Ellen R Spertus Curriculum Vitae

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Ph.D., Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, February 1998
Thesis title: ParaSite: Mining the structural information on the World-Wide Web. Committee:
Prof. Lynn Stein (supervisor), Dr. Tom Knight, Prof. Ken Haase, and Prof. Pattie Maes.
Minor: Science Technology, and Society.

S.M., Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, August 1992
Thesis topic: Compiling fine-grained programs to a massively-parallel computer, the MIT J-Machine.

S.B., Computer Science and Engineering, June 1990
Thesis topic: Compiling dataflow programs to the MIT J-Machine. GPA: 4.9/5.

Courses Taught
CS 063: Introduction to Computer Science
CS 111: Introduction to Computer Architecture
CS 114: Programming Languages
CS 112/212: Contemporary Computer Architecture (formerly Digital Logic & Machine Organization)
CS 113: Compiler Design and Implementation
CS 122/222: Operating Systems
CS 123/223: Robots, Persons, and the Future
CS 180: Software Engineering
CS 180: Information Retrieval Systems
CS 180: Mobile Application Development
CS 250: Thesis for the MA in Interdisciplinary Computer Science

Research Areas
Internet information retrieval and collaboration: (1) Data mining within social networks; (2) Software for managing email and online communities; (3) Making use of structural information on the Web.

Computers and society: (1) Reasons for the underrepresentation of women in science and engineering, particularly computer science; (2) Computer science education.

Professional Experience

Mills College (1998-Present)
Associate Professor of Computer Science (with tenure), 2003-present

Chair, Department of Mathematics and Computer Science, 2005-2007

Director, Interdisciplinary Computer Science, 2001-2007

Assistant Professor of Computer Science, 1998-2003

Google (2004-present)
Senior Research scientist (part-time), September 2009-present

Research scientist (full-time), May 2007-September 2009

Software engineer (part-time), January 2005-May 2007

Visiting scientist (full-time), January 2004-December 2004

Researcher, February 1994-September 1995

Summer intern, 1988, 1989, 1990, 1993

Social software: Contributed features to the Orkut social network, including a recommender system, Google (January 2004-Present). Designed, built, and maintained substantial extensions to the GNU Mailman list manager, deployed for the Systers email list and the Anita Borg Institute for Women in Technology (2000-present).

Software Agents: Designed and developed software to automatically recognize insulting or abusive email, applying natural-language processing and machine-learning techniques, Microsoft Research (May 1995-September 1995). Visiting scholar, Internet Softbot Group, University of Washington (September 1995-November 1997).

Compilers: Helped design and implement App Inventor for Android, a visual programming environment enabling non-programmers to create applications for mobile phones, Google (January 2009-present). Combined novel instruction scheduling and register allocation for a highly-optimizing compiler, Microsoft Research (Summer 1993, February 1994-May 1995). Developed compilers for a massively parallel computer, MIT (1989-1992). Designed and added optimizations to production compiler for switch statement code generation, Microsoft (Summer 1988).

Architectural evaluation: Evaluated the massively-parallel MIT J-Machine and Thinking Machines CM-5, MIT (1989-1993). Constructed a system to analyze instruction traces for instruction-level parallelism (Summer 1990) and built a microprocessor simulator (Summer 1989), Microsoft.


App Inventor: Create Your Own Android Apps by David Wolber, Hal Abelson, Ellen Spertus, and Liz Looney. O'Reilly Media, May 2011.

"Evaluating Similarity Measures: A Large Scale Study in the Orkut Social Network" (short paper), with Mehran Sahami and Orkut Buyukkokten, Eleventh ACM SIGKDD International Conference on Knowledge Discovery and Data Mining, August 2005.

"Dynamic Sublists: Scaling Unmoderated Mailing Lists", with Robin Jeffries and Kiem Sie, Fifteenth System Administration Conference (LISA), December 2001.

"Scalable Online Communities with Javamlm" (short paper), with Robin Jeffries and Kiem Sie, World Conference on the WWW and Internet (WebNet), October 2001.

