PDL News


December 2009
U Kang and Babis Tsourakakis: ICDM'09 Best Application Paper Award Runner Up

SCS graduate students U Kang and Babis Tsourakakis attracted the Best Applications Paper Award (runner up), at the International Conference on Data Mining (ICDM'09), held this year in Miami, Florida, for their paper: PEGASUS: A Peta-Scale Graph Mining System - Implementation and Observations by U Kang, Charalampos (Babis) Tsourakakis, and Christos Faloutsos, ICDM 2009, Miami FL. The paper was selected from among 70 accepted papers, out of a total of 786 submissions, and it showed how to use 'hadoop' and Yahoo's M45 machine, to analyze one of the largest publicly available graphs (over 100Gb). Moreover, the paper has been invited for fast-track possible publication to the KAIS journal.

November 2009
Tudor Dumitras Awarded John Vlissides Award

Tudor Dumitras was awarded the prestigious John Vlissides Award at the 2009 ACM SIGPLAN International Conference on Object-Oriented Programming, Systems, Languages, and Applications (OOPSLA). This award is given to the doctoral student showing significant promise in applied software research and the most potential for having a significant impact on the practice of software development. Dumitras, who also won the ACM Student Research Competition at OOPSLA 2009, is advised by Priya Narasimhan, associate professor of electrical and computer engineering. For more:
--CMU 8.5x11 News, Nov. 12, 2009

October 2009
Adrian Perrig Wins Award for Innovative Cybersecurity Research

Adrian Perrig was awarded a Security 7 Award from Information Security magazine for innovative cybersecurity research in academia. Perrig, technical director of Carnegie Mellon CyLab, a professor in the departments of Electrical and Computer Engineering and Engineering and Public Policy, and the School of Computer Science, will be recognized in the magazine's October issue. The magazine's editor, Michael S. Mimoso, said the awards recognize the achievements of security practitioners and researchers in a variety of industries, including education. Read more about Perrig, who received his master's degree and Ph.D. at Carnegie Mellon, at
--CMU 8.5x11 News Oct 15, 2009

October 2009
Honorable Mention for Leskovec's Dissertation

Congratulations to Jure Leskovec who has been awarded an honorable mention in the SCS Dissertation of the year competition for his thesis on "Dynamics of Large Networks." We wish him luck as his dissertation is also being submitted as one of Carnegie Mellon's entries for the ACM doctoral dissertation award.

October 2009
Best Paper Award from SOSP'09 in Big Sky, Montana!

Huge congratulations to Amar Phanishayee, Jason Franklin, Lawrence Tan, Vijay Vasudevan and Dave Andersen on their best paper award at the 22nd ACM Symposium on Operating Systems Principles (SOSP '09). Their paper "FAWN: A Fast Array of Wimpy Nodes" presents a new cluster architecture for low-power data-intensive computing.

August 2009
Cranor Receives NSF Funding for Interdisciplinary Doctoral Program in Privacy & Security
Associate Professor Lorrie Cranor and her colleagues received a five-year, $3 million grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to establish a Ph.D. program in usable privacy and security. "Carnegie Mellon's CyLab Usable Privacy and Security (CUPS) Doctoral Training Program will offer Ph.D. students a new cross-disciplinary training experience that helps them produce solutions to ongoing tensions between security, privacy and usability," said Cranor, associate professor in the Institute for Software Research, the Department of Engineering and Public Policy and Carnegie Mellon CyLab. She noted that students will be actively involved in Carnegie Mellon's broad usable privacy and security research, which spans three major approaches: finding ways to build systems that "just work" without involving humans in security-critical functions; finding ways of making secure systems intuitive and easy to use; and finding ways to effectively teach humans how to perform security-critical tasks. For more on the new program, including a list of core faculty, visit
--CMU 8.5x11 News, August 27, 2009

August 2009
Priya follows up the YinzCam with iBurgh

Pittsburgh is the first U.S. city with its own iPhone app. iBurgh, developed by Priya Narasimhan and her research group, allows users to take a picture of civic problems such as potholes, graffiti or other hazards and directly upload them, accompanied by a GPS location, to city council and other municipal administration authorities for review. Pittsburgh iPhone users can find the application at the App Store on their phones or at

Previous to the iBurgh app, Priya and her group launched the YinzCam, another mobile phone app which allows hockey fans to view replays and alternate action angles at Pittsburgh Penguins hockey games on their phones or other handheld WiFi devices.

