Category Archives: Computer Science

Computer Theorist Wins $1 Million Turing Award – The New York Times

Computers seem methodical, deliberate and utterly predictable. But they can also behave in ways that are completely random. As researchers build increasingly powerful machines, one key question is: What role will randomness play?

On Wednesday, the Association for Computing Machinery, the worlds largest society of computing professionals, announced that this years Turing Award will go to Avi Wigderson, an Israeli-born mathematician and theoretical computer scientist who specializes in randomness.

Often called the Nobel Prize of computing, the Turing Award comes with a $1 million prize. The award is named for Alan Turing, the British mathematician who helped create the foundations for modern computing in the mid-20th century.

Other recent winners include Ed Catmull and Pat Hanrahan, who helped create the computer-generated imagery, or C.G.I., that drives modern movies and television, and the A.I. researchers Geoffrey Hinton, Yann LeCun and Yoshua Bengio, who nurtured the techniques that gave rise to chatbots like ChatGPT.

Although computers typically behave in deterministic ways meaning they follow a predictable pattern laid down by their creators scientists have also shown that random behavior can help solve some problems. In an interview with The New York Times, Dr. Wigderson said randomness played a role in smartphone applications, cloud computing systems, microprocessors and more.

It is everywhere, he said.

Randomness is essential to cryptography, where unique digital keys are used to lock down data and applications. Algorithms that involve random behavior can also help analyze complex situations, like activity in the stock market, a storm moving across the country or the spread of diseases.

Dr. Wigderson, a mathematics professor at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, N.J., was among a group of academics who published a series of papers that explored the role of randomness in solving extraordinarily hard problems, like predicting the weather or finding a cure for cancer.

The ultimate lesson of this work, said Madhu Sudan, a theoretical computer scientist at Harvard University, is that computers can resolve many complex problems that humans will never completely understand, but some things will remain a mystery, even to machines.

It shows that there are many things we can solve with computers, Dr. Sudan said. It also shows that this progress will not be limitless.

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Computer Theorist Wins $1 Million Turing Award - The New York Times

Avi Wigderson wins $1 million Turing Award for using randomness to change computer science – Livescience.com

The 2023 Turing Award has been given to Avi Wigderson, a mathematician who discovered the strange connection between computation and randomness.

Wigderson was announced the winner of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) A.M. Turing Award, often called the "Nobel Prize of Computing," on April 10, 2024.

The award, given with a prize of $1 million, comes just three years after Wigderson, a professor of mathematics at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, New Jersey, won the 2021 Abel Award for his contributions to computer science. Wigderson's theoretical work has been key to the development of numerous advances in computing, from cloud networks to cryptography methods that underpin cryptocurrencies.

"Wigderson is a towering intellectual force in theoretical computer science, an exciting discipline that attracts some of the most promising young researchers to work on the most difficult challenges," Yannis Ioannidis, president of the ACM, said in a statement. "This year's Turing Award recognizes Wigderson's specific work on randomness, as well as the indirect but substantial impact he has had on the entire field of theoretical computer science."

Related: Scientists uncover hidden math that governs genetic mutations

Computer algorithms are deterministic by nature, which enables them to make predictions but also limits their grasp of the messy randomness found in the real world. In fact, many problems are considered computationally hard, and deterministic algorithms struggle to solve them efficiently.

But Wigderson and his colleague Richard Karp, a computer scientist at the University of California, Berkeley, found a way to tame computational hardness. After inserting randomness into their algorithms, they found that they made some problems much easier to solve.

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Wigderson chased this observation, proving in later work that the reverse also applied: Randomness could always be stripped from probabilistic algorithms to transform them into deterministic ones. His findings illuminated the connection between computational hardness and randomness in ways that reshaped computer science.

"From the earliest days of computer science, researchers have recognized that incorporating randomness was a way to design faster algorithms for a wide range of applications," Jeff Dean, chief scientist at Google Research and Google DeepMind, said in the statement. "Efforts to better understand randomness continue to yield important benefits to our field, and Wigderson has opened new horizons in this area."

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Avi Wigderson wins $1 million Turing Award for using randomness to change computer science - Livescience.com

$1.5 Million Gift to Baylor University Establishes Electrical and Computer Engineering Chair – Baylor University

Contact:Lori Fogleman, Baylor University Media & Public Relations, 254-709-5959 Follow us on Twitter:@BaylorUMedia

WACO, Texas (April 11, 2024) Baylor University today announced a $1.5 million gift from the family of George Heilmeier through the Heilmeier-Jarvie Family Foundation, of Plano, Texas, establishing The George Heilmeier Chair in Electrical and Computer Engineering to attract, retain and support innovative research and teaching within the School of Engineering and Computer Science.

The Heilmeier Chair supports the Materials Science initiative within Baylors strategic planIlluminate and qualifies for matching support through the Give Light campaigns Illuminate Chair Matching Program.The George Heilmeier Chair in Electrical and Computer Engineering is the fourth endowed chair established within the School of Engineering and Computer Science through Give Light.

