When it comes to attracting qualified applicants and achieving a more balanced ratio of women to men within the field of computer science, UBC Vancouver seems to be a veritable magnet.
With an already impressive 33% of the UBC Computer Science (CS) undergraduate population and nearly 25% of its faculty, graduate students and technical staff identifying as female, the department has established itself as an international academic leader in promoting the participation of women in computer science.
And now, UBC CS is pleased to welcome to the department: Giulia Toti starting August, 2021 as Assistant Professor of Teaching; Vered Shwartz starting in September, 2021 as Assistant Professor; and, Caroline Lemieux starting July, 2022 as Assistant Professor.
Giulia will be joining UBC CS after having been an Instructional Assistant Professor at the CS department of the University of Houston, Texas for the past four years, where she has focused on educational research.
“During my PhD and Postdoc, my research focus was on data mining and machine learning, applied to medicine and epidemiology,” Giulia explained. “But more recently, I’ve focused on the development and evaluation of introductory programming courses, and I am currently conducting a study on Mastery Learning in those types of courses. I hope to continue this research in my new role at UBC,” she said. Giulia is still also interested in involving students (particularly undergraduates) in projects related to machine learning applications.
“I am really excited about joining UBC because they have shown such a high level of commitment to advancing educational practices. I think it will be the perfect environment for my work to continue and grow.”
And like every other first-timer to Vancouver, Giulia can’t wait to explore Vancouver, “I look forward to exploring Vancouver and the beautiful campus for the first time. Actually, I haven’t been anywhere else in Canada ever, so this is all new to me.”
Vered is coming to UBC in September after being a postdoctoral researcher at the Allen Institute for AI (AI2) and the University of Washington. Prior to that, she received her PhD from Bar-Ilan University in Israel.
“My area of research is natural language processing (NLP). The fundamental goal of my research is building machines that can communicate with people in natural language,” she said. “Specifically, I'm working on teaching machines common-sense knowledge and reasoning abilities, with the ability to read between the lines in order to interpret human language, which is often vague and underspecified.”
“At UBC, I will be teaching NLP courses and in the second term, I’ll teach a new grad-level course on common-sense reasoning in NLP,” she said.
Of note, the department’s NLP group has been very active recently, and is committed to growing their in-house expertise. Vered is a great example of how the group is elevating their profile. “I'm so excited to help grow the NLP group and program at UBC, and I'm happy to join such a friendly department.”
More about Vered
Caroline Lemieux will be joining UBC CS as an Assistant Professor starting July, 2022. She is currently a postdoctoral researcher with Microsoft Research NYCand received her PhD at the University of California, Berkeley.
“My primary research area is Software Engineering and Programming Languages,” Caroline said. “In particular, I've created tools that help developers automatically find bugs in software, including bugs that can have serious security implications. At UBC, I'll be joining the Software Practices Lab in order to build tools that automatically analyze software to help developers improve the correctness, security, and performance of that software.”
Caroline will also be teaching programming and software engineering-related courses, starting with a graduate course that explores both classic and state-of-the-art techniques for program analysis, debugging, and testing.
As a UBC alumna (BSc in Combined Honours Computer Science and Mathematics), Caroline expresses her enthusiasm at re-joining UBC CS. “I am truly delighted to return to the department! Not only is it filled with experts in so many different areas, but it's also a very welcoming one.” She added, “I'm excited to broaden the topics I tackle in research by collaborating across these fields, and I also hope to spread the enthusiasm for computer science I gained at UBC personally, to my own students.”