And to top off all Priya's good news, YinzCam made Network World's top 10 list of sports innovations to love! ( -- slide 10).

August 2009
Nikos Hardavellas Appointed to June & Donald Brewer Chair of EE/CS at Northwestern

Congratulations to Nikos, soon to be June and Donald Brewer Assistant Professor of
Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at Northwestern University. He has been appointed to the endowed chair for a two-year period, September 1, 2009 to August 31, 2011. Along with the title and honor, Prof. Hardavellas will receive a discretionary fund for each of the two years. This chair is awarded to Northwestern University's very best young faculty in the McCormick School of Engineering.

July 2009
Carlos Guestrin Wins Presidential Early Career Award

Carlos Guestrin, the Finmeccanica Assistant Professor of Computer Science and Machine Learning, has won a Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE), the highest honor bestowed by the U.S. government on scientists and engineers beginning their careers. He was nominated by the Department of Defense, which recognized him last year with the Office of Naval Research's Young Investigator Award.
The PECASE program recognizes 100 scientists and engineers who show exceptional potential for leadership at the frontiers of knowledge. "These extraordinarily gifted young scientists and engineers represent the best in our country," President Obama said. "With their talent, creativity and dedication, I am confident that they will lead their fields in new breakthroughs and discoveries and help us use science and technology to lift up our nation and our world."
Guestrin's long-term research interest is developing efficient algorithms and methods for designing, analyzing and controlling complex real-world systems. A painter, Guestrin also explores the intersection of computer science and art. Last semester, he and Visiting Art Professor Osman Khan co-taught "New Media Installation: Art That Learns," an interdisciplinary class in which students created interactive installations that incorporated the learning ability of computers (
For more on the PECASE award and Guestrin's other honors, visit
--CMU 8.5x11 News, July 16, 2009

June 2009
Greg Ganger Earns Prestigious HP Innovation Research Award

Greg Ganger, a professor of electrical and computer engineering and director of the Parallel Data Lab, is among 60 recipients worldwide who received 2009 HP Innovation Research Awards. The award encourages open collaboration with HP Labs for mutually beneficial, high-impact research.

Ganger, who also received an HP Innovation Lab Award in 2008, will lead a research initiative in collaboration with HP Labs focused on data storage infrastructure issues, based on his winning proposal "Toward Scalable Self-Storage."

Ganger was chosen from a group of nearly 300 applicants from more than 140 universities in 29 countries on a range of topics within the eight high-impact research themes at HP labs - analytics, cloud computing, content transformation, digital commercial print, immersive interaction, information management, intelligent infrastructure and sustainability.

Noah Smith, an assistant professor of language technologies and machine learning at CMU, also received this award.

"This award recognizes the ongoing innovative and cutting-edge work that Carnegie Mellon professors bring to all collaborative research efforts," said Mark S. Kamlet, Carnegie Mellon provost and senior vice president. "We are proud of their accomplishments and the vital impact their research will have for a variety of industry sectors."
--CMU 8.5x11 News, June 17, 2009

For more:
Pittsburgh Tribune:

June 2009
Jure Leskovek Wins Doctoral Dissertation Award

Jure Leskovec won the prestigious 2009 SIGKDD Doctoral Dissertation Award from the Association of Computing Machinery's Special Interest Group on Knowledge Discovery and Data Mining for his thesis "Dynamics of Large Networks." He was advised by School of Computer Science Professor Christos Faloutsos, who also advised the 2008 runner-up Jimeng Sun. Leskovec will present a short summary of his work at the SIGKDD Conference in Paris on Sunday, June 28. For more:
--CMU 8.5x11 News, June 4, 2009

May 2009
Polo Chau Selected as Future Thought Leader by Yahoo!

