News featuring Bijaya Adhikari

Congratulations to DAC’s Spring and Summer Graduates!

Among Virginia Tech graduates celebrating their achievements today include four Ph.D. and five master’s students at the Discovery Analytics Center.

Four Ph.D. students and one master’s student plan to complete degrees during the summer.

“The thoughtful and impactful research our students have engaged in while pursuing their graduate degrees has been recognized by many major academic conferences and is testament to their hard work,” said Naren Ramakrishnan, the Thomas L. Phillips Professor of Engineering and director of the center.

“We are always very proud of our graduates but especially so this year as they have had to persevere through some very unusual circumstances to achieve their goals,” Ramakrishnan said. “We wish them continued success as they venture into new career challenges at universities, research laboratories, and businesses.”

Ph.D. Spring graduates

Bijaya Adhikari, advised by B. Aditya Prakash, is receiving a Ph.D. in computer science. His research interests are data science and machine learning for large networks and data driven epidemiology. The title of his dissertation is “Domain-based Frameworks and Embeddings for Dynamics over Networks.” Adhikari is joining the Department of Computer Science at the University of Iowa in the fall as a tenure track assistant professor.

Tyler Chang, advised by Layne Watson, is receiving a Ph.D. in computer science. His research interests are numerical approximation, optimization, algorithms, parallel computing, data science, and scientific computing. The title of his dissertation is “Mathematical Software for Multi-objective Optimization Problems.” Chang is joining the Mathematics and Computer Science Division at Argonne National Laboratory in Chicago, Illinois. Specifically, he will work in the Laboratory for Applied Mathematics, Numerical Software, and Statistics as a postdoctoral appointee, a group he previously interned with.

Michelle Dowling, advised by Chris North and Mike Horning, is receiving a Ph.D. in computer science. She is also receiving a graduate certificate in urban computing, a National Science Foundation-sponsored program administered through DAC. Dowling’s research interests are human-computer interaction, data analytics, information visualization, and interactive data visualization. The title of her dissertation is “Semantic Interaction for Symmetrical Analysis and Automated Foraging of Documents and Terms.” Dowling is joining Grand Valley State University, her alma mater, as an assistant professor.

Mohammad Raihanul Islam, advised by Naren Ramakrishnan, is receiving a Ph.D. in computer science. His research interests are social network/media analysis, deep learning, and graph neural network. The title of his dissertation is “Detecting and Mitigating Rumors in Social Media.”  Islam is joining Amazon, Inc., as an applied scientist. 

Master’s Spring Graduates


Arjun Choudhry
, advised by Naren Ramakrishnan, is receiving a master’s degree in computer science.  His research interests are narrative generation, blockchain technologies. His thesis is titled “The Art of Simplifying Graph Interpretation: Narrative Generation Using Causal Exploration of Directed Graphs.” Choudhry is joining Amazon, Seattle, as a software development engineer.

Jeffrey McCullen, advised by Chandan Reddy, received a master’s degree in computer science. His research interests are machine learning and data analytics in healthcare, and software engineering.  The title of his thesis is “Predicting the Effects of Sedative Infusion on Acute Traumatic Brain Injury Patients.”

Joseph Messou, advised by Jia-Bin Huang, is receiving a master’s degree in computer engineering. His research interests are computer vision and machine learning, efficient training methods for networks, and cybersecurity. The title of his thesis is “Handling Invalid Pixels in Convolutional Neural Networks.”  In the fall, Messou will be a Ph.D. student in computer engineering at the University of Maryland, College Park.

Shih-Yang Su, advised by Jia-Bin Huang, is receiving a master’s degree in computer engineering. His research interests are machine perception, visual representation learning, and reinforcement learning. His thesis is titled “Learning to Handle Occlusion for Motion Analysis and View Synthesis.” In the fall, Su will be a Ph.D. student in computer science at the University of British Columbia, where his research will focus on learning and understanding human motion for motion synthesis and character animations.

Ming Wang, advised by Chris North, is receiving a master’s degree in computer science. Her research interests are visual analytics and information visualization. Her thesis is titled “Bridging Cognitive Gaps Between User and Model in Interactive Dimension Reduction.” Wang is joining Salesforce as a software engineer.

Summer Ph.D. graduates

Zhiqian (Danny) Chen, advised by Chang-Tien Lu, will complete his Ph.D. in computer science. Chen’s research interests are graph mining, urban computing, network science. The title of his dissertation is “Graph Neural Networks: Techniques and Applications.” Chen will join the Computer Science and Engineering Department at Mississippi State University as assistant professor.

Tianyi Li, advised by Chris North, will complete her Ph.D. in computer science. Her research interests include developing systems for computer-supported cooperative work and devising visual analytics tools with user-centered design to combine and coordinate human and artificial intelligence in broader, real-world sensemaking processes. Her dissertation is titled “Solving Mysteries with Crowds: Supporting Crowdsourced Sensemaking with a Modularized Pipeline and Context Slices.”  Li will be joining Loyola University in Chicago as assistant professor.

