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archiveOutstanding Undergraduate Researchers

2003 Sponsor: Microsoft Research
Mitsubishi Electric Research Labs and Microsoft Research are sponsors in alternate years.

2003 Selection Committee
David Novick, University of Texas at El Paso (Chair); Ran Libeskind-Hadas, Harvey Mudd College; and Frank Tompa, University of Waterloo.

2003Bistra Dilkina

Female Awardee

2003 Outstanding Undergraduate Researcher Award Awardee Senior at Simon Fraser University

Bistra Dilkina is a senior at Simon Fraser University, and will receive a Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science in spring 2003.

Bistra’s research is in artificial intelligence. She has been developing a constraint programming system for solving difficult scheduling problems. In addition to her conceptual contributions, Bistra is the project’s lead programmer. A spin-off company incorporating some of her research results has been formed by Simon Fraser University. The research is being published at the Third International Workshop on Constraint Programming and Belief Revision in Sydney, Australia.

Bistra was awarded a research assistantship in Simon Fraser University’s Intelligent Systems Lab. She has won numerous scholarships and awards, including the International Shrum Scholarship. Bistra is representing her university in the ACM Programming Competition, and helped to prepare training materials for her team. Her extensive record of public service includes work for the St. James Community Service Society, which provides help and shelter to people with mental illness.

2003Omar Khan

Male Awardee

2003 Outstanding Undergraduate Researcher Award Awardee Fourth Year at Cornell University

Omar Khan is in his fourth year at Cornell University. He will receive his Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science in May 2003.

Omar has done significant research in data analysis techniques. He has addressed a wide variety of problems at both the theoretical and implementation levels. Omar’s work involves attempting to cluster all documents in the NEC CiteSeer collection and determining how the clustering changes with time. Omar posed fundamental questions about the nature of structures found by clustering algorithms. He contributed to the development and implementation of a sophisticated clustering technique that he then validated using several independent methods. His range of skills includes theoretical analysis, careful experimentation, and explanation of results. Additionally, he obtained research results in stochastic search and in sensor fusion. Omar and his advisors are now writing papers that will disseminate his work.

Omar ranked first in his class of nearly 700 students at Cornell in his freshman and sophomore years. He has been a teaching assistant and a course consultant at Cornell. He has also been a research assistant at Cornell, a summer research intern at McGill University, a summer research intern at Xerox PARC, and a student researcher and project leader at the Cornell Theory Center. Omar has won national recognition in mock trial competitions. At Cornell University, he was awarded the 2002-03 Frank and Rosa Rhodes Scholarship and has been named to the Dean’s List in every semester of his undergraduate studies. He has participated in a variety of outreach activities with the Cornell Theory Center.

2003Julie Thornton

Female Runner-Up

2003 Outstanding Undergraduate Researcher Runner-Up Senior at Kansas State University

Julie Thornton (Runner-Up) is a senior at Kansas State University. She will receive Bachelor’s degrees in Computer Science and in Mathematics in May 2003.

Julie has contributed to multiple fields in computer science. She has developed and implemented, and has worked on performance evaluation for, sampling algorithms for Bayesian networks. She has worked on computer-aided instruction, creating a critiquing module for a tutoring system for college algebra. And she is currently helping geology faculty by working on using the Fourier transform to rescale digital images to lower resolutions. In her work on designing and implementing sampling-based approximation algorithms for Bayesian networks, she implemented a system, augmented the system with a new adaptive importance sampling design, and instrumented a full suite of experimental tools. She has co-authored two AAAI 2002 student posters, a paper at the 2002 Genetic Evolutionary Computation Conference, and a journal article in preparation.

Julie has served as a lab instructor at Kansas State, teaching classes and training instructors in college algebra, intermediate algebra, and general chemistry. She was awarded research assistantships in both the Department of Mathematics and the Department of Computer Science at Kansas State. Julie co-advised two graduate-student project groups. She has received numerous academic honors and scholarships, including a 2002-03 CRA Collaborative Experience for Women (CREW) award. She has volunteered to help children in a number of programs.

2003Noah Snavely

Male Runner-Up

2003 Outstanding Undergraduate Researcher Runner-Up Senior at University of Arizona

Noah Snavely (Runner-Up) is a senior at the University of Arizona. He will receive a Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science and Mathematics in spring 2003.