Yahoo! has named four Ph.D. students in the School of Computer Science among 20 winners of its inaugural Key Scientific Challenges program, which recognizes outstanding graduate-student researchers with the potential to become thought leaders in their fields. Polo Chau (advised by Christos Faloutsos) of the Machine Learning Dept. won recognition in the Search Technologies category. Each recipient receives $5,000 in unrestricted seed funding for their research, exclusive access to certain Yahoo! data sets and the opportunity to collaborate directly with Yahoo! scientists. This summer, they will attend a Yahoo! Graduate Student Summit to present and discuss their work with some of the top minds in academia and industry.
--CMU 8.5x11 News, May 14, 2009

April 2009
Michelle Mazurek Named as an ECE Endowed Fellowship Winner

Michelle Mazurek, advised by Greg Ganger and Lujo Bauer, has been awarded the Lamme/Westinghouse ECE Graduate (PhD) Fellowship.

The B.G. Lamme/Westinghouse Graduate Fellowship Fund has given Carnegie Mellon an endowment valued at $1,161,426 that will be used to provide graduate fellowships in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering. Westinghouse Electric established the Lamme Scholarship Fund for graduate study in electrical engineering in 1927 in memory of Westinghouse chief engineer Benjamin Garver Lamme, who died in 1924. Originally, the fund was only to be used for graduate study by Westinghouse engineers. When Westinghouse Electric was dismantled in the late 1990s, Carnegie Mellon was granted this endowment to support fellowships in electrical and computer engineering. With this gift, Westinghouse Electric has contributed more than $3.2 million to the university since 1985.
-- with info from CMU 8.5x11 News

March 2009
University Engineers Create "YinzCam" to give Sports Fans Unique Access

Carnegie Mellon engineering faculty and their students have created a new, unique large-scale mobile wireless video service designed to enhance sports fans' experience at games. "YinzCam" is designed to help fans select and view live video feeds from unique camera angles throughout a sporting arena, according to Priya Narasimhan, associate professor of electrical and computer engineering and director of the university's Mobility Research Center. Rajeev Gandhi, a systems faculty researcher in the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department (ECE) and the Information Networking Institute, said YinzCam was a unique opportunity to apply research in the real world in a tangible, high-impact way.

Spurred by a dramatic rise in the demand for mobility services, the YinzCam gives fans the ability to obtain mobile video, real-time action replays, game-time information, statistics and player bios right from their stadium or arena seats. In collaboration with the Pittsburgh Penguins, the researchers have launched a pilot program at Mellon Arena where hockey fans are using their wi-fi-based devices to enjoy the features of the system.

The work fits nicely with the university's newly created Mobility Research Center, where faculty and students conduct research to improve hardware and software technologies, including studies of how people work, play, shop, collaborate, and how new applications and services can change their lives.
-- CMU 8.5x11 News March 12, 2009

March 2009
Three PDL students Awarded APC Fellowships for Data Center Efficiency Research

Three Carnegie Mellon students have been awarded APC Fellowships for Data Center Efficiency Research. Luca Parolini, a Ph.D. student in electrical and computer engineering, and Vijay Vasudevan and James Cipar, both Ph.D. students in computer science, received fellowships from APC that will cover tuition and stipends (up to $50,000) for one year. The APC Research Fellowships support Carnegie Mellon Ph.D. students with a research focus in the broad area of data center efficiency.

"I am extremely grateful for this recognition by APC because there is so much pressure for industry to cut energy consumption, and the award will support the university's ongoing research into improving data center performance," said Parolini of Padua, Italy.

