DAC and UrbComp students garner Deloitte Foundation Data Analytics Fellowship to fund their research

Ph.D students Jonathan Baker (left), Sirui Yao (middle) and Leanna Ireland (right).

Jonathan Baker and Sirui Yao, Ph.D. students at the Discovery Analytics Center, and Leanna Ireland, a National Science Foundation research trainee in the Urban Computing (UrbComp) Certificate program administered through DAC, have each been awarded a Deloitte Foundation Data Analytics Fellowship in the amount of $10,000 to fund their research.

Baker, also a National Science Foundation research trainee in the UrbComp program, is a math major advised by Mark Embree, professor of mathematics, associate director of the Virginia Tech Smart Infrastructure Laboratory, and DAC faculty.

Yao is a computer science major advised by Bert Huang, assistant professor of computer science and DAC faculty.

Leanna Ireland, a sociology major, is advised by James Hawdon, professor and director of the Center for Peace Studies.

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DAC Student Spotlight: Kaiqun Fu

Kaiqun Fu, DAC Ph.D. student in computer science

In his research, Kaiqun Fu uses spatial data mining, urban computing, and machine learning to infer crime rates/types from street view images, roadway networks, and criminal records. Applying deep learning methods also uncover hidden safety-related patterns from the physical appearance of street blocks that help address urban safety issues.

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DAC Student Spotlight: Sorour Ekhtiari Amiri

Sorour Ekhtiari Amiri, DAC Ph.D. student in computer science

Sorour Ekhtiari Amiri developed an interest in machine learning during her senior year of college. After earning a bachelor’s degree in computer engineering from Beheshti University, she worked on machine learning applications while getting a master’s in computer engineering at the University of Tehran.

Amiri then decided to pursue a Ph.D. in computer science.

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Ph.D. student Yuliang Zou presents DAC research at ECCV 2018

DAC Ph.D. student Yuliang Zou shares research on unsupervised learning of depth prediction and optical flow estimation at ECCV.

Yuliang Zou, a Ph.D. student at the Discovery Analytics Center, was in Munich, Germany, earlier this week to participate in the 2018 European Conference on Computer Vision ECCV.  The conference, held every other year, is one of the most influential academic conferences for this area of research.

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DAC Student Spotlight: Matthew Slifko

DAC faculty member Scotland Leman (left) and DAC Ph.D. student and UrbComp research trainee Matt Slifko discuss spatial relationships in the housing market.

It is no coincidence that Matthew Slifko’s research in predictive modeling in the presence of big and/or messy data deals specifically with the real estate market.

“As I prepared to return to grad school in July 2013, I was selling the house that I had bought at the beginning of the housing bubble in 2008,” said Slifko. “While predictive modeling had always been a favorite topic of mine as a student, real estate was a personal interest before it became an academic one.”

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DAC Student Spotlight: Chidubem Arachie

Chidubem Arachie, DAC Ph.D. student in computer science

As a computer science student at the American University of Nigera, Chidubem Arachie had spent a year as an exchange student at American University in Washington, D.C. Back in Nigeria, he graduated, taught high school math and computer science as a corpsman in the National Youth Services Corp in Lagos for a year and worked just shy of two years as a tax accountant at KPMG Nigeria.

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DAC Student Spotlight: Yaser Keneshloo

Yaser Keneshloo, DAC Ph.D. student in computer science

A collaborative project with the Washington Post to predict the popularity of news articles kept Yaser Keneshloo busy after joining the Discovery Analytics Center in the spring semester of 2014.

“The Washington Post now uses this research as an internal tool for predicting the click-rate of a news article within 24 hours of publication,” said Keneshloo, who worked on this project with his advisor, Naren Ramakrishnan. He has also presented this work at the 2016 SIAM International Conference in a publication co-authored with his Washington Post collaborators.

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Chandan Reddy receives 2018 Criteo Faculty Research Award

Chandan Reddy, associate professor of computer science and DAC faculty member

Chandan Reddy, an associate professor in computer science and a faculty member at the Discovery Analytics Center, has received a Criteo Faculty Research Award from the Criteo AI Lab.

This grant allows Reddy and his students to develop new computational techniques for some of the challenging problems that arise in the domain of computational advertising. Specifically, Reddy’s lab will be working on building deep learning based methods for the problem of identifying potential customers interested in a particular product based on the past activities in the entire customer pool. Deep learning is an important subfield of artificial intelligence.

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UrbComp student Davon Woodard spends summer in Data Science for the Public Good program, using data to improve communities

Davon Woodard, far left, and undergrad Cory Kim discuss their DSPG team findings with sponsor Wayne Strickland.

Davon Woodard has spent the past few months in the National Capital Region as a fellow for Data Science for the Public Good (DSPG). The program, launched and directed by the Social and Decision Analytics Laboratory (SDAL) at the Biocomplexity Institute of Virginia Tech, engages young scholars in conducting research at the intersection of statistics, computation, and the social sciences to determine how information generated within the community can be leveraged to improve quality of life.

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Focus on Huijuan Shao…..a DAC alumnus interview

Huijuan Shao, DAC Ph.D. alumnus and research scientist at Hitachi America, Ltd.

Since graduating in 2016 with a Ph.D. in computer science, Huijuan Shao has transitioned from academia to industry. For nine months, she was a research associate at George Washington University where she developed regular expression models with Java to extract clinical variables from cancer pathology reports and tuned queries performance in PostgreSQL when searching from 8TB national electronic health records. In January 2018, her career took another path. She and her family moved west, to Santa Clara, California, where she joined Hitachi America, Ltd., as a research scientist, focusing on industrial AI.

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