Baylor University is truly grateful for the Heilmeier-Jarvie familys generous support in establishing an endowed chair in memory and in honor of Dr. George Heilmeier, said Baylor President Linda A. Livingstone, Ph.D. Dr. Heilmeiers impact through his life of service is a compelling example of how innovative, impactful scholarship and research do not require an abandonment of our faith.Faith can inspire, and we are grateful for this timely reminder that honors Dr. Heilmeiers legacy and will support faculty scholars for generations to come.

The Heilmeier Chair was established by the family of George Heilmeier, an electrical engineer renowned for his early career work leading the team of inventors that created liquid crystal displays (LCD) a significant advance in technology that led to todays flat-screen televisions and computer monitors, as well as cell phones and watches.After his successful discoveries in Materials Science, Heilmeier went on to serve his country as director of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) after holding positions as a White House Fellow and special assistant to the Secretary of Defense.

The Heilmeier Chair will support the School of Engineering and Computer Science, with the express purpose of attracting and retaining a distinguished Christian faculty member who will further Baylors mission through innovative research and teaching that addresses the worlds most challenging problems in the fields of electrical and computer engineering.

Our family established this endowment to honor the legacy of my father in terms of the impact of his professional career, and, just as critically, of his Christian faith which animated his life and service, said Heilmeiers daughter Beth Jarvie, B.B.A. 87. My father was a great innovator, but more importantly, he was a man of deep and abiding faith. Providing resourcing and support for faculty looking to follow in his professional footsteps within an institution that continues to chart its course based upon faith and Christian principles is something that my father would be honored to know is connected to his legacy.

Deep and abiding faith

A man of deep faith and strong convictions, George Heilmeier came from humble beginnings as the son of a church janitor and homemaker in Philadelphia. His parents, George and Anna Heilmeier, fostered in their only son a commitment to hard work, an attitude of humility and a foundation of deep and abiding faith that would direct and animate the younger Georges personal and professional life.

Heilmeier, who was valedictorian of his Abraham Lincoln High School class, achieved success at all levels of education,earning his bachelors degree in electrical engineering from the University of Pennsylvania, followed by masters and doctoral degrees from Princeton University. In 1962, Heilmeier married the love of his life and wife of 52 years, Janet Faunce Heilmeier, as he embarked on what would prove to be a highly successful career in the field of Materials Science.

Heilmeiers work as an electrical engineer laid the foundation for many of the technologies that enhance and improve modern life, including his renowned early work in liquid crystal displays while employed at Radio Corporation of America, or RCA, during the 1960s.

We are deeply privileged to be entrusted with an endowed chair position named after Dr. Heilmeier, whose name and work are renowned in this field, said Daniel J. Pack, Ph.D., dean of Baylors School of Engineering and Computer Science. When one considers Dr. Heilmeiers career and life of faith in Christ, along with commitment of the School of Engineering and Computer Sciences to excellence in research and teaching with a Christian worldview, I cant think of a more appropriate home for The George Heilmeier Chair. We are forever grateful to Heilmeier and Jarvie families for this honor.

Deep thinker, mentor

After this success, Heilmeier declined lucrative offers from private industry and instead served his country in the 1970s through the U.S. Department of Defense, ultimately leading as DARPAs director. In this position, Heilmeier managed projects, including stealth aircraft, lasers and artificial intelligence. During this time, he was twice awarded the Department of Defense Distinguished Civilian Service Medal, the highest civilian award given by the department. As a leader, he was known for his commitment to excellence, holding high standards for his employees, while working tirelessly to meet the security needs of the country. He was a deep thinker, who fostered engaging discussions with his staff and those he mentored, guiding them and inspiring a deeper understanding and knowledge of the projects upon which they worked.

After leaving DARPA in 1977 and relocating to Texas for his family, he became the vice president at Texas Instruments, later being promoted to Chief Technical Officer. He later retired from Bellcore, now known as Telcordia, where he led in several roles as CEO and chairman until transitioning to chairman emeritus in 1997.

Beyond his achievements and his service, Heilmeier was known as an unassuming source of support within his community and within his church. A near-constant presence as an usher and greeter, Heilmeier was known for his steady, steadfast faith and humble stewardship of the resources he believed God entrusted to him. At the time of his death in 2014, stories of his quiet generosity to others and of the ways he had ministered to his church community, charities and other institutions illustrated his quiet approach to philanthropy that the family continues to this day through the Heilmeier-Jarvie Family Foundation. George and Janets daughter, Beth Heilmeier Jarvie, works with her mother to honor her fathers legacy through the foundation, which supports scientific advancement and Christian causes.

