Richard J. Samuels (Ph.D. 1980), director of the Center for International Studies and the Ford International Professor of Political Science, will serve as chairman of the Japan-United States Friendship Commission for the next three years. The commission, which administers a trust fund originating in the post-war era, supports Japanese studies and policy-oriented research in the United States, as well as cooperation between the two nations on cultural and public affairs.
"The Japan-US Friendship Commission is one of the few remaining US-based grant-making bodies dedicated to maintaining the infrastructure for Japanese studies in the United States. It is an indispensable resource for universities and government agencies alike," said Professor Samuels, founding director of the MIT Japan Program.
The American Political Science Association presented its Best Book Award in the category of ecological and transformational politics to William A. Shutkin, a lecturer in urban studies and planning, for "The Land that Could Be: Environmentalism and Democracy in the 21st Century" (MIT Press, 2000). The award recognizes a book that addresses the politics and processes of deliberate efforts for change on behalf of ideals that are democratic, ecological and humanistic, published in the preceding two calendar years.
Shutkin also was selected recently as one of the Boston Business Journal's "40 Under 40" leaders in the Boston metropolitan region. Recipients are chosen by a team of editors that assesses each nominee's influence on industry and local business as well as contributions to the civic health of Greater Boston through volunteer work and other forms of philanthropy.
Three MIT students were among 16 semifinalists in the TopCoder Invitational Programming Challenge held last month at Foxwoods Resort and Casino. The students and their approximate winnings are Jonathan Salz (S.B. 2001), a graduate student in computer science ($16,200); Patrik Sundberg, a junior in physics and computer science ($10,750); and David Ziegler, a sophomore in EECS ($6,575).
The semifinalists survived three rounds of intense online programming in either Java or C++, starting from a group of 256 professional and collegiate developers worldwide. Contestants compete in 70-minute programming matches where they code solutions to real-world problem statements and then challenge each other's code. The TopCoder Invitational is held annually by Hartford-based TopCoder, Inc. The TopCoder Collegiate Challenge will be held at MIT in April.
Alumnus Jason Woolever (S.B. 2000 in electrical engineering, S.B. 2000 in mathematics, M.Eng. 2001) earned the $100,000 prize in last year's TopCoder Collegiate Challenge in San Francisco. The recent graduate now works at Synopsis in California.
A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on December 5, 2001.