of Computer Science
5000 MacArthur Blvd.
Oakland, CA 94613
345 Spear St.
San Francisco, CA 94105
Computer Science Education: (1) Attracting students to
computer science through the creation of mobile apps, as one of
the creators of App Inventor for Android. (2) Reasons for the
underrepresentation of women in science and engineering,
particularly computer science.
Semantic Web: Extracting
information from the web for inclusion in a structured knowledge
Development environments: Contributed to the development of App Inventor for Android, an online drag-and-drop development environment for creating mobile apps Google (January 2009-present).
Social software: Contributed features to the Orkut social
network, including a recommender system, and developed ad
placements for social networks, Google (January 2004-January
2009). 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).
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.
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 Foundation PGE/LCP grant ($900,000), September 2000
- August 2004.
Winner, Women Who Dare Award, Girls Inc. of the
Island City, 2007.
Trefethen Award ($5,000) for "outstanding teaching, curricular
innovation, scholarship and college and/or community service",
Mills College, 2005-2006.
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 and 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.
App Inventor: Create Your Own Android Apps by David Wolber, Hal Abelson, Ellen Spertus, and Liz Looney. O'Reilly Media, May 2011. Available for free online at http://www.appinventor.org/projects.
"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), Mills College (April 9, 2007), and Google (July 20, 2007) [video].
"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 Networking, 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.
Recognition of Hostile Messages," Innovative
of Artificial Intelligence (IAAI) '97. (
Postscript version also available.) 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.
Structural Information on the Web," The Sixth International
World Wide Web Conference, April 1997. Also appearing in Computer Networks: 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.
and Crawling on Demand," Distributed
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.)
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 Gurer. Encyclopedia of Computer Science. Ralston, Anthony; Reilly, Edwin D.; and Hemminger David, eds. Fourth edition. Nature Publishing Group (U.K) and Grove Dictionaries (U.S.), 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 as "Gender Benders" in Inroads -- 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 Mathematics Newsletter (March-April 1992), and a chapter was reprinted in the Australian Computer Society Victorian 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.
Panelist, "Fostering the Next Generation - pipeline into CS",
CRA-W CAPP Advanced Career Mentoring Workshop, San Francisco, CA,
November 17, 2012.
Panelist, "Representing Yourself Outward", CRA-W CAPP Advanced Career Mentoring Workshop, San Francisco, CA, November 16, 2012.
Panelist, "Faculty Panel", Women in Science and Engineering Freshman Seminar, University of California, Berkeley, October 31, 2011.
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 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, "Faculty Panel", Women in Science and Engineering Freshman Seminar, University of California, Berkeley, November 2, 2009.
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
and Shame", BlogHer
Conference, Santa Clara, July 30, 2005.
Girls in Math, Science, and Technology", Girls Incorporated of
the Island City Women
the 21st Century Club Speaker Event, Alameda, CA, July 19,
Academic Career for Faculty Women at Undergraduate Computer
Science and Engineering Institutions", CRA-W,
St. Louis, February 23, 2005.
We Can Learn from Computer Science's Differences from other
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-W
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.
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."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.
Panelist, "A Look at Climate Issues and Gender Fair Education", Massachusetts Winter Conference, American Association of University Women, Concord, MA, January 29, 1994.
Panelist, "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.
"Of Flames, Fan Mail, and Software That Can Tell the Difference", Chronicle of Higher Education, August 18, 2000, p. B6."Lost in Cyberspace" (Review of Mark Dery's Escape Velocity: Cyberculture at the End of the Century), Technology Review, April 1997.
Mentor, MIT Center for Mobile Learning, Google Summer of Code,
Member, Organizing Committee, Tapia Celebration of Diversity in
Computing, San Francisco, CA, 2011.
Director, Human Rights Defense Center, 2009-2012.
Member, GRE Computer Science Committee, ETS, 2008-2011.
Reviewer, Knight News
Mentor, City of Dreams,
San Francisco, 2008-2009.
Advisory board member, HarambeeNet: The SocialNets in Education Project (NSF award CNS-0722288), 2007-2008.
Member, City College of San
Science Department Industry Advisory Council, 2004-2007,
Program committee member, WebKDD 2006, 2008; AAAI 2008;
WWW 2009; ICWSM 2009.
Mentor, College Bound Foundation, San Francisco, 2004-2005.
