News featuring Aarohi Sumant

Congratulations to Sanghani Center Spring 2021 Graduates

Virginia Tech’s virtual university commencement will livestream tonight, Friday, May 14, at 6:15 p.m., and degrees will be conferred at this time.

“We are extremely proud of our graduates who achieved their goals despite more than a year of a pandemic that upended much of their lives,” said Naren Ramakrishnan, the Thomas L. Phillips Professor of Engineering in the Department of Computer Science at Virginia Tech and director of the Sanghani Center for Artificial Intelligence and Data Analytics. “When everything went virtual, they continued to attend classes, meet with their advisors, conduct research, present papers at conferences, and work at internships — all testament to their perseverance and a good barometer of their future success .”

Following is a list of Sanghani Center graduates:

Ph.D.

Prashant Chandrasekar, advised by  Edward Fox, is receiving a Ph.D. in computer science. His research interest lies in digital libraries. The title of his dissertation is “Continuously Extensible Information Systems: Extending the 5S Framework by Integrating UX and Workflows.” Chandrasekar will join the University of Mary Washington as an assistant professor in computer science.


Kaiqun Fu
, advised by Chang-Tien Lu, is receiving a Ph.D. in computer science. His research interests lie in spatial data mining, machine learning, and graph neural networks, with a focus on social media analysis in intelligent transportation systems and smart cities. The title of his dissertation is “Spatiotemporal Event Forecasting and Analysis with Ubiquitous Urban Sensors.” Fu will join South Dakota State University as assistant professor in August 2021.

Yen-Cheng Lu, advised by Chang-Tien Lu, is receiving a Ph.D. in computer science. His research interests lie in anomaly detection and probabilistic modeling. The title of his dissertation is “Relational Anomaly Detection: Techniques and Applications.” Lu will be continuing his career as a software engineer at Amazon Alexa AI.

Sneha Mehta, advised by Naren Ramakrishnan, is receiving a Ph.D. in computer science. Her research interests are data mining and deep learning, especially for natural language processing applications. The title of  her dissertation is “New Methods for Event Detection and Extraction from News Articles.” Mehta will join Twitter as a machine learning researcher in July.

Sathappan Muthiah, advised by Naren Ramakrishnan, is receiving a Ph.D. in computer science. His areas of interest include forecasting, machine learning, information retrieval, and topic detection and tracking (TDT). The title of his dissertation is “Design and Maintenance of Event Forecasting Systems”.  Muthiah has joined eBay as an applied researcher.

Reza Sepasdar, advised by Anuj Karpatne, is receiving a simultaneous master’s degree in computer science and Ph.D. in civil engineering. (His master’s co-advisor is Maryam Shakiba). His research interests lie in the intersection of AI and computational mechanics. Sepasdar’s master’s thesis is entitled “A Deep Learning Approach to Predict Full-Field Stress Distribution in Composite Materials.” He will defend his Ph.D. dissertation, “Micro-mechanical Behavior of Fiber-reinforced Composites using Finite Element Simulation and Deep Learning,” this summer.

Sirui Yao, advised by Bert Huang, is receiving a Ph.D. in computer science. Her research interests include machine learning, recommender systems, and fairness. The title of her dissertation is “Evaluating, Understanding, and Mitigating Unfairness in Recommender Systems.” Yao will join Google in June 2021 as a machine learning engineer.

Master’s degree

John Aromando, advised by Edward Fox, is receiving a (coursework only) master’s degree in computer science. His research interests include natural language processing and information retrieval, particularly analyzing design specs written in natural language and synthesizing a machine-understood language via relevant descriptions.

Mohi Beyki, advised by Edward Fox, is receiving a master’s degree in computer science. His research interests are in deep learning, health care, and software engineering. The title of his thesis is “Synthetic Electronic Medical Record Generation using Generative Adversarial Networks.”  Beyki will be joining Google as a software engineer this summer.

Yi-Chun Chang, advised by Chang-Tien Lu, is receiving a master’s degree in computer science. His research interest is in using social media analytics to detect threats. The title of his thesis is “RISECURE: Metro Incidents And Disruptions Detection Using Social Media And Graph Convolution.”  He will join Walmart Global Tech as a software engineer in July.

Po-Han Chen, advised by Chang-Tien Lu, is receiving a master’s degree in computer science. His research focuses on using data from social media to help solve real-world problems. The title of his dissertation is “Metro Security Incidents And Threat Detection Using Social Media.” He will be joining Bloomberg as a software engineer this summer.

Yi Huang, advised by Jia-Bin Huang, is receiving a masters of engineering degree. His research interests lie in computer vision and machine learning. The title of his master’s project is “Cross-Domain Context-aware 3D Hand Pose Estimation.” Huang will join Qualcomm as a computer vision research engineer.

Kulendra Kumar Kaushal, advised by  Naren Ramakrishnan, is receiving a master’s degree in computer science. His research interests lie in the field of natural language processing and information extraction. The title of his thesis is “Information Extraction of Technical Details From Scholarly Articles.” Kaushal will be joining Bloomberg as a software developer.

Prathamesh Kalyan Mandke, advised by Anuj Karpatne, is receiving a masters of engineering degree. His research interests lie in machine learning and computer vision. The title of his master’s project is “Fluorescent Image Reconstruction in Shape Controlled Cell Migration using Deep Learning.”  Mandke will join Qualcomm AI Research as a machine learning software engineer in July.

Ashkan Nazari, advised by Lenwood Heath, is receiving a master’s degree in computer science. His research interests lie in artificial intelligence, deep learning, and cloud-based intelligence systems analysis. Nazari has also worked toward a Ph.D. in mechanical engineering. He will join the Silicon Valley-based luxury electric vehicle start-up Lucid Motors as a senior data scientist, working on developing intelligent battery initiatives.

Ioannis Papakis, co-advised by Anuj Karpatne and Abhijit Sarkar, is receiving a master’s degree in computer science. His research interests lie in machine learning, computer vision, robotics, and signal processing. The title of his thesis is “A Graph Convolutional Neural Network Based Approach for Object Tracking Using Augmented Detections With Optical Flow.”  Papakis also won first place in the 2021 Paul E. Torgersen Graduate Student Research Excellence Awards MS poster presentation category. Starting in July, he will be employed by Bertrandt US, Inc., working at Audi in Santa Clara, California, as an advanced driver-assistance systems engineer.

Arya Shahdi, co-advised by Anuj Karpatne and Bahareh Nojabaei, is receiving a master’s degree in computer science. His research interests lie in forecasting and geospatial modeling and analysis. The title of his thesis is “Physics-guided Machine Learning Approaches for Applications in Geothermal Energy Prediction.” Shahdi is a supply chain data scientist at Lowe’s Companies, Inc. 

Aarohi Sumant, advised by Edward Fox, is receiving a master’s degree in computer science. Her research focuses on deep learning and machine learning application, specifically in natural language processing. The title of her thesis is “Improving Deposition Summarization using Enhanced Generation and Extraction of Entities and Keywords.” Sumant will join Amazon as a software development engineer in July.

Omer Zulfiqar, advised by Chang-Tien Lu, is receiving a master’s degree in computer science. His research interests lie in social media event detection and natural language processing. The title of his thesis is “Detecting Public Transit Service Disruptions Using Social Media Mining and Graph Convolution.” He will join Walmart Labs as a software engineer in June.


DAC students working virtually at summer internships across the country

DAC Ph.D. student Chidubem Arachie is working remotely as an intern at Google Research.

A national pandemic that forced the closing of physical offices has not stopped graduate students at the Discovery Analytics Center from working remote internships at companies, research laboratories, and other institutions across the country. For many students, summer internships help further their own research as they gain real world experience.

Following is a list of DAC students and the work they are doing for the next few months:

Chidubem Arachiea Ph.D. student in computer science, is a research intern at Google Research in Mountain View California. He is working on generative modeling for 3D shapes. His advisor is Bert Huang.

John Aromando, a Ph.D. student in computer science, is an intern at Graf Research in Blacksburg, working on utilizing natural language processing to support the software verification process. His advisor is Edward Fox.

Hongjie Chen, a Ph.D. student in computer science, is a data science research intern at Adobe in San Jose, California. He is on the Cloud Technology Team, researching cloud resource allocation strategy. His advisor is Hoda Eldardiry.

Nurendra Choudhary, a Ph.D. student in computer science, is an applied science intern with the Amazon Search Team in Palo Alto, California. He is working on representation learning of products by leveraging the heterogeneous relations between them. His advisor is Chandan Reddy.

Joshua Detwiler, a Ph.D. student in computer science, is an intern for the Navy in Dahlgren, Virginia, where he is working on a distributed application for network analysis. His advisor is Layne Watson.

Chen Gao, a Ph.D. student in electrical and computer engineering, is a research intern at Google in Mountain View, California. He is working on improvements to the portrait mode on the Google Pixel phone. His advisor is Jia-Bin Huang.

Akshita Jha, a Ph.D. student in computer science, is a research intern in the Interdigital AI Lab in Palo Alto, California. Her work involves building interpretable natural language processing models. Her advisor is Chandan Reddy.

Prerna Juneja, a Ph.D. student in computer science, is an intern at the Information Science Institute at the University of Southern California with Emilio Ferrara, assistant research professor and associate director of Applied Data Science in the Department of Computer Science. She is investigating the spread of COVID-19 related conspiracy theories on Twitter. Her advisor is Tanushree Mitra.

You Lu, a Ph.D. student in computer science, is a research intern at NEC Labs America in Princeton, New Jersey, working on sequence labeling for signals in fibers. His advisor is Bert Huang.

Shruti Phadke, a Ph.D. student in computer science, is doing a research internship with James Pennebaker, a professor in the Department of Psychology at the University of Texas at Austin. She is studying online communities, their social processes, and behaviors. Her advisor is Tanushree Mitra.

Aarathi Raghuraman, a master’s degree student in computer science, is an intern at GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), working with the Digital, Data, and Analytics team to maximize process yield in upstream biopharm manufacturing. She is advised by Lenwood Heath.

Esther Robb, a master’s degree student in electrical and computer engineering, is a research intern at Google working with a team in San Francisco on reinforcement learning. Her advisor is Jia-Bin Huang.

Mandar Sharma, a master’s student in computer science, is working as a machine learning intern with Toyota Motors North America, specifically the Toyota Racing Development (TRD) branch, to help NASCAR drivers make better decisions when they are racing. His advisor is Naren Ramakrishnan.

Aarohi Sumant, a master’s student in computer science, is an intern at Amazon. She is working with the Kindle Marketing Team to develop machine learning techniques for book recommendations based on cross user activities as well as single-user activities on different Amazon platforms. Her advisor is Edward Fox.

Afrina Tabassum, a Ph.D. student in computer science is a data science intern in the Data Science for The Public Good (DSPG) program at the Biocomplexity Institute’s Social and Decision Analytics Division (SDAD) at the University of Virginia. She is working on projects that address state, federal, and local government challenges around critical social issues relevant in the world today. Her advisor is Hoda Eldardiry.

Mia Taylor, a senior undergrad in computer science, is interning at Amazon Web Services in the Route 53 (DNS) service. Her advisor is Hoda Eldardiry.

Sirui Yao, a Ph.D. student in computer science, is an intern at Google, working on tag prediction for recommender systems through learning items and tags embeddings. Her advisor is Bert Huang.

Shengzhe Xu, a Ph.D. student in computer science, is interning at Facebook Ads Core ML, working on attention-based time sequential embedding aggregation. Xu’s advisor is Naren Ramakrishnan.

Ming Zhu, a Ph.D. student in computer science, is interning at Amazon. She is an applied scientist intern for Amazon Alexa AI, working on conversational query representation learning. Zhu’s advisor is Chandan Reddy.

Yuliang Zou, a Ph.D. student in electrical and computer engineering, is working on learning with less/weaker annotations at Google. His advisor is Jia-Bin Huang.