"As much as my father was committed to scientific discovery and advancing the field where he made such a lasting impact, he felt passionately about his Christian faith and supporting Christian approaches to the issues and needs within the world, Jarvie said. He loved his family, and while he was a constant, caring presence in our lives, his lasting impact comes from the faith that shaped his life and ordered his steps. We are proud to be able to carry on this legacy through our familys foundation and through this gift to Baylor.

Over the course of his career, Heilmeier earned 15 patents and received numerous awards, including the National Academy of Engineering Founders Award, the National Medal of Science, the John Scott Award for Scientific Achievements from the City of Philadelphia, the IEEE Medal of Honor, the Department of Defense Distinguished Civilian Service Medal and the John Fritz Award. In 2005, he also received the Kyoto Prize, Japan's highest private award for lifetime achievement in the arts and sciences.

I am beyond grateful for the life of George Heilmeier, said Steve Jarvie, Beth Jarvies husband. Not only was he a wonderful father-in-law and grandfather, but he also modeled his faith, integrity and devotion to me and our family every day.

The Heilmeier Catechism

As impactful as his contributions were to the fields of Material Science and engineering, Heilmeiers contribution to research and evaluation through the Heilmeier Catechism continues to be a method taught in higher education, governmental entities and scientific settings throughout the world. Created during his time as director at DARPA, Heilmeier crafted the set of eight questions to help agency officials think through and evaluate proposed research programs. Since its development in the late 1970s, the Heilmeier Catechism has been adapted and taught as an evaluative tool in support of everything from doctoral thesis selection to charitable grant decision making to use in government and private business sectors.

"George Heilmeier was living proof that rational scientific discovery and a deep, compassionate faith are not incompatible, said Charles Jarvie, Beth Jarvies father-in-law. He lived his faith every day, and he walked the walk. George shared his faith with his family, to whom he was very close. He fashioned a career that literally affects all of us every day for the better.

At Baylor, the Heilmeier-Jarvie families established the George Heilmeier Chair in Electrical and Computer Engineering to honor Dr. George Heilmeiers memory and the impact of his work on the fields of Materials Science and Electrical and Computer Engineering. The gift for this endowment was made by the familys foundation with the support of Janet Heilmeier, Beth Heilmeier Jarvie and her husband, Steve, B.A. 87, and their three children, Ashley, B.B.A. '15, B.S.N. '16), Megan (TAMU B.A. 13) and Michael (B.B.A. 16, M.A. 16).

Baylor publicly launched the Give Light campaign on Nov. 1, 2018. To date, the campaign has raised $1.48 billion. The campaign has seen 98,358 alumni, parents and friends give to the Universitys priorities, as well as establishing 852 endowed scholarships and 46 endowed faculty positions. For more information or to support the campaign, visit theGive Light: The Campaign for Baylor website.

ABOUT BAYLOR UNIVERSITY

Baylor University is a private Christian University and a nationally ranked Research 1 institution. The University provides a vibrant campus community for more than 20,000 students by blending interdisciplinary research with an international reputation for educational excellence and a faculty commitment to teaching and scholarship. Chartered in 1845 by the Republic of Texas through the efforts of Baptist pioneers, Baylor is the oldest continually operating University in Texas. Located in Waco, Baylor welcomes students from all 50 states and more than 100 countries to study a broad range of degrees among its 12 nationally recognized academic divisions.

ABOUT THE SCHOOL OF ENGINEERING AND COMPUTER SCIENCE AT BAYLOR UNIVERSITY

Baylors School of Engineering and Computer Science (ECS) has been preparing its students for more than 25 years as innovators for worldwide impact by training graduates for professional practice and responsible leadership with a Christian worldview. Students can choose from majors including bioinformatics, computer science, data science, electrical and computer engineering, general engineering and mechanical engineering. ECS also offers graduate programs in all areas of study within the School. We stand out from the crowd through Christian commitment, R1 research, a strong community, personalized career support, expert accessibility, and leading practical experience. Visit theECS website to learn more and follow onInstagram andFacebook.

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$1.5 Million Gift to Baylor University Establishes Electrical and Computer Engineering Chair - Baylor University

Vivek Sarkar Named Dean of Georgia Tech’s College of Computing | News Center – Georgia Tech News Center

Following a national search, Georgia Techs own Vivek Sarkar has been named dean and John P. Imlay Jr. Chair of the College of Computing, effective June 1.

Sarkar brings experience and expertise to the role, having made significant contributions to computing in academia and industry throughout his distinguished career. Most recently, he has served as chair of the School of Computer Science and held the Stephen Fleming Chair for Telecommunications at Georgia Tech.

"We are thrilled to announce Vivek Sarkar as the new dean of the College of Computing," said Steven W. McLaughlin, provost and executive vice president for Academic Affairs. "He is an outstanding leader in the School of Computer Science and will bring that leadership to the entire College. He provides the strongest support for our faculty, staff, and students. I am confident Vivek will bring the College to even greater heights and usher in the next era of computing at Tech.