"Squeal: Structured Queries on the Web", Ninth International World-Wide Web Conference, May 2000, with Lynn Andrea Stein. Also appearing in Computer Networks: The International Journal of Computer and Telecommunications, Volume 33, Issues 1-6, June 2000.

"A Hyperlink-Based Recommender System Written in Squeal" , CIKM'98 Workshop on Web Information and Data Management (WIDM'98), November 6, 1998 with Lynn Andrea Stein.

"Just-In-Time Databases and the World-Wide Web", Seventh International ACM Conference on Information and Knowledge Management, November 1998, with Lynn Andrea Stein.

"The J-Machine: A Retrospective", 25 Years of Selected Papers from the International Symposium on Computer Architecture, 1998, by William J. Dally et al.

"Smokey: Automatic Recognition of Hostile Messages," Innovative Applications of Artificial Intelligence (IAAI) '97. Also presented at the Eighth Annual Meeting of the Society for Text and Discourse, July 31, 1998.

"Squeal: SQL Access to Information on the Web", AAAI-98 Workshop on AI and Information Integration.

"Mining the Web's Hyperlinks for Recommendations", AAAI-98 Workshop on Recommender Systems, with Lynn Andrea Stein.

"ParaSite: Mining Structural Information on the Web," The Sixth International World Wide Web Conference, April 1997. Also appearing in Computer Networks and ISDN Systems: The International Journal of Computer and Telecommunications Networking 29 (1997) 1205-1215. A German translation "Informationssuche im Internet" appeared in Computerworld [Switzerland], August 3, 1998.

"Link Geometry and Crawling on Demand,"Distributed Indexing/Searching Workshop, World Wide Web Consortium, May 1996, with Gregory Lauckhart.

"Evaluating the Locality Benefits of Active Messages,"Proceedings of the Fifth ACM SIGPLAN Symposium on Principles and Practice of Parallel Programming, with William J. Dally, 1995.

"Proving Machine-Language Programs Correct, or `Turtles All the Way Down'," MIT Area Exam, January 1994.

"Evaluation of Mechanisms for Fine-Grained Parallel Programs in the J-Machine and the CM-5,"International Symposium in Computer Architecture, 1993, with Seth Goldstein, Klaus Schauser, Thorsten von Eicken, David Culler, and Bill Dally. Also appearing in Laxmi Bhuyan and Xiaodong Zhang, eds., Multiprocessor Performance Measurement and Evaluation, IEEE Computer Society, 1994.

"The J-Machine: A Fine-Grain Parallel Computer," Computing Systems in Engineering, 1992, by William J. Dally et al.

"Experiences Implementing Dataflow on a General-Purpose Parallel Computer," 1991 International Conference on Parallel Processing, with William J. Dally.

"Dataflow Computation for the J-Machine," MIT Artificial Intelligence Lab Technical Report 1233, June 1990. (Bachelor's thesis, Department of EECS, MIT.)

Computers and Society
"Scarcity of Women in Computing", in The Wiley Encyclopedia of Computer Science and Engineering. ed. by Benjamin Wah, 2009.

"Professor in a Circuit-Board Corset" (book chapter) in She's Such a Geek: Women Write About Science, Technology, and Other Nerdy Stuff, ed. by Annalee Newitz and Charlie Anders, Sage Press, 2006. I appeared at book readings at Modern Times Book Store (February 1, 2007) and Mills College (April 9, 2007).

"Gender Online: Theory and Practice" (symposium report), Asian Women, Vol. 14 (2002), pp. 213-218.

"Developing a Hardware and Programming Curriculum for Middle School Girls" by Jeri Countryman, Alegra Feldman, Linda Kekelis, and Ellen Spertus. Inroads -- SIGCSE Bulletin (Special Issue on Women and Computing), Vol. 4, No. 2 (June 2002).

