DAC Student Spotlight: Tian Shi

Tian Shi, DAC Ph.D. student in computer science

When Chandan Reddy, associate professor in computer science, joined the DAC faculty in the National Capital Region in August 2016, one of his Ph.D. students, Tian Shi, moved right along with him.

“I feel very lucky to be Dr. Reddy’s student. He has helped me very much in both my research and life,” said Shi.

A Ph.D. in computer science will be the second Ph.D. for Shi.  His first, from Wayne State, is in physical chemistry.

Shi’s research was in theoretical and computational chemistry built upon quantum mechanics, statistical physics, and ab initio calculations. Various projects led him to computer science, where he found an interest in data mining, machine learning, and data visualization. Continue reading…

Focus on Alex Endert…..a DAC alumnus interview

Alex Endert, DAC Ph.D. alumnus and an assistant professor in the School of Interactive Computing at Georgia Tech

While a student at DAC, Alex Endert (Ph.D. computer science 2012) worked with his advisor Chris North on a user interaction technique for visual analytics (semantic interaction) that helped adjust analytic models by computing on simple, well-understood interactions. For example, by highlighting a phrase of text or grouping a pile of documents adjusts underlying algorithms they can help people without data science training make sense of large amounts of text quickly. This line of research ultimately led to Endert’s dissertation, and grounds much of his research today.

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DAC Student Spotlight: Yue Ning

Yue Ning, DAC Ph.D. student in computer science

“Working in data science and machine learning is exciting, but it is even more exciting when science helps us solve real-world challenges,” said Yue Ning, a Ph.D. student in the computer science department.

The opportunity to be involved in high impact research drew Ning to Virginia Tech and DAC. “I am fortunate and honored to be working with Dr. Naren Ramakrishnan, who is one of the leading researchers in data analytics and applied machine learning,” she said.

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Tanu Mitra awarded NSF grant to study how people relate to online news

Tanushree Mitra, DAC faculty member and assistant professor of CS

Tanushree (Tanu) Mitra, an assistant professor of computer science and a DAC faculty member, has received a grant from the National Science Foundation supported by the Division of Information and Intelligent Systems to lead a study that will use social computing and human-centered approaches to better understand the relationship between people and technology in the context of online news.

“The aim is to provide new perspectives that address digital misinformation by focusing on how we can establish differences between mainstream sources and misleading sources of online news and how we can nudge people to be more careful and conscious consumers of online news,” said Mitra.

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Research teams led by junior faculty win seed funding for new projects

Tanushree Mitra, DAC faculty member and assistant professor of CS

Congratulations to Tanushree Mitra, a winner in the latest round of Junior Faculty Awards from the Institute for Critical Technology and Applied Science.

Mitra, a faculty member at the Discovery Analytics Center and assistant professor in the Virginia Tech – Department of Computer Science, will lead, with James Hawdon at the Virginia Tech College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences, a study on the language of online extremism: Computational models for discovery and analysis of framing around extremists’ narratives. Click here to read more about Mitra’s award.

DAC Student Spotlight: Raja Phanindra Chava

“You have to work every day at being the best you can be. It is a project that is never-ending.”

These are Raja Phanindra Chava’s own words — and his inspiration —  as he pursues an M.S. in computer engineering.

“I believe that learning is a constant process throughout life to achieve excellence,” said Chava, “and it is my primary driving force.”



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DAC Student Spotlight: Yuliang Zou

DAC Ph.D. student, Yuliang Zou

Do you think working with image and video would make an interesting career?

Yuliang Zou definitely does. The first-year Ph.D. student — who would like to join the research arm of a major company one day — is researching computer vision, trying to teach computers to analyze and think like a human when they are given visual data like still images, RGB-D data, or video sequences.

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UrbComp student team takes second place in Pamplin ethics competition

Students and judges at 2018 Data Ethics Case Competition are (front row) Rob Day, Techlab; Stacey Clifton; and Matt Slifko; (back row) Rich Wokutch, professor of management; Davon Woodard; and John Grant, Palantir.

Three Ph.D. students in the Urban Computing Certificate (UrbComp) program decided that the 2018 Data Ethics Case Competition would be a good way to apply what they have been learning in one of the program’s courses, GRAD 5134: Ethics and Professionalism in Data Science, this spring.

So they teamed up to enter the competition, sponsored by the Center for Business Intelligence & Analytics, which bridges classroom learning with a real-life situation and important questions for the future and encourages diverse trans-disciplinary teams.

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Urban computing program provides Ph.D. students with valuable skills to address problems faced by cities

UrbComp Ph.D. students, left to right top, Nikhil Muralidhar and Gloria Kang; bottom, Stacey Clifton and Davon Woodard

As increasing numbers of people move to cities and become more wired and networked, Ph.D. students across various academic disciplines at Virginia Tech are joining together to focus on how data science can help them find solutions to urban problems. Click here to learn more about these students and their research.



DAC Student Spotlight: Xuchao Zhang

DAC Ph.D. student, Xuchao Zhang

In the era of data explosion, noise and corruption in real-world data caused by accidental outliers, transmission loss, or even adversarial data attacks is inevitable and often results in incorrect data labeling. For example, a negative review in the Internet Movie Database (IMDb) could be mislabeled as positive or an image of a panda might be mislabeled as a gibbon.

Xuchao Zhang, a Ph.D. student in computer science, is focused on solving the problem of mislabeling.

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