As a pioneer in his field, Sarkar's work has advanced academic understanding of high-performance computing systems and influenced the development of technologies that shape modern society. His research has led to breakthroughs in parallel computing, making complex computations more efficient and easier to program. In addition to his academic achievements, Sarkar has a passion for mentoring the next generation of computer scientists and engineers. He is committed to fostering diversity and inclusion within the field of computing, ensuring that all individuals have the opportunity to succeed.

"It will be an honor and a privilege to serve as the next dean of the College of Computing," said Sarkar. We have a great community of faculty, staff, students, and alumni, and I look forward to all of us pulling together with the rest of the campus and our external partners to further advance our mission of addressing critical challenges related to computing and its impact on society.

Before joining Georgia Tech, Sarkar served as the E.D. Butcher Chair in Engineering at Rice University, where he was also chair of the Department of Computer Science. Prior to that, he was at IBM Research as a senior manager and a member of the IBM Academy of Technology. Sarkar earned his Ph.D. in computer science from Stanford University and has received numerous awards and honors for his groundbreaking research. He is a fellow of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) and the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers. He has served as a member of the U.S. Department of Energys Advanced Scientific Computing Advisory Committee since 2009, on the Computing Research Associations board of directors from 2015 to 2022, and as a member of the ACM Council since 2022.

Georgia Techs College of Computing is the largest computing program in the country, and one of the most highly ranked: No. 6 in undergraduate and No. 7 in graduate computing education, according to U.S. News & World Report. In the past five years, its enrollment has doubled, and its research budget has risen 83% to $44 million. The College has also added two new schools in the past five years, both the first of their kind: the School of Cybersecurity and Privacy and the School of Computing Instruction.

As dean, Sarkar will oversee the College of Computings extensive portfolio of schools, degree programs, research initiatives, and strategic partnerships, further solidifying Georgia Tech as a global leader in computing education and research.

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Vivek Sarkar Named Dean of Georgia Tech's College of Computing | News Center - Georgia Tech News Center

Johns Hopkins University presents building plans for Data Science and AI Institute to city panel – The Hub at Johns Hopkins

By Hub staff report

Johns Hopkins University on Thursday presented design plans for the Data Science and Artificial Intelligence (DSAI) facility to the Baltimore City Department of Planning's Urban Planning Architecture Advisory Panel (UDAAP).

DSAI, a cornerstone of JHU's Ten for One strategic plan, will be a leading hub for data science and artificial intelligence to drive research and teaching in every corner of the university and magnify our impact in every corner of the world. The institute will bring together world-class experts in artificial intelligence, machine learning, applied mathematics, computer engineering and computer science to fuel data-driven discovery in support of research activities across the institution.

In all, 80 new affiliated faculty will join JHU's Whiting School of Engineering to support the institute's pursuits, in addition to 30 new Bloomberg Distinguished Professors with substantial cross-disciplinary expertise to ensure the impact of the new institute is felt across the university.

The initiative is led by the Whiting School of Engineering and the new facility will sit adjacent to existing engineering buildings on the south side of the Homewood campus. "The basic idea is to place the people who generate the data beside the people who analyze the data," said Whiting School Dean Ed Schlesinger.

The two-building facility will be organized into "neighborhoods," purposely collocating disciplines including bioengineering, materials, energy and environment with thematic wings dedicated to areas such as health and medicine, scientific discovery, and engineering systems. Unlike traditional academic silos, these groupings will create a world-class AI space for cross-disciplinary research and translation and will help establish an innovation district in the heart of Baltimore.

Just this fall, the federal government designated the greater Baltimore region as a "Tech Hub." Through DSAI, Hopkins can make vital contributions to Baltimore's growth as a tech hub, creating long-term jobs, attracting top talent, and spurring the growth of new companies that will compete in one of the world's most promising fields.

"This institute intends to spur a virtuous cycle of new research, product innovation, startups, private investment, and jobs," says Christy Wyskiel, senior adviser to the president for innovation and entrepreneurship. "Our vision is that researchers, entrepreneurs, investors, and companies will look to Baltimore as the place to develop and launch products and companies based on data science and AI technology."

Design architect and architect of record, ZGF, is designing the DSAI facility to appear as a series of smaller buildings arranged along the site, creatively dispersed and rotated to provide setbacks featuring a raised hillside, trees, and rich landscaping along Remington Avenue.

"This is an amazing site, part of the main campus, yet so connected to the experience of Remington," said ZGF design architect Vlad Pajkic. "The building's concept, based on the deliberate and inventive arrangement of thematic research neighborhoods, will give the facility a more human scale, appropriate for its location and its function."