"Leveraging an Alternative Source of Computer Scientists: Reentry Programs" by Sheila Humphreys and Ellen Spertus. Inroads -- SIGCSE Bulletin (Special Issue on Women and Computing), Vol. 4, No. 2 (June 2002).

"Women and Computing" by Ellen Spertus and Denise Gürer.   Encyclopedia of Computer Science. Ralston, Anthony; Reilly, Edwin D.; and Hemminger David, eds.  Fourth edition.  Nature Publishing Group, 2000.

"Wit Helps Women in Computer Science Combat Ignorance", Women in Higher Education, May 1997. Reprinted in Shatter the Glass Ceiling, December 1997; reprinted in The CPSR Newsletter, Winter 2000; and reprinted inInroads -- SIGCSE Bulletin (Special Issue on Women and Computing), Vol. 4, No. 2 (June 2002).

"Social and Technical Means for Fighting On-Line Harassment", Virtue and Virtuality: Gender, Law, and Cyberspace, April 1996.

"Declaration of Stephen Donaldson" (unnamed co-author), Affidavit in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, ACLU et al. v. Reno (No. 96-963) & American Library Association et al v. U.S. Department of Justice (No. 96-1458). March 17, 1996.

"Women and Computing." Encyclopedia of Computer Science and Engineering. Ralston, Anthony and Edwin D. Reilly, eds. Third edition. Van Nostrand Reinhold: New York, 1993.

"Why Are There So Few Female Computer Scientists?" MIT Artificial Intelligence Laboratory Technical Report 1315, August 1991. This report has been widely distributed in the computer science community, including to all of the faculty, staff, and graduate students in computer science at the University of California at Berkeley by department head Prof. David Patterson. A summary appeared in the Association for Women in MathematicsNewsletter (March-April 1992), and a chapter was reprinted in the Australian Computer SocietyVictorian Bulletin (July, August 1992). The report (or other of my writings on the subject) is recommended or required reading in courses at MIT, Smith College, and The University of Texas.  

Magazine Articles
"Orkut trends", a series of Orkut Blog (Google) posts with Torsten Nelson, September 26, 2007;November 21, 2007;January 22, 2008.

"Too Much Information", a series of Orkut Media columns about Orkut users, January 19, February 2, March 9, March 30, April 20, 2005.

Laptop computer review, Glamour, November 2004, p. 170.

"On the Prowl: How Search Engines Mine the Web", Odyssey: Adventures in Science, September 2004, pp. 14-17.

"Of Flames, Fan Mail, and Software That Can Tell the Difference", Chronicle of Higher Education, August 18, 2000.

"Lost in Cyberspace" (Review of Mark Dery's Escape Velocity: Cyberculture at the End of the Century), Technology Review, April 1997.

"The Emperor's Virtual Clothes" (Review of Mark Slouka's War of the Worlds), Technology Review, April 1996.

"Filtering the Net" (How technology allows users to filter their reading material on-line), Technology Review, October 1995.

U.S. Patent 7,949,611.  "Controlling Access to Profile Information in a Social Network".  Thomas Nielsen, Ellen Spertus, and Alexander Drobychev.

Principal Investigator (PI), A Relational Database Interface to the World-Wide Web, National Science Foundation, Faculty Early Career Development grant $200,000, April 1999-December 2004.

Co-PI, Techbridge, National Science FoundationPGE/LCP grant ($900,000), September 2000-August 2004.

Winner, Women Who Dare Award, Girls Inc. of the Island City, 2007.

One of the ABCNews.com Top Ten Wired Women of 2002.

Sexiest Geek Alive, 2001.

Fellow, Intel Foundation Graduate Fellowship, 1995-1996.

Winner, Department Meritorious Service Award, MIT EECS, 1992, for compiler seminar.

Winner, Morris Joseph Levin Memorial Award for independent work by an undergraduate in Electrical Engineering & Computer Science, MIT, 1991, for "Why Are There So Few Female Computer Scientists?"

Graduate fellow, National Science Foundation.

