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From the College of Natural Sciences
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New Online Master’s Degree in Data Science is a First for The University of Texas at Austin

New Online Master’s Degree in Data Science is a First for The University of Texas at Austin

In response to high demand for professionals with scientific and technical training to understand and work with massive amounts of data, The University of Texas at Austin is set to launch a new online master's degree program in data science. Pending final approval by UT System and the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board, the new program will be a collaboration between the Department of Computer Science, ranked among the top 10 programs in the country by U.S. News and World Report; the Department of Statistics and Data Sciences, one of the university's newest and fastest-growing departments; and online learning company edX.

Researchers Design Evolutionary Algorithms for Neural Networks

Researchers Design Evolutionary Algorithms for Neural Networks

Texas Computer Science graduate students Garrett Bingham and William Macke, under the advisement of professor Risto Miikkulainen, are contributing to the improvement of AI with their research. Their paper, entitled "Evolutionary Optimization of Deep Learning Activation Functions" was accepted into the 2020 Genetic and Evolutionary Computation Conference. The work concerns the evolutionary optimization of activation functions as a potential means of improving neural networks, which may ultimately lead to the creation of smarter and more accurate AI.

Meet the 30 Dean's Honored Graduates for this Year

Meet the 30 Dean's Honored Graduates for this Year

Each year, the College of Natural Sciences bestows its highest honors for graduating seniors on a select group of students. These students, known as Dean's Honored Graduates demonstrate excellence across multiple domains, achieving not only academically but in scientific research, independent intellectual pursuits, leadership, service, entrepreneurship and community building. Below are biographies of the 30 outstanding students selected by a committee of College of Natural Sciences faculty for this distinction in 2020.

Texas Science Students Serve the Community During the Pandemic

Texas Science Students Serve the Community During the Pandemic

Undergraduates in public health, neuroscience and computer science found ways to help out their communities and fellow classmates, amid and in spite of COVID-19.

Students at UT Austin already had plenty on their plates. When COVID-19 hit, the usual return from spring break and settling back into campus life turned instead into a mass migration—students scattering to shelter in place wherever they call home, in many cases moving back in with their families. Some became ill or began caring for sick family members. Classes moved online. Jobs ended. Everything was topsy turvy (it still is). But that hasn't stopped College of Natural Sciences undergraduates in public health, neuroscience and computer science from finding ways to help out their communities and fellow classmates.

New Partnership Aims to Demystify Artificial Intelligence “Black Boxes”

New Partnership Aims to Demystify Artificial Intelligence “Black Boxes”

Isil Dillig (left) and Swarat Chaudhuri are part of a new, multi-institution initiative aimed at better understanding what happens inside artificial intelligence "black boxes."

The promise of artificial intelligence to solve problems in drug design, discover how babies learn language, and make progress in many other areas has been stymied by the inability of humans to understand what's going on inside AI systems.

The Next 50 Years: An A.I. Designed to Make Life Better (Audio)

The Next 50 Years: An A.I. Designed to Make Life Better (Audio)

Artificial intelligence is becoming more and more a part of our daily lives. But will AI have mostly positive or negative impacts on society?

Joydeep Biswas Builds Robots to Navigate the Real World

Joydeep Biswas Builds Robots to Navigate the Real World

The Biswas lab demos robotic cars at campus events like the college donor brunch and Explore UT.

Joydeep Biswas leads the Autonomous Mobile Robotics Laboratory (AMRL) at UT, where he and other researchers work on building mobile service robots that assist humans in everyday environments. The lab investigates programs and algorithms that enable these robots to better navigate changing conditions, incorporate human assistance and recover from failures intelligently.

New Sandboxing Approach in Web Browser Increases Security

New Sandboxing Approach in Web Browser Increases Security

A powerful new approach to securing web browsers, using a tool called WebAssembly, is getting its first real-world application in the Firefox browser. Developed by a team of researchers from The University of Texas at Austin, the University of California San Diego, Stanford University and Mozilla, the approach shifts some of the browser code into "secure sandboxes" that prevent malicious code from taking over the user's computer.

Researchers Say Spread of Coronavirus Extends Far Beyond China’s Quarantine Zone

Researchers Say Spread of Coronavirus Extends Far Beyond China’s Quarantine Zone

Infectious disease researchers at The University of Texas at Austin and other institutions in Hong Kong, mainland China and France have concluded there is a high probability that the deadly Wuhan coronavirus spread beyond Wuhan and other quarantined cities before Chinese officials were able to put a quarantine in place. At least 128 cities in China outside of the quarantine zone, including cities with no reported cases to date, had a greater than even risk of exposure, according to a paper currently in press with Emerging Infectious Diseases, a journal of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

12 Ways Texas Science Innovators Made the Most of this Year

12 Ways Texas Science Innovators Made the Most of this Year

Out of the lab and into the marketplace. That could be the catch phrase for a growing number of UT Austin science students and faculty. They are pouring creativity and hard work into new efforts to bring UT science into new realms.