The building will target a USGBC LEED Gold Rating. With on-site energy production and electrification, DSAI will be the Homewood campus' first net zero ready carbon facility (excluding emergency generation as mandated by the City of Baltimore). The design, especially storm water and erosion control, will strictly abide by the city's rigorous Site Plan Review Committee process, which prohibits overcharge into adjacent natural habitats or city infrastructure. No building or associated site work will encroach on the university's Forest Conservation Easement.

This project will include significant improvements to the Remington Avenue streetscape and replace three existing structures: the temporary facility that housed the Early Learning Center since 2015, a chiller plant facility that until recently served the Wyman Park Precinct, and the central plant that served the original Merchant Marine Hospital complex. The new facility and the associated open greenspace will also complement the soon-to-be-completed SNF Agora Institute.

The Whiting-Turner Contracting Company and Mahogany Inc. are managing construction for the project, which is anticipated to add 500 trade jobs to boost Baltimore's economy and will indirectly contribute to thousands of new jobs around the city. In alignment with JHU's HopkinsLocal program, the project will also include 20% MBE/WBE and 20% LBE participation. According to Jeff Hargrave, founder and president of Mahogany Inc.: "Being part of such a transformative project means everything to Mahogany and our city. John Hopkins' commitment to improving our city is truly remarkable."

Preparatory work is scheduled to begin in fall 2024. JHU anticipates the buildings will be occupied by summer 2029.

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Johns Hopkins University presents building plans for Data Science and AI Institute to city panel - The Hub at Johns Hopkins

Four Computer Science students recognized for outstanding research efforts by the Computing Research Association – Illinois Computer Science News

Four computer science undergraduates at The Grainger College of Engineering at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaignreceived national recognition for their research efforts.

OmChabra (Computer Science) was a finalist for the Outstanding Undergraduate Researchers award through the Computing Research Association (CRA). This award was created to recognize students from universities and colleges across North America who show exceptional potential in computer research.

Chabra is working with professor Deepak Vasisht, whose group focuses on designing the next generation of mobile computing and wireless networking systems such as satellite networks, in-body systems and 6G, according to his website. Chabra said their research involves specifically designing a new pipeline that speeds up the ability to detect natural disasters in satellite imagery. Chabra continued to say they hope to leverage the predictability of the satellite to get an idea of which images would most likely have critical information.

Three students received honorable mentions for this award.

Praneet Rathi (Computer Science) mentored by professorHari Sundaram, whose group develops innovative algorithms, builds systems and performs experiments. Rathis work with Sundaram has covered a variety of areas. [It] was about learning representations of items in recommender systems like Amazon that are universalwe can train on one dataset and transfer to another, said Rathi. I also worked on a generative super-resolution model for aerial images with latent diffusion models. Additionally, Rathi has worked on federated reinforcement learning with a group of local agents, some of which can be malicious, and an aggregating server.

Shiv Trivedi (Computer Science) received an honorable mention for their work.Trivedi works with professor Klara Nahrstedt, whose research interests range from communication networks to video systems and cyber-physical systems. Recently, Trivedi has focused on addressing key challenges in digital communication, maintenance optimization and wearable technology through innovative research and practical applications. Trivedis journey started with developing scene graph generation techniques to create an immersive in-person experience in a virtual meeting. This technology ensured interactions between physical and virtual participants in a meeting room left fluid and authentic, said Trivedi.

Xianrui Zhong (Mathematics & Computer Science) also received an honorable mention.Zhong has been working with professor Jiawei Han in areas such as natural language processing, data mining and how to apply them to healthcare and science. Zhong works with ActionIE and has created framework for extracting operation sequences from unstructured scientific literature. This method stands out for its adaptability and configurability, enabling the extraction of operational sequences in a variety of settings a capability not matched by existing state-of-the-art solutions.

Seeing these students receive this recognition leaves a feeling of great pride, according to computer science department head Nancy Amato. The CRA Outstanding Undergraduate Research Awards are the most prestigious national awards for undergraduate researchers in the U.S. and Canada. Having four of our students recognized in a single year is remarkable and speaks to their individual contributions and potential as well as to the opportunities in our department and the focus on mentoring undergraduates of our faculty and their graduate students. I can't wait to see what they do with their careers when they graduate from our programs."

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Four Computer Science students recognized for outstanding research efforts by the Computing Research Association - Illinois Computer Science News

Presenting engineering undergraduate research to legislators: A Q&A with Ahhyun Lee – University of Missouri College of Engineering

April 11, 2024

Ahhyun Lee, a senior studying computer science, is engineering a better world by harnessing the power of emerging technologies to improve medical treatments. She was one of 13 Mizzou students selected to present her research at Undergraduate Research Day at the Capitol last week.

Read on for a Q&A with Lee about her research, which focuses on using artificial intelligence to enhance protein function prediction.

Please introduce yourself.

My name is Ahhyun Lee, a senior majoring in computer science. I am from Busan, South Korea, and I have been actively participating in research projects and various student organizations at Mizzou.

