The Education Committee of the Computing Research Association (CRA-E) have announced the winners of the 2015 Outstanding Undergraduate Researchers Award.
This year’s nominees were a very impressive group. A number of them were commended for making significant contributions to more than one research project, several were authors or coauthors on multiple papers, others had made presentations at major conferences, and some had produced software artifacts that were in widespread use.
Many of nominees had been involved in successful summer research or internship programs, many had been teaching assistants, tutors, or mentors, and a number had significant involvement in community volunteer efforts.
CRA gratefully acknowledges the support of Microsoft Research and Mitsubishi Electric Research Labs (MERL) who sponsor the Outstanding Undergraduate Researcher Award program in alternate years. Microsoft Research is the sponsor of this year’s awards.
A partial list of the winners appears below. Please see the CRA-E website to see the full list of the winners, runners-up, finalists, and honorable mentions.
Emma Harrington – Female Awardee
Senior at Williams College (non-PhD-granting institution)
Emma Harrington is a senior computer science and economics double major at Williams College. Her research is on investigating what motivates people to produce free content online. She hopes this will shed light on why people contribute to public goods on the Internet. Recently, Emma submitted a poster to the CRA undergraduate research poster competition at Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing and gave a short public presentation about her research. In addition to her research, Emma was a teaching assistant for multivariable calculus and captain of the Williams Varsity Softball team.
Urvashi Khandelwal – Female Awardee
Senior at University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign (PhD-granting institution)
Urvashi Khandelwal is a senior in computer science with a minor in mathematics at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. Her research interests include modeling and mining large-scale entity-rich information networks, which can capture real world semantics. Her most recent project involved making high quality citation recommendations for a given scientific publication. In addition to her research, Urvashi has been a teaching assistant for the data structures course at Illinois since 2012.
Hyunsu Cho – Male Awardee
Senior at Trinity College (non-PhD-granting institution)
Hyunsu Cho is a senior computer science and mathematics double major at Trinity College. His computer science senior project is on hypergraph spectral clustering on GPUs and image classification where he is developing effective learning algorithms suitable for parallel environments. Hyunsu has been a teaching assistant in the computer science department since 2012 as well as a research assistant working on several research projects in medical imaging and scientific computing.
Danfei Xu – Male Awardee
Senior at Columbia University (PhD-granting institution)
Danfei Xu is a senior computer science major at Columbia. His research interests and contributions are related to sensory perception of robotic systems; in particular, tactile sensing, visual perception, and sensor fusion. Recently, he contributed to a research project related to robotic manipulation. The goal of the project was to have a robot pick up a garment. Danfei developed a “local grasp” function in which a robotic arm move along a fixed trajectory around the garment while recording the readings of distance sensor mounted under the arm. The local grasp function was able to reconstruct a local transverse section of the garment.