A few weeks ago, we began highlighting a few of the 107 Computing Innovation Fellows (CIFellows) we’ve had the pleasure of funding. (With support from the NSF, the CIFellows Project was established two years ago to provide recent Ph.D.s in computer science and allied fields exciting one- to two-year opportunities at universities and industrial research labs. A key goal was to retain these bright young graduates in research and teaching during the economic downturn. A total of 60 CIFellows were funded in 2009, followed by 47 others in 2010.)
The CIFellows listed below — again, they’re in no particular order — are pursuing groundbreaking computing research in areas like learning, biology, sustainability, and journalism, etc. I encourage you to take a few minutes to read about them.
Tamara Clegg (2010)
Ph.D.-granting college/university: Georgia Institute of Technology
Mentor, host organization: Allison Druin, University of Maryland
Biography: Tamara Clegg is a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Maryland’s iSchool. Her research interests are in science identity and how technology can promote science identity development. She received her B.S. from North Carolina State University in 2002 and her Ph.D. from the Georgia Institute of Technology’s School of Interactive Computing in 2010. As part of her dissertation work, she was a co-creator of a life-relevant learning program, Kitchen Science Investigators, and supporting technology.
Research interests: Tamara’s research is focused on developing technology to support life-relevant learning environments where children engage in science in the context of achieving goals relevant to their lives. She is using participatory design with children to develop these new technologies. Her work includes creating new life-relevant learning environments to understand how identity development happens across these environments. From this analysis, she aims to draw design guidelines for life-relevant learning activities and technology in various contexts (e.g., sports).
Marc Chiarini (2010)
Ph.D.-granting college/university: Tufts University
Mentor, host organization: Margo Seltzer, Harvard University
Biography: Marc Chiarini grew up in Chestnut Ridge, NY, and has worked with computers since the age of 9. After attending Tufts University and Virginia Tech, earning a B.S. and two M.S. degrees in computer science, he moved to Silicon Valley to become a UNIX system administrator and toolsmith. He returned to Tufts in 2004, where he completed his Ph.D. with a focus on black-box performance analysis. Along the way, he garnered several accolades, including a teaching award and a best paper award at the AIMS 2008 conference. After his current fellowship, Marc plans to obtain a faculty position at a research university. He also looks forward to expanding his strong ties with the industrial research community.
Research interests: Marc’s research interests span a wide range of topics, mostly under the umbrella of systems management. Although his dissertation was in the area of performance analysis, he has spent a significant amount of time researching and publishing in the sub-discipline of autonomic computing (sometimes called self-managing systems). These studies are part of an overall research arc that seeks to expose, understand, and mitigate the effects of hidden dependencies in computing infrastructures. Marc’s latest work at Harvard explores the myriad ways in which digital provenance — the origins and lineage of digital objects such as files — can be used for system management tasks, including troubleshooting, enhancing security, and mapping dependencies between services in a network.
Nicholas Diakopoulos (2009)
Ph.D.-granting college/university: Georgia Institute of Technology
Mentor, host organization: Mor Naaman, Rutgers University
Biography: Nicholas Diakopoulos is a Computing Innovation Fellow at the School of Communication and Information at Rutgers University and an Adjunct Assistant Professor of Computer Science at Drew University. He received his Ph.D. in computer science from the School of Interactive Computing at the Georgia Institute of Technology in 2009.
Research interests: Nicholas’s current research projects touch on human-computer interaction, information visualization, and games with further themes spanning journalism, visual analytics, and social media. He is interested in interdisciplinary research that crosses traditional academic boundaries, and, in particular, has worked at the intersection of journalism and computing to develop new tools for storytelling, sensemaking, and online discourse.
Miriah Meyer (2009)
Ph.D.-granting college/university: University of Utah
Mentor, host organization: Hanspeter Pfister, Harvard University
Biography: Miriah is a postdoctoral research fellow in the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences at Harvard University and a visiting scientist at the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard. She obtained her bachelor’s degree in astronomy at Penn State University, and earned a Ph.D. in computer science from the University of Utah. Miriah is a cofounder of the Data Visualization Initiative at the Broad Institute, and she is on the organizing committee for the inaugural IEEE Symposium on Biological Data Visualization. This fall, she will join the University of Utah as an Assistant Professor in the School of Computing, affiliated with the university’s Scientific Computing and Imaging Institute.
Research interests: Miriah designs visualization systems that support exploratory, complex data analysis tasks by biologists who are analyzing large amounts of heterogeneous data. These systems allow scientists to validate their computational models, to understand their underlying data in detail, and to develop new hypotheses and insights. Miriah takes a user-centered, methodological approach to design, which has resulted in several successful visualization tools for genomics and molecular biology.
Amit Pande (2010)
Ph.D.-granting college/university: Iowa State University, USA
Mentor, host organization: Prasant Mohapatra, University of California Davis.
Biography: Amit Pande completed his bachelor’s degree in electronics and communications from the Indian Institute of Technology at Roorkee in 2007 with the Institute Silver Medal and Agilent Engineering and Technology Award for India (third position) for research on “Ensuring Multimedia QoS for scarce resource networks.” He subsequently earned his Ph.D. from Iowa State University in 2010, writing a dissertation on “Algorithms and Architectures for Secure Embedded Multimedia Systems.” Amit has been awarded the Research Excellence Award (REA 2010), IOWA STATEment Maker award (2010), and Zaffarano Award for Graduate Research (2011, honorable mention) by ISU.
Research interests: Amit’s work focuses on various aspects of multimedia systems — including compression, communications, security, and architectures — thereby facilitating joint design of algorithms to achieve specific goals of encryption, efficient hardware implementation and compression efficiency. His current areas of foci also include quality-aware multimedia delivery in 4G networks and design of wireless video evaluation metric. Most recently, Amit has also been exploring topics in computational sustainability and the use of ICT for sustainability.
And stay tuned — we’ll be featuring more of the CIFellows in this space in the coming weeks!
(Contributed by Erwin Gianchandani, CCC Director)