Through the Undergraduate Research Fellowship program within the College of Engineering, I have been able to gain valuable research experiences and in-depth understanding of computer science, particularly in artificial intelligence and its application to bioinformatics. Also, I am currently involved in student organizations such as Mizzou Engineering Student Council, Mizzou Computing Association, Upsilon Pi Epsilon and the College of Engineering Student Ambassadors.

What is your research focus?

My current research focuses on utilizing artificial intelligence (AI) techniques for enhancing protein function prediction. AI is gaining popularity because of its great potential for various applications. I am studying and researching deep learning algorithms, a subfield of AI, to explore various ways of improving precision in protein function prediction in the field of bioinformatics.

How did you become interested in this topic?

As a computer science major, I have become deeply interested in the field of artificial intelligence. With the increasing attention to AI today, the field is being applied to a number of other areas. Since I have also been quite interested in life sciences and health care, learning that the field of computer science, especially AI, can intersect with these domains sparked great motivation in me. The research into protein function prediction that I am currently involved in contributes to advancements in biomedical research and new drug discovery. As an undergraduate student, I still have much to learn to strengthen my knowledge, but being able to do research at the intersection of computer science and bioinformatics gives me a great sense of academic accomplishment.

Are you working with any faculty on the project?

I am currently working with Dr. Jianlin Cheng within the electrical engineering and computer science department. His research interests are in artificial intelligence, bioinformatics and machine learning. I have been working with him since fall 2023 through the Undergraduate Research Fellowship program, and I am gaining valuable research experiences and substantial field knowledge under his guidance.

Can you explain your experiment/project process?

My research aims to enhance protein function prediction using artificial intelligence technology. I am particularly engaged in research on models utilizing deep learning, focusing on protein language models and graph neural networks, which leverage both protein sequences and structural data. I am exploring ways to develop more accurate models by studying and researching various algorithms in collaboration with Dr. Cheng and a graduate student mentor.

What were your findings?

I was able to learn and discover that we can attain improved prediction of protein function through deep learning techniques with protein language models and graph neural networks. Currently, there are various computational methods with different approaches to predict protein functions. However, we have explored ways to utilize both protein sequences and structures, as opposed to conventional methods that primarily rely on protein sequences. This approach resulted in improved and more accurate predictions compared to other deep learning-based methods.

What do you hope people take away from this project?

My research falls within the specific field of protein function prediction. However, to understand this field, it requires knowledge not only in computer science but also some understanding of bioinformatics, biology and artificial intelligence. Through my research, I hope that people will be able to see how current technological advancements can progress through the convergence of various disciplines.

As I integrate my background knowledge into learning about other fields for my research, I want to encourage other students and individuals to utilize their knowledge in various areas to make meaningful contributions to a better life and society.

Why did you want to present your research at the capitol and what did you take away from the experience?

I wanted to share my research experience and show my progress to a wider audience. Undergraduate Research Day at the Capitol was a great opportunity for me to demonstrate my research activity and interact with state legislators and people from different academic backgrounds.

During the event, by presenting my work, I was able to improve my presentation skills and learn how to convey my ideas more effectively to the audience. I was also able to learn about various research studies conducted by other students and witness how vibrant the research community is across the UM System. This research day was an invaluable experience for me to be better prepared for my future career and academic path.

Thank you for sharing!

Get involved in research that can change the world as an undergraduate. Choose Mizzou Engineering!

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Presenting engineering undergraduate research to legislators: A Q&A with Ahhyun Lee - University of Missouri College of Engineering

Technion professor wins ‘Nobel Prize of Computing’ – The Jerusalem Post

Considered to be the Nobel Prize of Computing, the A.M. Turing Award for 2024 will be granted to Prof. Avi Wigderson, a graduate of the Henry and Marilyn Taub Faculty of Computer Science at the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology in Haifa.

The award is an annual prize given by the American Association for Computing Machinery (ACM). The recipient, whose award was announced on Thursday, is a computer science researcher at the Institute for Advanced Study (IAS) at Princeton University in New Jersey.

In June 2023, Wigderson received an honorary doctorate from the Technion for his significant contribution and leadership in the fields of computer science theory and discrete mathematics, including complexity theory, cryptography, expanding graphs, and more; and in gratitude for his long-standing relationship with the Technion, beginning with his undergraduate studies.

The ACM said it granted him the prestigious award for foundational contributions to the theory of computation, including reshaping our understanding of the role of randomness in computation, and for his decades of intellectual leadership in theoretical computer science.

Wigderson, born in Haifa in 1956, completed his undergraduate degree at the Taub Faculty of Computer Science at the Technion in 1980. He went on to earn a masters degree and doctorate at Princeton, where he currently serves as a researcher at the Institute for Advanced Study.

Over the years, he has published hundreds of articles and has won numerous awards and scholarships, including the Alon Fellowship, the Gdel Prize, the Knuth Prize, the Abel Prize, and the Rolf Nevanlinna Prize. Wigderson is also an author. His book, Mathematics and Computation: A Theory Revolutionizing Technology and Science, makes the field of complexity accessible and explains its connections to computer science theory.

