Sanghani Center students spend summer months gaining real-world experience at companies, labs, and organizations across the country


Yue Feng, a Ph.D. student in electrical and computer engineering, is an intern with the Snap Research Creative Vision Team in Santa Monica, California.

With restrictions to working in physical office space still in effect, graduate students at the Sanghani Center are working remotely this summer for companies, labs, and programs from coast to coast. Students are not only gaining real-world experience from internships and other opportunities but, in many cases, they are also able to advance their own research interests.

Following is a list of Sanghani Center students and the work they are doing:

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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:

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UrbComp program team receives Alumni Award for Outreach Excellence

In this 2019 photo Colin Flynn, Vicki Keegan, and Susan Hembach from Loudoun County Public Schools meet at the Sanghani Center for Artificial Intelligence and Data Analytics with Ph.D. students Andreea Sistrunk, Subhodip Biswas, and Fanglan Chen to discuss how Redistrict is helping to establish school attendance zones. 

A multidisciplinary faculty team has garnered the Virginia Tech 2021 Alumni Award for Outreach Excellence for developing and administering the Urban Computing (UrbComp) program that trains graduate students in the latest methods of analyzing massive datasets to study key issues facing urban populations while emphasizing ethical and societal issues for practicing responsible data science.

The award, announced today by the university, accompanied by a $2,000 monetary award, is funded through the university’s Alumni Association and managed and administered by the Commission on Outreach and International Affairs.

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Sanghani Center Student Spotlight: Ping Wang

 Graphic is from the paper “Text-to-SQL Generation for Question Answering on Electronic Medical Records”

In 2016, Ping Wang followed her advisor, Chandan Reddy, from Wayne State University, where she received a master’s degree in computer science, to Virginia Tech and the Sanghani Center.

Her area of interest is healthcare systems, which are undergoing many changes in the era of big data.

“Advances in artificial intelligence and digitization in healthcare have enabled healthcare providers to effectively sift through tremendous amounts of medical information,” said Wang. “My first research project in this direction was about survival analysis and my advisor Dr. Reddy and other group members provided many useful suggestions and help at the initial stage. After further investigation, I found that there are still many unique challenges in the healthcare domain. I hope to leverage my expertise in data mining and machine learning to solve real-world challenges and advance healthcare applications.”

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Sanghani Center Student Spotlight: Nurendra Choudhary

Graphic is from the paper 
“Self-Supervised Hyperboloid Representations Logical Queries over Knowledge Graphs”

Nurendra Choudhary was an applied science intern with the Amazon Search Team in Palo Alto, California, last summer where he worked on representation learning of products by leveraging the heterogeneous relations between them.

At The Web Conference 2021 last week, Choudhary, a Ph.D. student in computer science at the Sanghani Center, presented “Self-Supervised Hyperboloid Representations Logical Queries over Knowledge Graphs,” his research with data scientists at Amazon and his advisor Chandan Reddy.

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Sanghani Center welcomes new faculty member Ruoxi Jia

Ruoxi Jia, assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering and Sanghani Center faculty member

Ruoxi Jia, who joined the Bradley Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Virginia Tech as assistant professor in 2020, is the newest faculty member at the Sanghani Center for Artificial Intelligence and Data Analytics.

Jia’s research interest broadly spans the areas of machine learning, security, privacy, and cyber-physical systems. Her recent work focuses on building algorithmic foundations for data markets and developing trustworthy machine learning solutions. Towards that end, she and her group work on a range of projects, including data valuation and quality management, data privacy, active data acquisition, adversarial machine learning, and explainable machine learning.  

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Hoda Eldardiry receives Early Career Science Award from Purdue University

Hoda Eldardiry, associate professor in the Department of Computer Science and faculty member at the Sanghani Center

Hoda Eldardiry, associate professor in the Department of Computer Science and faculty at the Sanghani Center for Artificial Intelligence and Data Analytics, has received an Early Career Science Award from her alma mater, Purdue University. The award is granted to alumni who have graduated in the last 10 years or are under the age of 40 and who illustrate promise of becoming a leader among their peers.

She was honored during a Distinguished Science Awards virtual event hosted by the Purdue University College of Science on April 14.

Eldardiry, who earned a master’s (2006) and PhD (2012) in computer science, in addition to an MBA (2011), was recognized for “enormous contributions to artificial intelligence and the computing research community at large.” Her research on artificial intelligence has led to the development of AI and machine learning that tackle complicated modern issues such as fraudulent medical claims, cyber threat protection, and sensors that can assist with panic attacks.

She has published over 35 peer-reviewed papers and holds 19 patents. She has managed research projects for government and commercial sectors with her own share of the awards exceeding $12 million.

Her other honors include the Creative Young Engineer Award and the Xerox Innovation Group Research Recognition Award for Advancing the Edge of Innovation.

Determined to support tomorrow’s future scientists, Eldardiry has also served as a professional mentor for the U.S. State Department TechWomen Program, a Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs initiative to combine global business, technology, and education power.


Sanghani Center Student Spotlight: Xinyue Wang

Graphic is from the paper “The Case For Alternative Web Archival Formats To Expedite The Data-To-Insight Cycle”

Xinyue Wang was an undergraduate research assistant involved in artificial intelligence and digital library research at the University of North Texas when he had occasion to connect with Edward Fox, professor in Virginia Tech’s Department of Computer Science and faculty at the Sanghani Center and Zhiwu Xie, a professor at University Libraries.

The two are now Wang’s co-advisors as he pursues a Ph.D. in computer science at Virginia Tech. “They are wonderful people and I am grateful to be able to learn from them and work with them,” he said.

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Data scientists combat hate crimes and other violence

Research associates Brian Mayer (top) and Nathan Self (bottom) meet virtually to review targeted violence events on the dashboard developed by the Sanghani Center.

About the series: Every complex problem has many multidisciplinary angles. Leveraging expertise and energy, Virginia Tech faculty and students serve humanity by addressing the world’s most difficult problems.

With risk of political and targeted violence on the rise across the United States, national and local leaders are asking Princeton University’s nonpartisan Bridging Divides Initiative (BDI) to provide them with more timely, reliable, and context-specific data on targeted violence events that could help them engage locally and better inform their policy decisions. 

As part of their response to this plea, BDI’s team of Princeton social scientists collaborated with data scientists at the Sanghani Center for Artificial Intelligence and Data Analytics to identify targeted violence events. These often include hate crimes and other incidents that target individuals because of their race, religion, sexual orientation, or other perceived characteristics. Click here to read more about this research.


Sanghani Center welcomes new faculty member Ismini Lourentzou

Ismini Lourentzou, assistant professor of computer science and Sanghani Center faculty member

The Sanghani Center for Artificial Intelligence and Data Analytics welcomes new faculty member Ismini Lourentzou, who joined the Virginia Tech Department of Computer Science as assistant professor in the Spring 2021 semester.

Lourentzou most recently served as a research scientist at IBM Almaden Research Center where she worked on machine learning, natural language processing, and information retrieval problems. In 2019, she was recognized with an IBM Invention Achievement Award and was selected to participate in Rising Stars in EECS.

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