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archiveOutstanding Undergraduate Researchers

2007 Sponsor: Microsoft Research
Mitsubishi Electric Research Labs and Microsoft Research are sponsors in alternate years.

2007 Selection Committee
Richard Waters (Mitsubishi Electric Research Labs), Chair; Anne Condon (University of British Columbia); Dorothy Deremer (Montclair State University); Dinesh Mehta (Colorado School of Mines); and Melissa O'Neill (Harvey Mudd College)

2007Stephanie Rosenthal

Female Awardee

2007 Outstanding Undergraduate Researcher Award Awardee Senior at Carnegie Mellon University

Stephanie Rosenthal is a senior at Carnegie Mellon University majoring in Computer Science.

Stephanie’s initial research at CMU was on social robotics and led to two publications. More recently, she has done research on collaborative learning. She investigated potential interfaces for use with interactive whiteboards and designed and ran a set of experiments about issues in collaboration, which resulted in a first-authored publication.

Stephanie’s interest in robotics goes back to high school. While completing her senior year of high school she also worked at the Naval Research Lab where she did research on social robotics. At CMU, Stephanie has been active in student government and is a student member of two curriculum review committees. She has been very involved in recruiting and maintaining female participation in computer science. Since her freshman year, Stephanie has been an active member of the Women@SCS program and has organized their Big Sister/Little Sister mentoring program.

2007Lester Mackey

Male Awardee

2007 Outstanding Undergraduate Researcher Award Awardee Senior at Princeton University

Lester Mackey is a senior at Princeton University majoring in Computer Science.

Lester’s main research efforts concern developing formal techniques for proving that software produces correct results, even when the hardware in the presence of intermittent hardware faults. He and his group at Princeton have been working on developing the first compiler system that can automatically produce proofs that the code it generates runs correctly on faulty hardware. This work has led to multiple conference papers (one published already, one submitted and one in preparation) for which Lester is a key author.

In addition to doing high-quality research, Lester has been very active in helping his fellow students. He is a Resident College tutor for struggling students and a member of the computer science undergraduate student council. He is a member of the Chapel Choir and active in Princeton’s Music Outreach Program, as well as being a prize-winning author and a senior staff member of The Prism, a magazine that promotes diversity.

2007Ana Pop

Female Runner-Up

2007 Outstanding Undergraduate Researcher Runner-Up Senior at University of British Columbia

Ana Pop is a senior at the University of British Columbia majoring in Computer Engineering.

Her research has been on the computational prediction of the structure of bio-molecules based on physical models rather than on comparative techniques. She implemented a dynamic programming algorithm for RNA secondary structure prediction. In completely separate work she has done research on the ‘nonbacktracking spectrum’ of graphs. The work has led to interesting results, which have been submitted as a short paper to Experimental Mathematics.

Ana completed high school in only two years, and has continued rapid advancement by immersing herself in graduate-level research since early in her college career. At UBC, she has received hard-to-get scholarships from both General Motors and IBM.

2007Kristal Sauer

Female Runner-Up

2007 Outstanding Undergraduate Researcher Runner-Up Senior at University of Nevada Las Vegas

Kristal Sauer is a senior at the University of Nevada Las Vegas with a dual major in Computer Science and Electrical Engineering.

For the past several years, Kristal has been involved in a NASA-sponsored research project involving Human-Computer Interaction via hand pose reconstruction. Her work has focused on developing mathematically-based algorithms for camera calibration, as well as implementing statistical pattern-recognition techniques for computer vision. Though only an undergraduate, Kristal has become the chief programmer for the grant. Her work has resulted in four publications, one of which is first-authored.

Kristal has a near-perfect GPA and is on track to complete all the requirements for both a CS and an EE degree in five years. She has been a strong member of research teams formed primarily of graduate students since early in her time at UNLV.

2007Matei Zaharia

Male Runner-Up

2007 Outstanding Undergraduate Researcher Runner-Up Senior at University of Waterloo

Matei Zaharia is a senior at the University of Waterloo majoring in Computer Science.

Matei’s research has focused on two areas related to networking—peer-to-peer systems and wireless networking. He has worked on efficient search algorithms for peer-to-peer networks, and improving recall in large, unmanaged, user-content storage systems in the presence of spelling errors. This work has lead to two publications, one of which is first-authored. His current work is on communication protocols that can maintain sessions across disconnections.

In addition to maintaining a near-perfect GPA, Matei has been very active and successful in programming contests. During high school, he won a silver medal two years in a row at the International Olympiad of Informatics. At Waterloo, he was twice a member of teams participating in the ACM programming championship. In the first year his team tied for 15th in the world, and in the second year his team placed 4th in the world and 1st in North America. Competing individually, he placed 15th (out of 14,500) at the Google Code Jam.

Finalists (Female)


Donya Quick, Southern Methodist University
Olga Russakovsky, Stanford University
Ekaterina Spriggs, University of Arizona

Finalists (Male)


Thomas Achtemichuk, Pace University
Jason Ansel, Northeastern University
Benjamin Hindman, University of Washington
Michael Kasick, Carnegie Mellon University
Mihir Kedia, Carnegie Mellon University
Abninder Litt, University of Waterloo
Alexander Rush, Harvard University

Honorable Mentions (Female)


Azza Abouzied, Dalhousie University
Oluwabukola Akinbo, University of South Florida
Jessica Chang, University of Maryland, College Park
Kristina Chodorow, New York University
Kelly Conway, Cornell University
Daria Craciunoiu, University of Washington
Tamara Denning, University of California, San Diego
Holly Esquivel, University of Nebraska at Kearney
Kathy Goodson, Harvard University
Ranjitha Kumar, Stanford University
Tracy Lau, University of British Columbia
Katherine Trushkowsky, Duke University
Tracy Wang, University of California, Berkeley
Jessica Young, Roanoke College 

Honorable Mentions (Male)


Adam Aviv, Columbia University
Bryan Boyd, Texas A&M University
Robert Carroll, University of Washington
Maxime Chevalier-Boisvert, McGill University
Robert Cleric, University of Pittsburgh
Henry Cook, University of Virginia
Mihai Cucuringu, Hiram College
Alexei Czeskis, Purdue University
William Dabney, University of Oklahoma
Charles de Granville, University of Oklahoma
Patrick Donovan, McGill University
John Duchi, Stanford University
Robert Dyer, Iowa State University
Matthew Fisher, California Institute of Technology
Daniel Fridrich, Duke University
Yannick Gingras, Université du Québec à Montréal
Anthony Gitter, Arizona State University
Kevin Grimaldi, University of Massachusetts Amherst
Matthew Harper, Michigan Technological University
Evan Herbst, Cornell University
Jui-Yi Kao, University of Waterloo
Anirudh Koul, Dalhousie University
Hai-Son Le, University of Texas at Austin
Daniel Leventhal, Brown University
Tyler Lu, University of Waterloo
Matthew Marzilli, University of Massachusetts Amherst
Pyry Matikainen, Harvey Mudd College
Daniel McFarlin, Indiana University
Brendan Meeder, Carnegie Mellon University
Leo Meyerovich, Brown University
Greg Nicholas, University of Pittsburgh
Ryan Stutsman, Purdue University
Sergei Temkin, Belmont University
David Turner, Drexel University
Adam Vogel, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Vladislav Voroninski, University of California, Los Angeles
David Weiss, Princeton University
Andrew Wiser, University of California, Santa Cruz
Haoqi Zhang, Harvard University

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