DAC is home to high-profile research, garnering recognition within and beyond the data analytics community.
Our talented team has been recognized with many competitive research awards and featured in major news and media outlets such as the Wall Street Journal, Newsweek, the Boston Globe and the Chronicle of Higher Education.
Andrew Hoegh, DAC alumni and assistant professor of statistics at Montana State University
After Andrew Hoegh graduated from Virginia Tech with a Ph.D. in statistics in 2016, he headed northwest to Bozeman, Montana, to join Montana State University as assistant professor of statistics. That same year, there was more good news for Hoegh. “Bayesian Model Fusion for Forecasting Civil Unrest,” which he co-authored with his DAC advisor Scotland Leman; DAC Ph.D. student Parang Saraf; and DAC Director Naren Ramakrishnan, garnered the Jack Youden Prize for Best Expository Paper in the 2015 issues of Technometrics, a journal published by the American Statistical Society.
In a recent interview Hoegh talked about life in Montana and reflected back on his time as a DAC Ph.D. student and brought us up to date.
The conference, held in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, provided valuable information and insights related to her research on police socialization and subculture, and community, evidence-based, and predictive policing. Clifton said that what she learned enabled her to further pinpoint her dissertation research interests in intelligence-led policing.
Jia-Bin Huang, assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering and a DAC faculty member
Jia-Bin Huang, an assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering and a DAC faculty member, has received a grant from the National Science Foundation’s Division of Information and Intelligent Systems to develop algorithms to capitalize on the massive amount of free unlabeled images and videos readily available on the internet for representation learning and adaptation.
This approach is in contrast to recent success in visual recognition which relies on training deep neural networks (DNNs) on a large-scale annotated image classification dataset in a fully supervised fashion.
Tanushree Mitra, assistant professor of computer science and a faculty member at DAC
While online communities play a crucial role in spreading conspiracy theories after catastrophic events like mass shootings or a terrorist attack, not much is known about who participates in these event-specific conspiratorial discussions or how they evolve over time.
A new study by Tanushree Mitra, assistant professor of computer science and a faculty member at the Discovery Analytics Center, and Mattia Samory, a postdoc in the Department of Computer Science, identifies three conspiracy cohorts on the Reddit social news aggregation, web content rating, and discussion website and suggests that “joiners“ — who join both Reddit and the conspiracy community only after an event has occurred — show the most extreme signs of distress at the time of an event and exhibit the most radical changes over time.
B. Aditya Prakash, DAC faculty member and assistant professor of computer science.
B. Aditya Prakash, an assistant professor of computer science in the College of Engineering, is being celebrated as one of 10 young stars in the field of artificial intelligence by IEEE Intelligent Systems.
The technical magazine named Prakash, who is also a faculty member at the Discovery Analytics Center, to the prestigious AI’s 10 to Watch list for his contributions to understanding, reasoning, and mining the phenomenon of propagation over networks in diverse real-world systems. Click here to read more about the AI’s 10 to Watch list.
Lata Kodali looks at statistics as a great bridge between theory and application.
“It is also a field that is applicable in a broad spectrum,” she said, “and right now I see myself working in an industry position with a focus on research and design that also encourages creativity.”
Kodali has a bachelor’s degree from Carson-Newman University and a master’s degree from Wake Forest University, both in mathematics. Prior to her Ph.D. work, most of her experience was theoretical rather than applied.
UrbComp students Bryse Flowers (left) and Farnaz Khaghani were on the student team working with WMATA. Behind them is Brian Mayer, project manager and research scientist at the Discovery Analytics Center, who oversaw the study.
Last fall, the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) struck a partnership with Virginia Tech’s graduate program in urban computing for help in predicting its system’s on-time performance (OTP).
The resulting study, by a team of students enrolled in Introduction to Urban Computing, a computer science course in the UrbComp certificate program administered by the Discovery Analytics Center, is one of the first steps in connecting WMATA’s Rush Hour Promise — initiated in January 2018 to provide a refund to any customer delayed by 15 minutes or more during rush hour — to underlying service disruptions, according to Jordan Holt, senior performance analyst at WMATA. Click here to read more about the collaboration.
Michelle Dowling, DAC Ph.D. student in computer science
The desire to combine psychology with her knowledge and expertise in computer science in an interesting and challenging way drew Michelle Dowling toward her current research in human-computer interaction (HCI). This area of study allows her to focus on the cognitive (human) side of research rather than just on programming and computer science.
While exploring graduate program opportunities at Virginia Tech, Dowling, who earned a bachelor’s degree in computer science from Grand Valley State University, met DAC Associate Director Chris North. North introduced her to his research in information visualization and interactive data analytics tools. “I felt it was a perfect fit and decided to join Dr. North in his InfoVis Lab,” Dowling said.