Follow us:

The Today File

Your guide to the latest news from around the Northwest

November 19, 2013 at 11:04 AM

UW computer science professor dies of apparent heart attack

Ben Taskar. Photo courtesy University of Washington

Ben Taskar. Photo courtesy University of Washington

Ben Taskar, a national expert in machine learning who joined the faculty of the University of Washington’s Computer Science and Engineering Department last year, died Sunday night of an apparent heart attack. He was 36.

Taskar was one of several computer-science superstars  hired by the UW last summer. He received his bachelors, masters, and Ph.D. from Stanford University, and worked for six years as a faculty member at the University of Pennsylvania before joining the UW staff. He taught his first class at the UW in spring of this year.

In a post on the Computer Science and Engineering Department’s website, colleagues described Taskar as one of his generation’s leading computer scientists.

“He made many significant research contributions in areas spanning machine learning, natural language processing, and computer vision,” colleagues wrote. “We are devastated by his loss. Even in a short time at UW, Ben’s brilliance, and his positive and gentle nature, made him admired and adored by everyone who knew him.”

Taskar’s expertise was in computational linguistics, or speech recognition, the technology used in cellphones and computers that allows people to talk to their devices and be understood. And he also worked with computer vision — teaching a computer to recognize an image, such as a face.

In an interview last year, Taskar said he joined the UW faculty in part because of its reputation for collaboration across different departments and disciplines.

Taskar is survived by his wife, Anat Caspi, and daughter Aviv Taskar.

Comments | More in Education | Topics: Ben Taskar, University of Washington

COMMENTS

No personal attacks or insults, no hate speech, no profanity. Please keep the conversation civil and help us moderate this thread by reporting any abuse. See our Commenting FAQ.



The opinions expressed in reader comments are those of the author only, and do not reflect the opinions of The Seattle Times.


The Seattle Times

The door is closed, but it's not locked.

Take a minute to subscribe and continue to enjoy The Seattle Times for as little as 99 cents a week.

Subscription options ►

Already a subscriber?

We've got good news for you. Unlimited seattletimes.com content access is included with most subscriptions.

Subscriber login ►
The Seattle Times

To keep reading, you need a subscription upgrade.

We hope you have enjoyed your complimentary access. For unlimited seattletimes.com access, please upgrade your digital subscription.

Call customer service at 1.800.542.0820 for assistance with your upgrade or questions about your subscriber status.

The Seattle Times

To keep reading, you need a subscription.

We hope you have enjoyed your complimentary access. Subscribe now for unlimited access!

Subscription options ►

Already a subscriber?

We've got good news for you. Unlimited seattletimes.com content access is included with most subscriptions.

Activate Subscriber Account ►