Starting in 1974, Kenneth Bowles – who at the time directed UC San Diego’s Computing Center – began to adapt the computer language Pascal for use on so-called “microcomputers,” precursors of today’s PCs. His primary interest at the time was a programming language that would allow students to work individually on projects without waiting their turn to do batch processing on the mainframe. But Bowles also foresaw the value of portable software that would allow programmers to write something once and run it anywhere. His solution was pseudo-code – p-code for short – an intermediate language to run on each machine and serve as a uniform translator.
Since most of his fellow computer-science faculty members were involved in more theoretical research, Bowles turned instead to students to fulfill his dream. He recruited one graduate student, Mark Overgaard, and a handful of undergraduates. At one point or another, more than 70 students were involved in the UCSD Pascal project, doing everything from writing code to shipping floppy disks to research centers around the world (for a token $15 royalty fee). In the early 1980s, the University of California sold rights to the technology to SofTech Systems, which tried but failed to convince IBM to adopt UCSD Pascal as the core operating system of its first personal computers. (Bill Gates’ MS-DOS won the IBM contract.)
Bowles gained world renown for initiating and leading this project that culminated in UCSD Pascal influencing many aspects of computing that are now ubiquitous, including modern PCs and Macs as well as Sun Microsystem’s Java language, which incorporates p-code.
Mark Overgaard and other alumni who worked on the ground-breaking language for what would later be called the personal computer gathered in recently to mark the 30th anniversary of the computer language and reminisce about the influence and legacy that Kenneth Bowles had on computing, teaching, and their lives and careers.
Watch — UCSD Pascal: Celebrating the Life and Work of Kenneth Bowles
With the vast amount of data available in digital form, the field of Artificial Intelligence (AI) is evolving rapidly.
If you’ve even been caught on a phone tree with a computer that doesn’t understand what you are saying, you’ll appreciate that scientists are trying to figure out how to teach machines to understand, to communicate and even be empathetic.
William Wang, Director of the Natural Language Processing Group at UCSB, summarizes the stunning achievements of Artificial Intelligence for the past decade and talks about the intersection of AI and language. He’s trying to build an empathetic conversational agent that can understand and generate human sentences with rich emotions.
Wang also looks at the challenges facing AI in the future and the work ahead of these researchers as they strive to keep improving AI and making it better for everyone.
William Wang is the Director of UCSB’s Natural Language Processing Group, and an Assistant Professor in the Department of Computer Science at UCSB. He received his PhD from School of Computer Science, Carnegie Mellon University. He has broad interests in Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, and Natural Language Processing. He is the recipient of a DARPA Young Faculty Award, an IBM Faculty Award, a Facebook Research Award, and an Adobe Research Award. He is an alumnus of Columbia University, and he also worked at Yahoo! Labs, Microsoft Research Redmond, and University of Southern California. His work and opinions appear at major tech media outlets such as Wired, VICE, Fast Company, The Next Web, and Mental Floss.
Watch Artificial Intelligence: What’s Next?
Have you ever wondered how Amazon knows what products might pair well with your most recent purchase? Or how Netflix knows what you should watch next? They use recommender systems. Two students from Mexican universities spent their summer learning all about these complex systems at UC San Diego.
The students were part of the new Summer Internships for Mexican Students program at the Computer Science and Engineering department. Department Chair Dean Tullsen says he started the program in part to create a pipeline that brings top students from Mexican universities to UC San Diego. In this installment of the Summer With CSE series, Tullsen explains why he felt it was important to create that connection with schools in San Diego’s backyard.
You will also meet four student researchers as they work on two separate projects. While one pair studied recommender systems, the other took on machine learning. They helped figure out ways to improve research on hyperdimensional computing, which is meant to mimic the way the human brain functions. While their work was varied, all four were inspired by the experience.
Watch Summer With CSE: SIMS -The Summer Internships for Mexican Students Program
Sum-sum, sum-sum sum-sum summetime! It’s baseball, hot dogs, apple pie and…a bananiano?!
Well, its UC San Diego’s Department of Computer Science and Engineering, so you shouldn’t expect anything near ordinary! That’s Summer with UC San Diego CSE.
From High School teachers going to summer school classes to learn coding, to hyperdimensional computing to building robots and a bananiano – all while teaming up with our friends across the border check out the new series Summer With CSE on The Computer Science Channel.
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