman, a pioneer in parametric modeling and design computing, and a long-time faculty member in both the Colleges of Design Computing. Chuck came to GT in 1996 and retired in 2018. I know he touched a lot of you in his long career. We honor his many contributions to the College and to the field, and we will miss him.

The weekend is upon us. It is time to enjoy this wonderful world of ours. Climb a mountaingo for a run, or do what I’m going to do: just sit back and watch the world go by. Until next week:

Charles L. Isbell, Jr.

John P. Imlay, Jr. Dean

College of Computing

Georgia Tech


EA: Alicia Richhart,, 404-894-8357


Don't just adopt opinions,  develop them


Conversation with President Cabrera:


Holding a panel:

Virtual 360-degree tour:

Seven papers from 20 faculty members:

This wonderful world:

Climb a mountain:

Go for a run:

Watch the world go by: