2022 CS Annual Award Winners | News & Events | Computer Science

Every single educational year, Northwestern CS honors school, staff members, and pupils who supplied outstanding provider to the office or excelled in analysis jobs.

“One of the joys of becoming a department chair is asserting the annual awards,” claimed Samir Khuller, Peter and Adrienne Barris Chair of Personal computer Science at Northwestern Engineering. “The deep bench of nominations demonstrates the fantastic function occurring all around us — pupils mentoring learners, team and school engaged in mentoring and supporting the local community, and pupils excelling in the spots they are passionate about.”

Xinyu Xing, affiliate professor of laptop or computer science at the McCormick University of Engineering, coordinated the nomination submission course of action with the guidance of the awards committee.

Team Heroes: Pam Villalovoz and Katie Winters

Organization coordinator Pam Villalovoz and business administrator Katie Winters earned Employees Hero awards for their integral roles in the everyday administration of division routines, like functions and recruitment visits. 


Villalovoz managed the challenging hybrid-format logistics of hosting 2-3 candidates and guests to the department each and every week, making sure that company had a favourable and seamless practical experience.

“Candidates and website visitors commented frequently on how perfectly seemed just after they ended up by Pam,” Khuller said.

Winters oversees the Northwestern CS administrative group, and college nominators noted her attention to detail, promptness in dealing with concerns, and the in general level of professionalism she provides to the job.

“We are without a doubt fortunate to have Katie functioning our business enterprise operations, Khuller said.

Teacher of the 12 months: Branden Ghena

Branden GhenaAssistant professor of instruction Branden Ghena taught numerous courses this yr, such as COMP_SCI 211: Fundamentals of Laptop Programming II COMP_SCI 213: Intro to Laptop Techniques COMP_SCI 343: Functioning Techniques and COMP_ENG 346: Microprocessor Technique Design.

In addition, Ghena taught COMP_SCI 397, 497: Wi-fi Protocols for the Net of Matters, a program he launched in winter 2021 to provide students with equally the specialized knowledge of the abilities and limitations of wi-fi networks and the sensible knowledge of using wireless protocols for Net of Items systems.

“In my instruction, I test to join back again to the bigger image. In engineering and the sciences, we often invest a great deal of time understanding pretty specific and vital particulars, which we refer to as getting ‘deep in the weeds,’” Ghena explained. “But it is really just as crucial to concentrate on how CS programs are setting up off every other and combining to create a deeper comprehending. I check out to make guaranteed that each and every lecture has at least a tiny little bit of even larger photograph in phrases of impacts and why the things we’re discovering about subject.”



Ghena also connects computer science to other disciplines. 



“CS just isn’t just about computing for computing’s sake,” Ghena claimed. “It can be a software for enhancing lives and furthering knowledge in several fields. I hope tying to other disciplines will help learners see the intriguing and valuable facets of CS.”

Faculty Service Award: Nikos Hardavellas

Nikos HardavellasNikos Hardavellas, associate professor of computer system science and electrical and pc engineering, was identified with the College Services Award for top the department’s comprehensive faculty recruitment application.

In between December and June, the department acquired 450 applications and invited 30 candidates for interviews and campus visits.  The recruitment committee met 2 times a 7 days for several months, speaking with candidates, discussing comments, and producing selections.

“Nikos ran the lookup flawlessly, making guaranteed everybody experienced time to mirror on candidates and deliver enter,” Khuller mentioned. “Progress was manufactured just about every week.”

Exploration Mentor Award: Xiao Wang

Xiao WangAssistant professor of laptop or computer science Xiao Wang gained the award for his commitment to mentoring and guiding pupils. University student nominators famous Wang’s eagerness to fulfill regularly, share profession suggestions, and supply assistance on applying to graduate university.

“Doing exploration is not only about passing down know-how but a lot more of an angle of determination,” Wang said. “I hope they can all benefit from the latter.”

Wang’s commitment to mentoring learners is primarily based in aspect on his individual experience of getting mentored by college in the course of graduate university.

“My PhD mentor Jonathan Katz is a great mentor and has appreciably motivated how I mentor learners,” Wang said. “I acquired from him to be respectful, equal, and helpful when guiding pupils in their investigation, specially considering that from time to time carrying out investigate can be stressful.”

