DAC Student Spotlight: Thomas Lux

Thomas Lux, DAC Ph.D. student in computer science

Thomas Lux does not hesitate when it comes to setting long-term goals.

“After graduation I would like to work somewhere that allows me to devote my time to pursuing research in artificial general intelligence,” he said. “I can easily see myself at an industry/government lab, in academia, or in a small startup. I will be happy as long as I get to contribute to the creation of super-human intelligent algorithms that can benefit people in society.”

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DAC Student Spotlight: Tianyi Li

Tianyi Li, DAC Ph.D. student in computer science

How do we form our opinions? How do we develop the mental models that make us different and unique?

Finding answers to these questions is what drives Tianyi Li’s research at the Discovery Analytics Center. As a Ph.D. student in computer science, her research interests include human-computer interaction (HCI), collective (crowdsourced) intelligence, visual analytics, and explainable artificial intelligence (AI).

“I have always been interested in human cognition and intelligence, especially the sensemaking process,” said Li, who is advised by Chris North at DAC and co-advised by Kurt Luther. “Studying computer science during my undergrad years at Hong Kong University made me think deeper about the relationship between human and computing intelligence. I am excited by how much computer science has been advancing our understanding of the black box of human intelligence by developing smarter and human-friendly technologies.”

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IS-GEO announces Anuj Karpatne as 2019 inaugural Fellow

Anuj Karpatne, DAC faculty member and assistant professor of computer science

Anuj Karpatne, an assistant professor of computer science and a Discovery Analytics Center faculty member, has been named the 2019 Intelligent Systems and Geoscience (IS-GEO) inaugural Fellow.

The announcement was made by Suzanne Pierce, a research scientist at the Texas Advanced Computing Center (TACC) and principal investigator for the IS-GEO Research Coordination Network, during the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) conference in Washington, D.C., today.

“I am pleased to announce the IS-GEO Fellows Program,” Pierce said. “The program is designed to support researchers as they commit to in-depth projects to accelerate discoveries. Dr. Karpatne was selected because of his expertise in scientific theory{or physics}-guided machine learning. Throughout his fellowship year, he will evaluate applied machine learning approaches to Earth datasets for the energy industry.”

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DAC Student Spotlight: Bijaya Adhikar

Bijaya Adhikari, DAC Ph.D. student in computer science

Bijaya Adhikari, a Ph.D. student in computer science, was attracted to the Discovery Analytics Center by the opportunity to solve data mining problems that are not only theoretically interesting, but have real-world applications, as well.

Adhikari’s core research focuses on graph mining and topics relating to social network analysis, such as community detection, immunization, influence maximization, and information. His interests also lie in machine learning, theoretical computer science, and algorithms.

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Grad students say that UrbComp offered valuable cross discipline skills for solving urban problems

Fanglan Chen (left), Mohammed Almannaa (middle), and Swapna Thorve (right)

Current Virginia Tech graduate students Mohammed Almannaa, Fanglan Chen, and Swapna Thorve have earned the Urban Computing (UrbComp) certificate, a cross disciplinary program sponsored by the National Science Foundation and led by the Discovery Analytics Center.

The program is a collaboration between eight departments and five colleges and trains students to use both foundational and applied aspects of data science to help solve problems related to urban issues like transportation, affordable housing, and policing.

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DAC faculty and students attend AAAI-19 conference to discuss their research

You Lu (left) and Chidubem Arachie (right), both DAC Ph.D. student in computer science, presenting their posters.

Discovery Analytics Center faculty Bert Huang and Chandan Reddy and two Ph.D. students were in Honolulu, Hawaii, last week, sharing their research with attendees at the Thirty-Third AAAI Conference on Artificial Intelligence.

Chidubem Arachie and You Lu, both in the Department of Computer Science, presented spotlight talks on studies they collaborated on with Huang, who is their advisor. The studies were also included in a poster session.

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DAC Student Spotlight: Joseph Weissman

Joseph Weissman, DAC master’s student in statistics

Joseph Weissman graduated from Virginia Tech in May 2018 with triple majors — mathematics, physics, and Computational Modeling and Data Analytics (CMDA).

“I really gravitated toward the machine learning side of my CMDA classes,” Weissman said. “And because I wanted to learn more about networks, I took Dr. Sengupta’s class on the subject during my last semester.”

His final project for the class evolved into the research project he is now working on as a master’s student at the Discovery Analytics Center, where he is advised by Srijan Sengupta.

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DAC Student Spotlight: MD Momen Bhuiyan

MD Momen Bhuiyan, DAC Ph.D. student in computer science

MD Momen Bhuiyan, a Ph.D. student in computer science at the Discovery Analytics Center, is focusing his research on social computing. He is currently working on news consumption issues in relation to social media, trying to solve problems of fake news through computation and design.

“The problem of fake news is endemic in our social feeds,” Bhuiyan said. “As a solution, I am using design as a way of helping users identify problematic information sources.”

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Professor will use new machine learning techniques to decrease deaths resulting from traumatic brain injury

Chandan Reddy (left) is an associate professor in the Department of Computer Science and faculty at the Discovery Analytics Center.

To help physicians decrease the number of deaths resulting from traumatic brain injuries, Chandan Reddy, associate professor in the Department of Computer Science and faculty at the Discovery Analytics Center,  will use new machine learning techniques for computational models to predict short- and long-term outcomes, categorize traumatic brain injury patients, and provide interventions tailored to a specific patient and his or her injury. This four-year study is funded by a National Science Foundation grant in excess of $1 million. Click here too read more about the grant.


Two Ph.D.s first graduates of NSF-sponsored urban computing program

Gloria Kang (left) and Huthaifa Ashqar (right)

Gloria Kang and Huthaifa Ashqar recently earned doctorates from Virginia Tech in totally different fields, but they have something in common — cross-disciplinary training to solve today’s tough urban challenges.

Kang and Ashqar are the first graduates of the National Science Foundation-sponsored urban computing certificate program. Both are planning to walk at the December commencement ceremony in Blacksburg.

Administered through the Discovery Analytics Center, the program trains students across disciplines in the latest methods in analyzing massive datasets to study key issues concerning urban populations.  Click here to read more about Gloria and Huthaifa.