Noah is interested in compiler optimization. His work has focused on post-linktime optimization for explicitly parallel instruction computing (EPIC) architectures. He single-handedly ported optimizing software to work on the Intel/HP Itanium architecture in record time, creating the Itanium Link-Time Optimizer. Over the last year, his work has focused on improving the efficiency of the optimized code. He developed a novel approach in which predication can be postponed to late in the compilation process. He has also developed new algorithms for analyzing predicated code and has evaluated their efficiency. He is the lead author of a paper submitted to the ACM/IEEE International Symposium on Code Generation and Optimization.

Noah has been an undergraduate research assistant in both the Department of Mathematics and the Department of Computer Science at the University of Arizona. He maintains a 4.00 grade point average, and was awarded the Helen and John Murphey Foundation Scholarship. He is an avid composer and performer of music. He regularly participated in the Tucson Symphony Orchestra’s Young Composers Project, played the bagpipes at the 2002 World Pipe Band Competition in Glasgow, and performed on the bassoon at Carnegie Hall.

Finalists (Female)

Erin Earl, University of Washington
Kylie Evans, Harvey Mudd College
Kristen Stubbs, University of Minnesota, Twin Cities

Finalists (Male)

Chand John, University of Texas at Austin
Colin McMillen, University of Minnesota, Twin Cities
Alexander Sherstov, Hope College
Yuli Ye, University of Waterloo

Honorable Mentions (Female)

Karen Brennan, University of British Columbia
Stacy Crochet, University of Louisiana, Lafayette
Breanne Duncan, University of New Mexico
Julie Farago, Harvard University
Kimberly Ferguson, University of California, Irvine
Erica Findley, Mississippi State
Leticia Fuentes, University of Texas, El Paso
Archana Ganapathi, University of California, Berkeley
Emily Gibson, College of New Jersey
Rachel Gockley, Carnegie Mellon University
Kristina Holst, Columbia University
Youngji Kim, University of Washington
Tiziana Ligorio, Hunter College
Mahshid Madani, University of New Brunswick, Saint John
Mi Peng, University of Virginia
Hannah Rohde, Brown University
Rachel Smith, University of Texas, El Paso
Mira Stoilova, Harvey Mudd College
Victoria Sweetser, University of Rochester
Lisa Torrey, Dartmouth College
Boriska Toth, Carnegie Mellon University
JenineTurner, University of Rochester
Lauren Wye, University of Virginia

Honorable Mentions (Male)

Colin Bleckner, University of Washington
Christopher Cabanne, University of California, Irvine
Jason Calhoun, James Madison University
Andrew Catton, University of British Columbia
Ryan Caudy, Johns Hopkins University
Ping Chen, University of California, Irvine
Leonard Chung, University of California, Berkeley
Wesley Coelho, University of British Columbia
Daniel Conti, College of the Holy Cross
Michael DeRosa, Dartmouth College
Mark Dredze, Northwestern University
Chris Feng, University of Toronto
Thomas Finley, Duke University
Brett Flegg, University of Waterloo
Meena George, Columbia University
Robert Goretsky, University of Delaware
Ronen Gradwohl, University of California, Berkeley
Benjamin Hosp, Roanoke College
Wojciech Jarosz, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
Sean Jellish, University of Virginia
Adam Kirsch, Brown University
Samson Kwong, University of Washington
Joseph Lammersfeld, University of Notre Dame
Florent Launay, Florida Institute of Technology
Marius Leordeanu, Hunter College
Phillipe Loher, North Carolina State University
Jonathan McCune, University of Virginia
Mahdi Mekic, Lamar University
Edward Miller, Harvey Mudd College
Anton Morozov, Hunter College
Blaine Nelson, University of South Carolina, Columbia
Jonathan Nilsson, University of Maryland, Baltimore Co.
Vijay Reddi, Santa Clara University
Albert Robinson, University of Rochester
Michael Rosulek, Iowa State University
Samir Sapra, Carnegie Mellon University
Jonathan Schmid, University of Rochester
Ben Sigelman, Brown University
Jerry Sun, University of Texas, Austin
Richard Tichy, University of Western Ontario
GilmanTolle, Carnegie Mellon University
Adam White, University of New Brunswick, Saint John
Jerome White, Rensselaer Polytechnic University
Benjamin Wyser, Mississippi State University
David Xiao, Harvard University
Joseph Zadeh, Northwestern University

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