CS Welcomes Seven New Faculty Members
Seven new faculty members will be joining CS @ ILLINOIS over the coming year. They bring the experience and skills that will ensure the department will continue to excel in its missions of ground-breaking research and exemplary education.
After receiving his PhD in 2013 from the University of Texas at Austin, Assistant Professor Sanmi Koyejo joined the Poldrack Lab at Stanford University as postdoctoral engineering research associate. He will join CS @ ILLINOIS starting in fall 2016.
Koyejo is interested in the development and analysis of statistical machine learning techniques that trade off parsimony, scalability, and performance. His research is applied to various modern big data problems—including the analysis of large scale neuroimaging and genetics data—to address pressing clinical and academic research questions. He is currently developing new tools for mapping human brain networks and their association to behavioral and genetic factors.
Koyejo has been the recipient of several awards, including an outstanding undergraduate student award, a best student paper award from the Conference on Uncertainty in Artificial Intelligence (UAI), and a trainee award from the Organization for Human Brain Mapping (OHBM).
Assistant Professor Ruta Mehta’s research lies at the intersection of theoretical computer science, game theory, and mathematical economics.
In addition to understanding the computability of equilibria, for both market and Nash, and the impact of strategic behavior in multiagent situation, her research is aimed at understanding applications of game theory to evolution, dynamical systems and learning. In particular, her research has brought game theoretic ideas and dynamical system analysis to bear in order to understand the age-old question of genetic evolution under sexual reproduction. She has also explored the fundamental question of efficiently learning economic parameters through observed data.
Prior to a postdoctoral fellowship at Georgia Tech and participation in the Simons Institute’s Economics and Computation Program, Mehta completed her PhD at the Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay, under the guidance of Professor Milind Sohoni. Her thesis was recognized with the 2012 ACM India Doctoral Dissertation Award. In 2014, she received the Best Postdoctoral Research Award from the College of Computing at Georgia Tech. She will start at Illinois in spring 2016.
Assistant Professor Sasa Misailovic received his PhD from MIT in 2015. His research interests span programming languages, software engineering, and computer systems, with an emphasis on investigating approximate computing techniques that can improve performance, energy efficiency, and resilience of programs. He will join the department in fall 2016.
His research focuses on redesigning programming languages and compilers to help developers efficiently construct fast, resilient, and self-adaptive software. In his doctoral research he presented the foundation of a new approach to program optimization: systems that automatically generate approximate versions of programs, successfully trading accuracy of a program’s results for faster and more energy-efficient execution.
His research has received two best paper awards at leading programming languages conferences (OOPSLA 2013 and OOPSLA 2014). He was invited to contribute an article to the Communications of the ACM.
A. Mattox Beckman, Jr., returns to CS @ ILLINOIS as a senior lecturer. He received his PhD from the University of Illinois in 2003, studying partial evaluation and programming languages under then Professor Sam Kamin. His thesis focused on using advising functions to bring stability and control to self-applied online partial evaluators.
Beckman taught at the Illinois Institute of Technology for the past 12 years, where he developed the curricula for the programming languages sequence. He was appointed to the College of Science Distinguished Teaching Fellows in 2012, and worked to improve teaching across the college.
Neal Davis joins CS @ ILLINOIS as a lecturer. He received his PhD in 2013 from the Department of Nuclear, Plasma, and Radiological Engineering at the University of Illinois. His doctoral research involved the simulation of uranium surface chemistry using density functional theory and kinetic Monte Carlo modeling. He also studied chemical engineering and high-performance computing.
Davis has worked with the Computational Science and Engineering program at the University of Illinois on developing, promoting, and teaching best practices for engineering and scientific software. He has also worked closely with Software Carpentry since 2013, teaching open science techniques, reproducibility, and task automation to domain researchers.
At CS @ ILLINOIS, he will continue to promote the communication of key software development concepts and technical best practices between the engineering and computer science communities.
Martin Hellwig is also a new lecturer at CS @ Illinois. He joins the department from the University of Massachusetts in Boston where he was an undergraduate program director and where he taught a wide variety of Information Technology and Computer Science courses. Hellwig is passionate about student centric teaching and has successfully adapted curricula at several institutions to assure the highest student satisfaction and success. One of his primary goals is to reduce entry barriers for traditionally underrepresented groups in STEM.
Hellwig is a proponent of interdisciplinary approaches to both teaching and research. And he leads by example, being involved in a large number of wide ranging interdisciplinary research projects. His work includes, for example, efforts to assess erosion risk and raise public awareness for related environmental concerns using citizen science approaches and disposable computing architecture. Another project models passenger flow in airport terminals in an effort to balance operational efficiency with non-flight revenue generation.
Research Assistant Professor Mark Sammons has been working in CS @ ILLINOIS as a principal research scientist with the Cognitive Computation Group (CCG). His research focuses on Natural Language Processing (NLP) and Understanding (NLU), fields that explore technologies that enable computers to access the semantic content of unstructured text (e.g., reports, emails, articles, discussions). He is working to identify, design, and implement algorithms and software components for core NLP/NLU capabilities that will support general textual inference, together with an overarching inference framework to link distinct component inference tasks.
Sammons is a leading expert in Recognizing Textual Entailment (RTE), a task specification for natural language text inference, and has written two book chapters and co-authored a book on this subject. He is the lead developer of CCG’s Natural Language Processing and Text Analytics suite, which is used both in the academic community and in industry. He has also led CCG’s software development and transfer efforts on two multi-year government-funded research projects, and has participated in CCG teams that submitted top-performing systems addressing the NLP research community’s interests in co-reference resolution, context-sensitive spelling correction, and discourse parsing.
Please join us in welcoming these faculty to the department.