Chris North (left), associate director of DAC and professor of computer science, with John Wenskovitch (right), DAC Ph.D. graduate at the Fall 2019 commencement ceremony

Virginia Tech’s Fall Commencement ceremony was held on Friday, Dec. 20.

New summer/fall alumni include four Ph.D. students and one master’s student at the Discovery Analytics Center.

“We are very proud of our graduates and the impactful research they have undertaken at DAC while pursuing their graduate degrees,” said Naren Ramakrishnan, the Thomas L. Phillips Professor of Engineering and director of the center. “We wish them continued success as they embark on their academic and industry careers.”

Following are the DAC graduates: 

Shuangfei Fan, advised by Bert Huang, received a Ph.D. in computer science. Her research interests are machine learning, graph analysis and deep learning, and her dissertation title is “Deep Representation Learning on Labeled Graphs.” Fan joins Facebook as a research scientist. In that position she will work to apply machine learning techniques to help people build community and bring the world closer together.

 Alyssa Herbst, advised by Bert Huang, received a master’s degree in computer science. Her research interests are active learning and machine learning, and her thesis title is “Bounded Expectation of Label Assignment: Dataset Annotation by Supervised Splitting with Bias-Reduction Techniques.” Herbst joins Facebook as a software engineer.

Yaser Keneshloo, co-advised by Naren Ramakrishnan and Chandan Reddy, earned a Ph.D. in computer science. His research focused on tools to support news agencies with a dissertation titled “Addressing Challenges of Modern News Agencies via Predictiv Modeling, Deep Learning, and Transfer Learning.” Keneshloo is senior manager for the Advanced Data Science Team at Marriott.

Matthew Slifko, advised by Scotland Leman, received a Ph.D. in statistics. He was also a National Science Foundation Research Trainee in the UrbComp certificate program. His dissertation title is “The Cauchy-Net Mixture Model for Clustering with Anomalous Data.” His research focused on the development of a framework for clustering and predictive modeling in the presence of anomalous data, with an application toward predicting housing prices. Currently, Slifko is assistant professor of statistics in the Department of Mathematical Sciences at High Point University.

John Wenskovitch, advised by Chris North, earned a Ph.D. in computer science. His dissertation title is “Dimension Reduction and Clustering for Interactive Visual Analytics.” Currently a visiting assistant professor in the Virginia Tech Department of Computer Science, Wenskovitch’s work focuses on the interconnecting roles of visualization and machine learning in visual analytics systems, exploring techniques to enable systems to infer the interests and intentions of the interacting user, thereby adapting and personalizing the visualization and underlying models.