Winner, Undergraduate Computer Systems Prize, MIT, 1990, for bachelor's thesis.

Co-winner, best paper, 1990 MIT-ACM Undergraduate Computer Conference, for a paper on compiler optimizations developed while at Microsoft.

Member, Eta Kappa Nu.

Invited Talks
"Evaluating Similarity Measures: A Large-Scale Study in the Orkut Social Network"

  • Lakeside Academy (host: Dr. Lauren Bricker), Seattle, April 3, 2009.
  • Northwestern University (host: Prof. Fabian Bustamante), December 5, 2008.
  • Seattle University (host: Prof. Richard LeBlanc), November 21, 2008.
  • San Francisco Bay Area ACM Data Mining SIG (host: Ramasubbu Venkatesh), October 8, 2008.
  • Basser Seminar Series (host: Prof. Judy Kay), University of Sydney, September 17, 2008.
  • Guest lecture, CS 680: Internet Systems Research (host: Prof. Sami Rollins), University of San Francisco, April 4, 2007.
  • Google Tech Talk, Kirkland, Washington, June 21, 2006.
  • Stanford CVA Alumnae talk (host: Prof. Bill Dally), June 13, 2006.

Opening speaker, Bay Area Girl Geek Dinner #1, Google, Thursday, January 31,2008

"From Male-Identified Misogynist to Sexiest Geek Alive: My journey as a woman in computer science"

"Computer Science Education After the Boom" (keynote address), Computer Science & Information Technology Symposium, San Diego, California, July 8, 2006.

"Computer Science: Myths, Facts, and Fun", Computer Science Summer Enrichment Program (host: Prof. David Wolber, University of San Francisco, June 28, 2005; June 29, 2006; July 16, 2007; June 24, 2008.

"Feminism and the Scientific Method" (dinner speech), Society of Women Engineers Golden Gate Section (SWE-GGS) Scholarship Banquet, May 19, 2005.

"Liberal Arts Colleges", academic job seminar (host: Jeff Klingner), Stanford, November 10, 2004.

"What Faculty Members Need to Know about Gender and Computer Science Students,"  faculty lunch, Stanford (host: Prof. Hector Garcia-Molina), February 24, 2004.

"What We Know and Don't Know About Gender and Computers" (keynote presentation), Issues of Gender in Mathematics and Science, Bay Area  Science Project and Bay Area Math Project, March 22, 2003.

"Rigorous vs. Nurturing: The False Dichotomy",  CS301 (Teaching Techniques) lunch series (host: Prof. Brian Barsky), UC Berkeley, March 12, 2003.

"Gender and Computer Science: Myths, Facts, and Successes" (dinner speech), Wilkes University, January 10, 2002.

"ParaSite: Mining the structural information on the World-Wide Web"

"Mining Links, or How to be a Para-Site", Knowledge Media Design Institute, University of Toronto (host: Prof. Alberto Mendelzon, November 15, 1996.

"Too Many Flames and Too Much Email", Google (host: Dr. Sharon Perl), Nov. 20, 2003.

"Smokey: Automatic Flame Recognition"

  • Sonoma State University (host: Prof. George Ledin), Computer Science Colloquium, March 22, 2001.
  • Bell Labs (host: Dr. David Lewis), Murray Hill, NJ, January 12, 1996.
  • Dept. of Linguistics, Georgetown University (host: Prof. Cathy Ball), Nov. 1, 1995.

Stanford Women in Computer Science speaker series, May 22, 2002, and February 4, 2004.

"Why Are There So Few Female Computer Scientists?"

Mills Alumnae Association

  • Palo Alto, Feb. 6, 2004.
  • Oakland, Nov. 8, 2001.
  • Chicago, June 17, 2002.

"Evaluating the Locality Benefits of Active Messages," Center for Research on Parallel Computation, Rice University (host: Prof. Ken Kennedy), October 20, 1994.

"An Evaluation of the MIT J-Machine's Mechanisms for Fine-Grained Parallelism," University of Washington (host: Prof. Susan Eggers), September 2, 1993.