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, 2000, 2004. Scholarship committee member 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012.
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.
Director and webmaster, Stop Prisoner Rape (since renamed Just Detention International), 1995-1997.
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.
"Introduction to Computer Architecture", Lowell High School (host: Art Simon), San Francisco, September 26, 2012.
"Improving the World? There's an App for That."
Sonoma State University (host: Prof. George Ledin), Computer
Science Colloquium, March 22, 2012.
"App Inventor for Android", Lowell High School (host: Art Simon), San Francisco, November 9, 2011.
"Careers in Computer Science" (representing Google), Hispanic Youth Institute, Hispanic College Fund, Santa Clara, June 23, 2011.
"Teaching with App Inventor for Android", CS4HS @ Cal, University of California, Berkeley, June 21, 2011.
"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 Mathematics 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
"Too Many Flames and Too Much Email", Google (host: Dr. Sharon Perl), Nov. 20, 2003.
"Smokey: Automatic Flame Recognition"
"Why Are There So Few Female Computer Scientists?"
"Evaluating the Locality Benefits of Active Messages," Center for Research on Parallel Computation, Rice University (host: Prof. Ken Kennedy), Oct. 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.
Nielsen, Thomas A.; Spertus, Ellen; and Drobychev,
Access to Profile Information in a Social Network. US
Patent #7,949,611, May 24, 2011.
Nielsen, Thomas A.; Spertus, Ellen; and Drobychev,
and Systems for Controlling Access to Relationship Information
in a Social Network. US Patent #7,716,140, May 11,
*"A Visual Interface for World Wide Web Information Retrieval in ParaSite", Dyuti Sengupta, 2000.
*"Bridging the Gender Gap in Computer Science", Jeri Countryman, 2001.
*"A Computer Science Curriculum for Girls", Alegra Feldman, 2001.
*"Earcon Design Considerations for Home Automation Systems", Eiko DoEspirtosanto, 2001.
"A Fault-Injection Approach to Predicting Dependability in E-commerce Systems", Susan Housand, 2002.
*"Human Interactive Personal Performance Interface (HIPPI): Using Neural Networks for Gesture Recognition", Andrea Plesnarski, 2002.
*"Automating and Improving Functionality of DVDFile", Lisa Fenwick Collart, 2002.
*"A Web Based Solution for Cataloguing, Organizing and Retrieving Image Data Using Java", Chetna Gupta, 2002.
*"Geoenergy: An Online Mapping Interface to Electrical Power Plant Data", Leah Roderman, 2003.
"Sisterhood: A Technology-Enhanced Community Organizing Model", Erica Rios, 2004.
"Computational Models for Alpha Helix Bundles", Lesley Evensen, 2004.
"Statistical Mechanics Studies of Triple Helix Bundle Polymers", Arina Fedorova, 2004.
"Vec2004 ~V: A robust and efficient vector screener and quality control tool", Prem Veeramani, 2004.
"Lessons from Deploying Information Systems for Microfinance Transactions in Uganda", Tu Tran, 2004.
"Brainathlon: Enhancing Brainwave Control Through Brain-Controlled Game Play", Amy Palke, 2004.
*"Routine Information Processor: An Automated Speech Input System for Support of Footbag Freestyle Performance Evaluation", Eric Wulff, 2004.
"FriendlyRoboCopy: A GUI to RoboCopy for Computer Forensic Examiners", Claire LaVelle, 2005.
*"Applying Activity Therory in the Design of Usable Software: How Personal Beliefs Shape the Use of Tools", Barton Friedland, 2006.
*"A Model Web Interface For Youth in Tanzania", Caroline Chumo, 2006.
*"A Database to Preserve and Define Swing Dance Moves and Routines", Amy Dewey, 2007.
*"Computer Skills Are Not Enough -- Computer Science for Middle School Students", Sonya Barry, 2007.
"Redesigning a Marine Terminal Application Using Component Utility Percent Analysis", Rachel Mulcrone, 2007.
*"dbSynth: Developing a Music Application on a Video Game Platform", Evan Morris, 2008.
"Emotipix: Mobile Phones as Affective Peripheral Displays", Lisa Cowan, 2008.
*"Planchette: An iOS Oujia Board Emulator", Cory Burke, 2010.
Last modified: 10/28/2012