Faculty Recruiting Support CICS

Graduate Students Receive Special Recognition for Outstanding Work

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Five graduate students at the Manning College of Information and Computer Sciences at UMass Amherst (CICS) have received Outstanding Graduate Awards for the 2020-2021 academic year. The awardees are as follows:

  • Outstanding Dissertation Awards: Rachee Singh ‘21 and Kevin Spiteri ‘21
  • Outstanding Synthesis Project: Gustavo Pérez Sarabia
  • Outstanding Teaching Assistants: Akanksha Atrey and Jong-Chyi Su

Rachee Singh’s dissertation, “Traffic Engineering in Planet-Scale Cloud Networks,” examines existing limitations of cloud network providers and evolves traffic engineering in wide area networks, presenting a pathway for optimizing operations of optical networks in global cloud companies. Associate Professor Phillipa Gill, Singh’s doctoral advisor, remarks, “Instead of stopping with the theoretically optimal solution, Rachee balances the optimal design with constraints of real-world networks so that her solutions are actually implemented by the cloud provider.” Singh currently works as a senior researcher in the office of the CTO at Microsoft’s Azure for Operators.

Video Adaptation for High-Quality Content Delivery” presents Kevin Spiteri’s work on Adaptive Bitrate algorithms that enhance the video viewing experience of users. “Kevin’s thesis is truly exceptional—it goes all the way from theoretical conception to a practical implementation that is currently widely used for commercial video streaming,” says Ramesh Sitaraman, Spiteri’s doctoral advisor and professor. Spiteri currently works with the YouTube video edge streaming and performance team at Google.

The CICS Outstanding Synthesis Project Award recognizes a synthesis project nominated by a CICS faculty reader for excellence. Synthesis projects, required of all doctoral students at CICS, are significant research projects that combine at least two different research areas and involve an intellectual stretch to bring them together. As this year’s awardee, Gustavo Pérez Sarabia fuses machine learning with astrophysics in “Machine Learning for Star Cluster Identification.” His article, written in collaboration with Associate Professor Subhransu Maji and Distinguished Professor Daniela Calzetti of the Astronomy Department, was published by The Astrophysical Journal in February 2021.

Akanksha Atrey and Jong-Chyi Su received recognition for their exemplary efforts in assisting with course instruction as winners of the CICS Outstanding Teaching Assistant Awardees.

Congratulations to all of this year’s honorees!