Member, GRE Computer Science Committee, ETS, 2008-Present.

Reviewer, Knight News Challenge, 2008-2009.

Advisory board member, HarambeeNet: The SocialNets in Education Project (NSF award CNS-0722288), 2007-Present.

Member, City College of San Francisco",Computer Science Department Industry Advisory Council, 2004-2007.

Program committee member, WebKDD 2006, 2008; AAAI 2008; WWW2009; ICWSM 2009.

NSF Program Review Panels (CCLI, ADVANCE, HCI): 1998, 1999, 2001, 2002, 2003.

Program committee member and scholarship committee member, Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009.

Committee member, AAAI-1999 Workshop on Intelligent Information Systems, July 1999.

Committee member, Expanding Your Horizons in Science and Mathematics Workshop, Mills College, 1998-1999, 2003-2004. Led workshop "Digital Electronics", March 20, 1999; March 18, 2000 (San Jose State University); March 25, 2000; March 8, 2003; March 13, 2004; March 19, 2005; March 25, 2006, March 17, 2007; March 22, 2008; March 21, 2009.

Member, ACM, Committee on Women in Computing, 1998-2004.

Chair, ACM-Mills Conference on Pioneering Women in Computing, May 2000.

College representative, MentorNet, 1998-2000.

Director-at-large, Computer Professionals for Social Responsibility, July 1997-June 1999.

Advisory board member, Geodesic Systems, 1996-1998.

Selection Committee, CRA Distributed Mentor Program, 1997.

Chair, Workshop on the Computer Gender Gap, Center for Advanced Studies Conference (CASCON), Toronto, Ontario, 1996. Highest rated workshop at conference.

Member, EECS Committee on Women's Enrollment, MIT, Fall 1993.

Graduate Student Representative, Association for MIT Alumnae, Fall 1991-January 1994.

Co-founder and co-president, Tech Square Big Sisters, Fall 1991-Spring 1993.

Co-editor, Underground Guide to Course Six, Fall 1989 and Spring 1990.

Professional Organizations
Member, Computer Professionals for Social Responsibility.

Member, Association for Computing Machinery, including the ACM Committee on Women in Computing.

Member, American Association of University Women.

Workshops, Panels and Debates
Panelist and organizer, "Mastering the Art of the Technical Interview", Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing, Atlanta, Georgia, October 1, 2010.

Panelist, "For the Love of Teaching: Experiences of Undergraduate Liberal Arts College Faculty , Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing, Atlanta, Georgia, October 1, 2010.

Panelist and organizer, "Creating Mobile Phone Applications and Motivating Females in CS with Google's App Inventor for Android", Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing, Atlanta, Georgia, September 30, 2010.

Workshop organizer and leader, "App Inventor for Android: A Visual Programming Environment for Creating Mobile Phone Apps", Computer Science & Information Technology Symposium, Mountain View, California, July 13, 2010.

Workshop organizer and presenter, "Creating Mobile Phone Applications with App Inventor for Android", Technical Symposium on Computer Science Education (SIGCSE 2010), Milwaukee, March 12, 2010. [Provided video presentation because unable to attend in person.]

Panelist and organizer, "Novel Approaches to CS 0 with App Inventor for Android", Technical Symposium on Computer Science Education (SIGCSE 2010), Milwaukee, March 12, 2010. [Provided video presentation http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=73PbsMNa03I because unable to attend in person.]

Panelist, "Dual Careers or Dueling Careers? Jobs and the Two-Body Problem", Joint Meeting of the Mathematical Association of America and The American Mathematical Society, San Francisco, January 13, 2010.

Panelist, "Mastering the Art of the Technical Interview: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly", Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing, Tucson, October 2, 2009.

Invited participant, "Rebooting Computing Summit: The Magic and Beauty of Computer Science", January 12-14, 2009.

Moderator, "Women in Science and Technology: Challenges and Changes Through the Generations" (panel), sponsored by the Association of MIT Alumnae of Northern California and Google, Mountain View, September 20, 2007.