Vasudevan said he was both excited and proud of the APC Research Data Center Fellowship award. "This is a wonderful honor and I know it will help with my research," said Vasudevan of Palo Alto, Calif. Currently, Vasudevan is building computer clusters that consume only five to six watts of electricity compared with the current industry-wide standard of 300 to 500 watts.

"Improving energy efficiency will continue to be an essential factor in the development and implementation of data center solutions having a critical affect on IT and facilities assets alike," said Robert McKernan, APC's senior vice president and president of APC North America. "The APC Fellowships for Data Center Efficiency Research will enable these Carnegie Mellon University students to research and influence key trends in the critical power and cooling industry."
-- with information from CMU News Press Release, March 4, 2009 and CMU 8.5x11 News, March 5, 2009

February 2009
Polo Chau Receives Symantec Research Labs Fellowship

Polo Chau, a doctoral candidate in the Machine Learning Department in the School of Computer Science, is one of three recipients this year of the Symantec Research Labs Graduate Fellowship, awarded to promising graduate students with a demonstrated interest in solving real-world information security, storage and systems management problems. Chau's research combines the fields of machine learning and human-computer interaction to create visual and interactive graph mining systems that help analysts keep pace with emerging threats by identifying and specifying anomalous patterns and instructing a system to detect them. He was also a recipient of the Symantec Research Labs Graduate Fellowship awarded in June 2008. His research efforts as an intern contributed to the development of Symantec's innovative reputation-based approach to malware detection. The one-year fellowship covers 100 percent of tuition and fees, along with a competitive stipend to fund Chau's ongoing research.
-- CMU 8.5x11 News Feb. 26, 2009

February 2009
Two PDL Students received the IBM Graduate Fellowship

Congratulations to Ryan Johnson, CS and Amar Phanishayee, CS, who have both received an IBM Graduate Fellowship.

IBM's Ph.D. Fellowship Award is an intensely competitive program which honors exceptional Ph.D. students in many academic disciplines and areas of study such as computer science and engineering, electrical and mechanical engineering, physical sciences, mathematical sciences, business sciences, etc. Focus areas of interest include technology that creates new business value, innovative software, new types of computers, and interdisciplinary projects. The IBM Ph.D. Fellowships are awarded worldwide and consist of tuition, fees, and a stipend for one nine-month academic year based on the country in which the student is studying. All IBM Ph.D. Fellows are matched with an IBM Mentor according to their technical interests, and are encouraged to participate in an internship while completing their studies.

January 2009
Narasimhan Wins Carnegie Science Award

Priya Narasimhan, associate professor of electrical and computer engineering, has been awarded a Carnegie Science Center Award, receiving the Emerging Female Scientist Award.

Narasimhan was recognized as a leader and innovator in developing embedded and mobile technologies. Narasimhan and her team of 15 students have developed what they call a “smart football.” By installing a mini GPS unit and accelerometer inside the ball, they can plot the football's progress and landing, even under a pile of players. They've also developed a "smart glove" embedded with 15 sensors in the fingers and palm, which can help determine if a receiver has control of the ball during critical plays. The awards were announced Jan. 29 and will be presented at an awards ceremony May 9 at the Carnegie Music Hall.
-- from Carnegie Mellon News Blog, Winter 2009

January 2009
Carlos Guestrin Receives IJCAI Computers & Thought Award
Carlos Guestrin of the Computer Science & Machine Learning Departments is recipient of the 2009 IJCAI Computers and Thought Award. This award is given every two years to “outstanding young scientists in artificial intelligence.”  Congratulations Carlos!
The IJCAI Computers and Thought Award is presented by the International Joint Conferences on Artificial Intelligence (IJCAI), recognizing outstanding young scientists in artificial intelligence. It was originally funded with royalties received from the book "Computers and Thought" (edited by Edward Feigenbaum and Julian Feldman), and is currently funded by IJCAI.


More PDL news here.s