Theoretical computer science is concerned with the mathematical underpinnings of the field. It poses questions such as, Is this problem solvable through computation? or, If this problem is solvable through computation, how much time and other resources will be required? It also explores the design of efficient algorithms. Every computing technology in use necessitates algorithms.

Understanding the principles that make for powerful, efficient algorithms can deepen ones understanding not only of computer science, but also of the laws of nature.

While theoretical computer science is known as a field that presents exciting intellectual challenges and is often not directly concerned with improving the practical applications of computing, research breakthroughs in this discipline have led to advances in almost every area of the field from cryptography and computational biology to network design, machine learning, and quantum computing.

Fundamentally, computers are deterministic systems; the set of instructions of an algorithm applied to any given input uniquely determines its computation and, in particular, its output.

In other words, the deterministic algorithm has a predictable pattern. Randomness, by contrast, lacks a well-defined pattern or predictability in events or outcomes.

Because the world we live in seems to be full of random events (weather systems, biological and quantum phenomena, and more), computer scientists have enriched algorithms by allowing them to make random choices in the course of their computation, in the hopes of improving their efficiency. Notably, many problems, for which no efficient deterministic algorithm was known, have been solved efficiently by probabilistic algorithms, albeit with some small probability of error (that can be efficiently reduced).

These, and many other fundamental questions, lie at the heart of understanding randomness and pseudo-randomness in computation. An improved understanding of the dynamics of randomness in computation can lead to the development of better algorithms as well as to a greater understanding of the nature of computation itself.

A pioneer in theoretical computer science research for four decades, Wigderson has made foundational contributions to the understanding of the role of randomness and pseudorandomness in computation.

Computer scientists have discovered a remarkable connection between randomness and computational difficulty (identifying natural problems that have no efficient algorithms). Working with colleagues, Wigderson authored a highly influential series of works on trading hardness for randomness. They proved that, under standard and widely believed computational assumptions, every probabilistic polynomial time algorithm can be efficiently derandomized (namely, made fully deterministic). In other words, randomness is not necessary for efficient computation.

This sequence of works revolutionized the understanding of the role of randomness in computation, and the way one thinks about randomness.

Outside of his work in randomness, Wigderson has been an intellectual leader in several other areas of theoretical computer science, including multi-prover interactive proofs, cryptography, and circuit complexity.

In addition to his groundbreaking technical contributions, Wigderson is recognized as an esteemed mentor and colleague who has advised countless young researchers. His vast knowledge and unrivaled technical proficiency, coupled with his friendliness, enthusiasm, and generosity, have attracted many talented young minds, prompting them to pursue careers in theoretical computer science.

Technion President Prof. Uri Sivan congratulated Wigderson and said, We are very proud of the fact that he is a Technion alumnus with a long-standing connection to our community of researchers. Last year, we conferred on him an honorary doctorate for his groundbreaking contribution to a wide spectrum of subjects, from discrete mathematics to complex cryptography. His winning of the Turing Award proves that the world recognizes his seminal contributions. We congratulate him on this huge honor and rejoice together with him.

Prof. Danny Raz, the dean of the Taub Faculty of Computer Science, added: Prof. Wigdersons immense contributions to the realms of mathematics and computing have earned him international recognition. He serves as a role model for our graduates, embodying the Technion spirit as an alumnus who, since completing his studies, has dedicated his career to advancing human knowledge. A brilliant researcher in both mathematics and computer science; and at their interface, he is truly deserving of this esteemed award.

Its important to point out that Avi Wigderson also received the Abel Prize, which is considered the most important honor for lifetime achievements in the field of mathematics, explained ACM President Yannis Ioannidis.

Being selected for the ACM A.M. Turing Award is a fitting follow-up as mathematics is foundational to computer science and Wigdersons work has connected a wide range of mathematical sub-areas to theoretical computer science.

He is a towering intellectual force in theoretical computer science, an exciting discipline that attracts some of the most promising young researchers to work on the most difficult challenges. This years Turing Award recognizes his specific work on randomness as well as the indirect but substantial impact [Wigderson] has had on the entire field of theoretical computer science, Ioannidis pointed out.

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Technion professor wins 'Nobel Prize of Computing' - The Jerusalem Post

KU students excel in math competitions | KU News – The University of Kansas

LAWRENCE University of Kansas students have tested their mathematical prowess at local, state and national events.

The 41st annual event, sponsored by the Department of Mathematics, took place in March. Open to all KU undergraduates, the written exam for each level covered six questions to be completed in three hours. Cash awards were presented to the top three winners at both levels.

The junior level was open to all undergraduates of non-senior standing and assumes a knowledge of first-year calculus. The winners of the junior level:

First place:Lauren DSouza, a junior inmathematics and computer science from Overland Park.