Invited participant, Integrative Computing Education & Research: Preparing IT Graduates for 2010 and Beyond (ICER - West), Stanford, California, January 27-28, 2006.

Panelist, "Flame, Blame and Shame", BlogHer Conference, Santa Clara, July 30, 2005.

Panelist, "Women and Girls in Math, Science, and Technology", Girls Incorporated of the Island City, Women of the 21st Century Club Speaker Event, Alameda, CA, July 19, 2005.

Panelist, "Managing the Academic Career for Faculty Women at Undergraduate Computer Science and Engineering Institutions", CRA-W, St. Louis, February 23, 2005.

Panelist, "What We Can Learn from Computer Science's Differences from other Sciences", Women, Work and the Academy: Strategies for Responding to 'Post-Civil Rights Era' Discrimination, Barnard College, New York, December 9-10, 2005.

Organizer and panelist, "It's Never Too Late: Careers in Computer Science", Anita Borg Institute for Women and Technology and Google, Mountain View, CA, June 2, 2004.

Panelist, "The Job Search Process and Later Job-related Decision Making", CRA-WCareer Mentoring Workshop, San Diego, June 6-8, 2003.

Panel chair, Surging into the Pipeline: Re-entry Programs for Women in Computing, Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing, Vancouver, British Columbia, 2002.

Panelist, UNESCO Chair Conference on Women's Cyber Rights, Research Institute of Asian Women, Seoul, Korea, May 31, 2002.

Invited participant, IDM 2002 Workshop, NSF, May 5-7, 2002.

Panelist, "Women AND Technology: Changing the future for both", Xerox PARC Forum, December 13, 2001.

Panelist, "Issues in Higher Education", Women Leading the Way in Science, Engineering, Technology, Arts and Creativity, Women's Leadership Institute, Mills College, October 19, 2001.

Panelist, "Techbridge: A Technology Program of Their Own", with Linda Kekelis, Jeri Countryman, and Alegra Feldman; The Eighth Annual National Diversity Conference: Race, Gender and Information Technology: Closing the Digital Divide, San Diego, May 2-5, 2001.

"A relational database interface to the World-Wide Web" (poster), with Lynn Andrea Stein, Proceedings of the Fourth ACM Conference on Digital Libraries, 1999.

Panelist, "Mentoring and Graduate School", Beyond the Classroom: A Workshop for Undergraduates in EE & CS, University of California, Berkeley, September 26, 1998.

"Squeal: SQL Access to Information on the Web", AAAI-98 Workshop on AI and Information Integration.

"Mining the Web's Hyperlinks for Recommendations", AAAI-98 Workshop on Recommender Systems, with Lynn Andrea Stein.

" Link Geometry and Crawling on Demand," Distributed Indexing/Searching Workshop, World Wide Web Consortium, May 1996, with Gregory Lauckhart.

"Information Hierarchies," 1995 MIT Student Workshop on Scalable Computing.

Debate, "Resolved: That to exploit advances in parallel processing technology, Fortune 500 companies should invest in networks of distributed workstations instead of parallel computers", 1994 MIT Student Workshop on Scalable Computing.

"Trading Off Control and Data Locality in Fine-Grained Computing", 1994 MIT Student Workshop on Scalable Computing

Panel, "A Look at Climate Issues and Gender Fair Education", Massachusetts Winter Conference, American Association of University Women, Concord, MA, January 29, 1994.

Panel, "Creating an Empowering Environment for Women Students in Undergraduate, Co-Ed Computer Science Programs," Twenty-Fourth SIGCSE Technical Symposium on Computer Science Education, February 1993.

Invited participant, Workshop on Expanding Opportunities for Women in CISE, National Science Foundation, October 1992.

Invited witness, President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology, June 24, 1992.

"Dataflow Computation on the J-Machine," 1991 MIT Student Workshop on VLSI and Parallel Systems, July 1991.