Faculty Recruiting Support CICS

Lee, Zamani Receive CICS 2020 Outstanding Dissertation Awards

Stephen Lee, Hamed Zamani

Stephen Lee ‘19PhD and Hamed Zamani ‘19PhD are the recipients of the 2020 UMass Amherst College of Information and Computer Sciences (CICS) Outstanding Dissertation Awards. 

Lee’s dissertation, “Software-Defined Infrastructure for IoT-based Energy Systems,” presents four techniques that use systems and machine learning principles to design, analyze, and deploy the next generation of smart Internet of Things energy systems, specifically focusing on “smart solar” for renewable energy deployments. According to Lee’s advisor, Professor Prashant Shenoy, the dissertation “has shown how computer science methods can address key challenges in increasing the penetration of renewable sources of energy.” Lee is currently an assistant professor of computer science at the University of Pittsburgh’s School of Computing and Information. 

Zamani’s dissertation, “Neural Models for Information Retrieval Without Labeled Data,” demonstrates how weak supervision can be used to train neural ranking models in a variety of scenarios. Distinguished Professor Bruce Croft, Zamani’s advisor, said, “[The] thesis made several significant advances in the application of neural models to information retrieval and search...the approach [presented in the thesis] has been picked up by a number of other IR researchers and has already had a major impact on the field.” Zamani is currently a researcher at Microsoft AI Research, working on a wide range of information retrieval, natural language processing, and machine learning problems.

The CICS Outstanding Dissertation Awards are given annually to graduating doctoral students in recognition of exceptional work and to encourage the highest levels of computer science scholarship and research. Awardees are nominated by CICS faculty.