Thomas Lux, advised by Layne Watson, will complete his Ph.D. in computer science. His research interests are approximation, optimization, and mathematical software. His dissertation is titled “Interpolants and Error Bounds for Modeling and Predicting Variability in Computer Systems.”

Moeti Masiane, advised by Chris North, will complete his Ph.D. in computer science. He has received a graduate certificate in urban computing, a National Science Foundation-sponsored program administered through DAC. Masiane’s research interests include information visualization, data modeling, insight, sampling, and perception modeling. The title of his dissertation is “Insight Driven Sampling for Interactive Data Intensive Computing.”

Summer master’s graduate

Milad Afzalan, advised by Hoda Eldardiry, will complete his master’s degree in computer science. His research interests include machine learning, pattern recognition, smart grid, and energy efficiency. The title of his thesis is “Household electricity load shape segmentation from smart meter data based on temporal patterns and power magnitude.” Afzalan, who will also be receiving a Ph.D. from Virginia Tech in civil engineering, will join ENGIE as a data scientist.

 

 


DAC Student Spotlight: Bijaya Adhikar

Bijaya Adhikari, DAC Ph.D. student in computer science

Bijaya Adhikari, a Ph.D. student in computer science, was attracted to the Discovery Analytics Center by the opportunity to solve data mining problems that are not only theoretically interesting, but have real-world applications, as well.

Adhikari’s core research focuses on graph mining and topics relating to social network analysis, such as community detection, immunization, influence maximization, and information. His interests also lie in machine learning, theoretical computer science, and algorithms.

Even as an undergraduate, the idea of developing methods for discovering non-obvious, non-trivial, and useful information and knowledge from seemingly arbitrary heap of massive data appealed to him.

“Seemingly unrelated processes like contagious diseases (e.g. flu and ebola) spreading over a population, inaccurate news articles and rumors dissemination over prevalent social networks, and word-of-mouth discussion can all be modeled as propagation over networks,” Adhikari said.

“We know that network structure plays a vital role in facilitating — or inhibiting — these processes,” he said. “So, we can solve many critical problems in the real world from various domains by leveraging graph mining techniques. Both in my past and current research, I have developed data mining tools for a succinct propagation-oriented network.”

Adhikari, who holds a bachelor’s degree in computer engineering from Vistula University in Warsaw, Poland, said that the “prospect of teaming up “with world-class researchers” also led him to DAC. Collaborative research with his advisor, B.Aditya Prakash, other faculty, and fellow Ph.D. students, has been presented at leading conferences and published in journal publications, including SIAM International Conference on Data Mining (SDM); The Web Conference (WWW); Pacific-Asia Conference on Knowledge Discovery and Data Mining; (PAKDD); and IEEE Transactions on Knowledge and Data Engineering (TKDE). (Links to the papers, slides, and codes can be found here.)

Most recently, Adhikari presented “NetGist: Learning to generate task-based network summaries” at the IEEE International Conference on Data Mining (ICDM 2018) in Singapore this past November.

While a DAC student, he gained real-world experience interning at WalmartLabs in Sunnyvale, California. Adhikari was part of the Search and Relevance team which focused on mining relations between queries based on customer’s engagement data. He hopes to graduate in Spring 2020 and continue working in the data mining field.

 

 

 


DAC has strong presence at ICDM 2017

DAC Ph.D. student, Zhiqian Chen, presenting his paper at ICDM 2017.

The Discovery Analytics Center was strongly represented at the IEEE International Conference on Data Mining (ICDM) in New Orleans, Nov. 18-21, with a number of accepted research papers by DAC faculty and students and DAC faculty serving on committees and panels.

Research papers accepted for the conference include:

DAC faculty participation in the ICDM Conference included Chang-Tien Lu serving on the program committee and Naren Ramakrishnan serving as an area chair. Ramakrishnan also co-chaired a panel focusing on ethical and professional issues when dealing with social data with Tanushree (Tanu) Mitra, assistant professor of computer science, as one of the panelists. B. Aditya Prakash was invited to participate as a mentor in the ICDM Ph.D. Forum.

The ICDM has established itself as the world’s premier research conference in data mining. It provides an international forum for presentation of original research results, as well as exchange and dissemination of innovative, practical development experiences. The conference covers all aspects of data mining, including algorithms, software and systems, and applications. ICDM draws researchers and application developers from a wide range of data mining related areas such as statistics, machine learning, pattern recognition, databases and data warehousing, data visualization, knowledge-based systems, and high-performance computing. By promoting novel, high quality research findings, and innovative solutions to challenging data mining problems, the conference seeks to continuously advance the state-of-the-art in data mining. Besides the technical program, the conference features workshops, tutorials, panels.