Research teams led by junior faculty win seed funding for new projects

Tanushree Mitra, DAC faculty member and assistant professor of CS

Congratulations to Tanushree Mitra, a winner in the latest round of Junior Faculty Awards from the Institute for Critical Technology and Applied Science.

Mitra, a faculty member at the Discovery Analytics Center and assistant professor in the Virginia Tech – Department of Computer Science, will lead, with James Hawdon at the Virginia Tech College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences, a study on the language of online extremism: Computational models for discovery and analysis of framing around extremists’ narratives. Click here to read more about Mitra’s award.

DAC Student Spotlight: Raja Phanindra Chava

“You have to work every day at being the best you can be. It is a project that is never-ending.”

These are Raja Phanindra Chava’s own words — and his inspiration —  as he pursues an M.S. in computer engineering.

“I believe that learning is a constant process throughout life to achieve excellence,” said Chava, “and it is my primary driving force.”



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DAC Student Spotlight: Yuliang Zou

DAC Ph.D. student, Yuliang Zou

Do you think working with image and video would make an interesting career?

Yuliang Zou definitely does. The first-year Ph.D. student — who would like to join the research arm of a major company one day — is researching computer vision, trying to teach computers to analyze and think like a human when they are given visual data like still images, RGB-D data, or video sequences.

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UrbComp student team takes second place in Pamplin ethics competition

Students and judges at 2018 Data Ethics Case Competition are (front row) Rob Day, Techlab; Stacey Clifton; and Matt Slifko; (back row) Rich Wokutch, professor of management; Davon Woodard; and John Grant, Palantir.

Three Ph.D. students in the Urban Computing Certificate (UrbComp) program decided that the 2018 Data Ethics Case Competition would be a good way to apply what they have been learning in one of the program’s courses, GRAD 5134: Ethics and Professionalism in Data Science, this spring.

So they teamed up to enter the competition, sponsored by the Center for Business Intelligence & Analytics, which bridges classroom learning with a real-life situation and important questions for the future and encourages diverse trans-disciplinary teams.

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Urban computing program provides Ph.D. students with valuable skills to address problems faced by cities

UrbComp Ph.D. students, left to right top, Nikhil Muralidhar and Gloria Kang; bottom, Stacey Clifton and Davon Woodard

As increasing numbers of people move to cities and become more wired and networked, Ph.D. students across various academic disciplines at Virginia Tech are joining together to focus on how data science can help them find solutions to urban problems. Click here to learn more about these students and their research.



DAC Student Spotlight: Xuchao Zhang

DAC Ph.D. student, Xuchao Zhang

In the era of data explosion, noise and corruption in real-world data caused by accidental outliers, transmission loss, or even adversarial data attacks is inevitable and often results in incorrect data labeling. For example, a negative review in the Internet Movie Database (IMDb) could be mislabeled as positive or an image of a panda might be mislabeled as a gibbon.

Xuchao Zhang, a Ph.D. student in computer science, is focused on solving the problem of mislabeling.

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DAC Student Spotlight: Elaheh Raisi

DAC Ph.D. student, Elaheh Raisi

Elaheh Raisi’s enthusiasm for math dates back to high school. So it was not surprising when Raisi chose applied mathematics as her major at the Amirkabir University of Technology -Tehran Polytechnic.

“I realized early on that mathematics is essential for many practical sciences,” said Raisi. “My aim was to gain a strong knowledge of mathematics that I could use in problem solving.”

During her freshman year Raisi concentrated on mathematics and programming-related courses but after taking some computer science classes, she developed an interest in artificial intelligence. She earned a master’s degree in artificial intelligence at the Science and Research branch of the Islamic Azad University.

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DAC Student Spotlight: Jonathan Baker

Jonathan Baker, DAC Ph.D. student

Jonathan Baker earned a master’s degree in computational and applied math at Rice University in Houston, Texas, in 2015.

When Mark Embree, one of his professors at Rice, returned to his alma mater in Blacksburg to lead the Computational Modeling and Data Analytics program in the College of Science Academy of Integrated Science, Baker did not hesitate to follow him.

“Once I decided that I wanted to pursue a Ph.D. in math,” he said. “I knew the only professor I wanted to continue down that path with was Mark Embree.”

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DAC Student Spotlight: Subhodip Biswas


Screenshot of LCPS map on the crowdsourcing website Biswas created.

Subhodip Biswas, DAC Ph.D. student










The omnipresent activity of school redistricting is driving Ph.D, student Subhodip Biswas’s research at the Discovery Analytics Center.

“Through blogs and news articles, I became aware that school redistricting happens in some US public school systems almost every year,” said Biswas, who earned a bachelor ‘s degree in electronics and telecommunication engineering from Jadavpur University in India in 2014. “It was fascinating to learn how numerous considerations go into designing new school zones.”

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B. Aditya Prakash receives prestigious NSF CAREER Award

B. Aditya Prakash, assistant professor in The Department of Computer Science has received the prestigious Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) Award from the National Science Foundation to find data-driven network strategies to enhance national security and public health. Click here to read ore about Aditya’s award.