News about Faculty, Researchers, Students, and Staff (Winter 2014)

Faculty News

Assistant Professors Alexandra Meliou and Andrew McGregor each received a 2013 Google Faculty Research Award for structured data research. Meliou's research project is "Bidirectional Data Cleaning" and McGregor's is "Summarizing and Sketching Massive Graphs."

Assistant Professor Benjamin Marlin received a Yahoo! Faculty Research and Engagement award for his research on "Identifying and Exploiting Temporal Patterns in Online Recommender Systems."

Assistant Professor Yuriy Brun's paper, "Early Detection of Collaboration Conflicts and Risks" was featured as the Spotlight Paper in the October 2013 issue of IEEE Transactions on Software Engineering.

Associate Professor Erik Learned-Miller will be a Program Co-Chair for the 2015 IEEE Conference on Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition.

Distinguished Professor Don Towsley, Adjunct Professor Weibo Gong, and ECE alum Sheng Xiao published the book Dynamic Secrets in Communication Security (Springer Publishers). The book presents unique security properties and application studies for this technology.

Professor Emeritus Andrew Barto gave the opening address at the First Multidisciplinary Conference on Reinforcement Learning and Decision Making (RLDM2013) held in October in Princeton, New Jersey. CS alum, Richard Sutton (Ph.D. '84) gave the closing address. Another CS alum, Satinder Singh (Ph.D. '94) was on the organizing committee with Barto and Sutton.

Adjunct Professor Ileana Streinu just completed a visiting professorship at Technische Universitaet in Munich, Germany. Her visit was funded by a grant of the German Science Foundation. 

Jenna Marquard, UMass Amherst Mechanical and Industrial Engineering Associate Professor, joined the School this fall as an Adjunct Associate Professor.

Adjunct Professor Jane Fountain was promoted to Distinguished Professor by the UMass Board of Trustees.  "I have been so happy to work with Rick Adrion on CITI and CAITE, with Andrew McCallum and David Jensen on CSS, with Bev Woolf on ethics in STEM, with Lee Osterweil on process improvements, and with others - although not nearly with as much time as one would like," notes Fountain.

On October 4, Professor Brian Levine and his wife Amy welcomed the birth of their son Zachary.

Researcher News

CS alum George Bissias (Ph.D. '10) has joined the Center for Forensics as a Postdoctoral Research Associate.

IESL's David Soergel was promoted to Research Scientist this fall. Benjamin Roth joined IESL in January as a Research Fellow.

From Xi'an Jiaotong University, Weixuan Mao is a Visiting Scholar in the NETWORKS lab.

Student News

Graduate students David Wemhoener and Zeki Yalniz and Research Professor R. Manmatha received the Best Poster Award at the 2013 International Conference on Document Analysis and Retrieval.

Undergraduates Tung Pham and Ryan Szeto received a Commonwealth Honors College Research Assistant Fellowship Awards for their project "Presentations Automatically Organized from Lectures (PAOL)," a system that not only automates the entirety of the capturing process, but also allows professors to maintain their preferred style of teaching. For this project, they were advised by Rick Adrion and Tim Richards.

In October, 2013, CS students attended the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing (GHC). Thanks to travel support provided by Yahoo! and GHC, these students joined over 4,500 women at the event held in Minneapolis, MN. GHC attendees included: Lauren Breitenbach, Ashley Campo, Shiri Dori-Hacohen, Chelsea Grossman, Anastasia McTaggart, Pinar Ozisik, Huong Phan, Ravali Pochampally, Rae Recto, Elizabeth Staruk, Jennie Steshenko, Xiaozheng Tie, and Ranysha Ware.

CIIR doctoral student Shiri Dori-Hacohen and her husband Gonen announced that their daughter Gavahn was born on December 21,

Staff News

CS welcomes Adam Tabaka as the Executive Assistant to the Chair and George Baitinger, who joined the staff as a Grant Administrator.