Second place:Ceres Botkin, a junior inmathematics and economicsfrom Shawnee.

Third place:Braden Troyer, a junior mathematics and French & Italian from Manhattan.

Top first-year student: Kodai Nakae, a freshman in electrical engineering and economics from Singapore.

The senior-level is open to all undergraduates and covers a range of standard topics of undergraduate math. The winner of the senior-level:

First place:Teerapat Saengsubin, a senior inmathematicsfrom Samut Prakan, Thailand.

Second place:Matthew Hunt, a senior inmathematicsfrom Kechi.

Third place:Kashif Khan, a senior inmathematics and chemical engineering from Topeka.

Hailong Dao, professor of mathematics, was in charge of the competition.

KU undergraduate students took first and third place in the team competition at the 2024 Kansas Collegiate Math Competition, which was March 23 at Washburn University. The competition is part of the yearly meeting of the Kansas section of the Mathematical Association of America.

The competition is team-based, with students working together in groups of two or three to complete 10 problems in three hours.Teams fromundergraduate institutions in Kansas took part. Cash awards were given to the top teams.

Members of KUs first-place team were Teerapat Saengsubin; Ansuman Sharma, asophomore in computer science from Visakhapatnam, India; and Shad Ahmed Shahul Hameed, a senior in mathematics and computer science from Kasaragod, India.

Second-place team members were Matthew Hunt; Maral Bat, a sophomore in mathematics and computer science from Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia; and Matvey Tabakh, a junior in accounting from Overland Park.

Reuven Hodges and Yuanqi Wang, professors of mathematics, coached the team and assisted with the competition.

KU students participated along with over 4,000 other undergraduate students in the Mathematical Association of Americas William Lowell Putnam Mathematical Competition. Called one of the toughest math competitions in the world, the Putnam exam is a mathematics competition open to all regularly enrolled undergraduates in colleges and universities in the U.S. and Canada. The competition took place in December. KU has several students who scored very well on the six-hour exam consisting of 12 problems.KUs top three highest-scoring individuals made up the team, which was the highest-scoring team representing the state of Kansas.

KUs students who scored well on the exam are: Liam McKinney (ranked 348), a senior in mathematics and computer science from Lawrence. Teerapat Saengsubin (ranked 580), Ceres Botkin, Matthew Hunt, Shad Ahmed Shahul Hameed and Matvey Tabakh.

Joonha Park and Hodges, professors of mathematics, conducted training sessions for the Putnam exam.

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KU students excel in math competitions | KU News - The University of Kansas

Hebrew University congratulates Professor Avi Wigderson on prestigious 2023 Turing Award – EurekAlert

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Avi Wigderson

Credit: Peter Badge

Hebrew University extends its heartfelt congratulations to former faculty member of Hebrew University Professor Avi Wigderson on being honored with the esteemed Turing Award for his groundbreaking contributions to the field of theoretical computer science.

In response to the announcement, Hebrew University President Prof. Asher Cohen expressed pride in Professor Wigderson's achievements, stating: "We are immensely proud of Professor Avi Wigderson's remarkable accomplishment. His dedication to advancing the frontiers of theoretical computer science exemplifies the spirit of innovation and excellence that we cherish at Hebrew University. This prestigious recognition is a testament to his exceptional talent, intellect, and unwavering commitment to pushing the boundaries of knowledge. On behalf of the entire Hebrew University community, I extend our heartfelt congratulations to Professor Wigderson on this well-deserved honor."

Professor Avi Wigderson, a former faculty member of Hebrew University and currently affiliated with the Institute for Advanced Studys School of Mathematics, has been recognized for his pioneering work in computational complexity theory and algorithms, significantly advancing our understanding of computation and its limits.

Wigderson's research spans various topics within theoretical computer science, including randomness in computation, interactive proof systems, and the power of algebraic methods in algorithm design. His seminal contributions have profoundly impacted various areas of computer science, inspiring generations of researchers and shaping the field's direction.

Prof. Wigderson was a cherished faculty member for nearly 15 years. Notably, quite a few of his groundbreaking papers that earned him acclaim were written during his tenure at Hebrew University. Several of his notable papers were collaborative efforts with colleagues Noam Nisan and Michael Ben-Or. This era marked a dynamic period in theoretical computer science, with Hebrew University emerging as a pivotal hub, largely due to Prof. Wigdersons contributions and presence.

The Turing Award, often referred to as the "Nobel Prize of Computing," is presented annually by the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) to individuals who have made significant contributions of lasting importance to the field of computer science.

Disclaimer: AAAS and EurekAlert! are not responsible for the accuracy of news releases posted to EurekAlert! by contributing institutions or for the use of any information through the EurekAlert system.

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Hebrew University congratulates Professor Avi Wigderson on prestigious 2023 Turing Award - EurekAlert