School of CS welcomes four new tenure-track faculty members

We are pleased to announce that four new tenure-track faculty joined our School of Computer Science this Fall as Assistant Professors. Amir Houmansadr, Subhransu Maji, Brendan O'Connor, and Barna Saha joined the School in September 2014.  The new faculty have research strengths in network security and privacy, computer vision, natural language processing, and algorithm design and analysis.

"We are delighted that we were able to attract such strong and promising researchers and teachers, especially with so many schools and industries aggressively recruiting computer scientists this year," says Professor Lori Clarke, CS Chair. "Our new faculty hires will bring expertise in four areas of computing that were our highest priority areas for growth. They will add both depth and breadth to our teaching offerings and provide new opportunities for research collaborations, both within Computer Science and with faculty in other disciplines across campus." 

 Amir Houmansadr

Amir Houmansadr's research interests revolve around various network security and privacy problems with a focus on Internet censorship, anonymity, and traffic analysis.  He has researched network flow watermarking and its applications to several security and privacy problems, and he has been involved in investigating network situation awareness, social network botnets, covert timing channels, and smartphone security. He was previously a Postdoctoral Scholar in the Department of Computer Science at the University of Texas at Austin. In 2012, he received a Ph.D. in Electrical and Computer Engineering from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He also received an M.S. and B.S. degrees in Electrical Engineering from Sharif University of Technology. Houmansadr's paper won the Best Practical Paper at the 34th IEEE Symposium on Security & Privacy (Oakland) in 2013, and he received the UIUC ECE Department of Computer Engineering Fellowship in 2012 for research excellence in the area of computer engineering.

 Subhransu Maji

Subhransu Maji's research interests are in computer vision and machine learning with the goal of advancing visual recognition algorithms. He is interested in developing representations of visual categories that can enable various high-level recognition tasks such as detection, pose estimation, segmentation, attribute recognition. A goal of his research is to learn representations that are semantically meaningful by leveraging humans "in the loop" during learning and inference. He was previously a Research Assistant Professor at Toyota Technological Institute at Chicago, a philanthropically endowed academic computer science institute on the University of Chicago campus. He obtained his Ph.D. in Computer Science from the University of California at Berkeley in 2011 and B.Tech degree in Computer Science and Engineering from IIT Kanpur in 2006. He won a number of academic excellence awards during his undergraduate studies, including the medal for graduating on top of the CSE department. He was awarded a Google Graduate Fellowship in 2008, and a Best Paper Award at the 2009 International Conference on Information Fusion.

 Brendan O'Connor

Brendan O'Connor's research interests are in machine learning and natural language processing with a focus on computational social science to develop methods that address linguistic and political questions by analyzing large corpora of textual data. One example of his research involves developing algorithms to understand and predict international conflict by analyzing millions of news articles. He has studied large-scale social media data, investigating public opinion, political censorship, language evolution, and computational linguistic tools. His work has been featured in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and other news media. O'Connor will be affiliated with the Computational Social Science Institute starting this Fall. He received his Ph.D. in Computer Science from Carnegie Mellon University this summer. He received an M.S. and B.S. in Symbolic Systems from Stanford University, and was a Facebook Fellowship Program finalist in 2010 and 2011.

 Barna Saha

Barna Saha's research interests span algorithm design and analysis, discrete optimization, and foundational aspects of databases and data management. She particularly enjoys working on practical problems that lead to beautiful theoretical questions. She is currently a Research Scientist at AT&T Shannon Research Laboratory, which she joined after completing her Ph.D. in Computer Science from the University of Maryland, College Park in 2011. She received an M.Tech. in Computer Science and Engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology Kanpur and a B.E. in Computer Science and Engineering from Jadavpur University. She received the Dean's Dissertation Fellowship Award from the University of Maryland, College Park, the Best Paper Award at the 2009 Very Large Data Bases Conference (VLDB), and was among the finalists for the Best Paper Award at the 2012 International Conference on Data Engineering (ICDE).