PhD College student Investigation Award: Liren Shan

Liren ShanLiren Shan is a fourth-12 months PhD student in the Northwestern CS Theory Group encouraged by Konstantin Makarychev, professor of computer science. Shan aims to style algorithms for knowledge investigation and conclusion-making.

The concentrate of Shan’s investigation facilities close to clustering complications. Widely employed in facts assessment and machine learning algorithms, clustering partitions info into groups dependent on similarity. He developed new algorithms for explainable clustering, a type of clustering that can be effortlessly recognized by a human staying.

“Since many critical conclusions are uncovered by info-driven algorithms, explainable clustering can assist us to make extra interpretable conclusions,” Shan reported.



Shan and a Northwestern Engineering workforce together with Jason Hartline, professor of laptop science Yingkai Li (PhD ’22), and computer system science PhD student Yifan Wu launched an optimization framework pertinent for programs that include things like peer grading, peer prediction, and test scoring.



In addition, Shan and collaborators at Purdue College and the KTH Royal Institute of Technology proposed algorithmic approaches connected to COVID-19 quarantine methods and the allocation of medical means primarily based on speak to tracing knowledge.

Following completion of the PhD application, Shan plans to apply for a postdoctoral or investigate place at a primary college or analysis lab to continue performing on important problems in computer science.  

University student Heroes: Aldo Aguilar and Ayobami Bolaji

Aldo Aguilar, a fourth-year pc science scholar, and Ayobami Bolaji (’22) ended up acknowledged for heading “above and over and above the connect with of duty” as peer mentors and collaborating as energetic members of the CS community.

Aldo Aguilar

Aldo AguilarTo begin with a saxophone effectiveness and mathematics big, Aguilar switched to the computer science system and joined the Interactive Audio Lab (IAL) led by Bryan Pardo, professor of pc science at Northwestern Engineering and of radio/tv/movie in the School of Communication.

“I’ve taken a little bit of an unconventional path to get in which I am, and to be identified by the office assists me sense assured that the path I’m building for myself can work out,” Aguilar explained. “I’m extremely honored.” 

Aguilar collaborates with Hugo Flores García, a PhD university student in laptop science in IAL, on study projects at the intersection of machine discovering, human-laptop conversation, and digital signal processing. They are now studying AI-pushed, inclusive audio modifying interfaces for audio producers and audio engineers who are blind or visually impaired.

Aguilar has served as a mentor for various courses over the past 4 yrs, including COMP_SCI 111: Fundamentals of Computer system Programming I COMP_SCI 211 COMP_SCI 213 COMP_SCI 214: Details Constructions and Algorithms COMP_SCI 349: Equipment Mastering COMP_SCI 396: Modeling Relationships with Causal Inference and COMP_SCI 396, 496: Deep Learning.

“I like to facilitate the students’ pursuit of discovering,” Aguilar claimed. “My target is to enable pupils make development in their assignments while clearing up any confusion and supporting to break down concepts from the training course.”
 
Aguilar strives to assistance join individuals with identical passions, make some others truly feel welcome, and assistance many others locate their pc science connected pursuits and niches.

“I want to give back again to the CS local community as a great deal as it has specified to me,” Aguilar said.

Aguilar is at this time a computer software engineering intern at MonogDB. Immediately after finishing his coursework in the drop, he plans to use to PhD packages in human-personal computer interaction and machine mastering. 



Ayobami Bolaji

Ayobami BolajiBolaji’s goal as a peer mentor for COMP_SCI 111 and COMP_SCI 150: Fundamentals of Personal computer Programming 1.5 was to use his practical experience and information to be of support to his fellow classmates.



“A mentor advises, supports, and encourages their mentees. But a peer mentor is also a peer, and our friends are people today we can relate to, people that are at this time in a comparable stroll of lifetime,” Bolaji mentioned. “A peer mentor is an individual that can also be a buddy, someone you hang out with exterior of course.” 



Bolaji performed soccer with some of his mentees. He emphasized the significance of studying and developing connections in higher education.



“It’s critical to get concerned inside the CS group, or any neighborhood actually, due to the fact that’s how you discover and link with other folks,” Bolaji reported. “I’m a rather shy man or woman by nature, but peer mentoring and staying an active participant in lessons gave me opportunities to get concerned.”

Bolaji ideas to operate as a application engineer at Grubhub and to proceed studying about subject areas which include programming languages, deep discovering, and personal computer networking.



“I hope to keep on to serve others in a significant way,” Bolaji explained.