SCS Faculty Receive NSF CAREER Awards

Byron SpiceFriday, July 6, 2018

SCS faculty members Bernhard Haeupler (top left), Louis-Philippe Morency (top right) and Jean Yang are 2018 recipients of the NSF's Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) award.

Bernhard Haeupler, Louis-Philippe Morency and Jean Yang are the latest School of Computer Science faculty members to receive the National Science Foundation’s prestigious Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) award.

They are among 307 CAREER recipients this year in computer science and engineering in which the NSF has invested $150 million over the next five years, placing their academic careers on firm scientific footing and giving them the opportunity to serve as academic role models in research and education.

Those recipients include Claire Le Goues of the Institute for Software Research and Brandon Lucia of the Computer Science Department (CSD) and the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department, whose awards were announced earlier this year.

Haeupler, an assistant professor in CSD, will receive $560,000 to develop a theory and methods for correcting errors in interactive communications. Coding theory for reliable one-way data transmissions over unreliable channels is well-established, but development of error-correcting codes for the interactive communications that typify modern systems is a much harder task.

Haeupler joined CSD in 2014, after a one-year stint as a post-doctoral researcher at Microsoft Research Silicon Valley. He earned his Ph.D. in computer science at MIT, where his dissertation won the George Sprowls Award for best computer science Ph.D. thesis and, later, the 2014 ACM-EATCS Doctoral Dissertation Award for Distributed Computing.

Morency, assistant professor in the Language Technologies Institute and director of the Multimodal Communication and Machine Learning lab, will receive $550,000 to develop technologies that allow computers to understand subtle nonverbal behaviors of people and to learn the inherent variability between individuals in how those behaviors are expressed. These technologies could aid doctors in assessing mental disorders, help animators develop characters whose behaviors match their personality and assist educators in measuring student engagement.

Morency, who earned his Ph.D. in computer science at MIT, joined LTI in 2015 after serving on the research faculty of the University of Southern California. Earlier this year, he received a three-year Finmeccanica Career Development Professorship in Computer Science. IEEE Intelligent Systems named him one of ''AI’s 10 to Watch'' in 2008. He also received the NetExplo 2014 Award, presented in partnership with the U.N. Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), as one of the year’s 10 most promising digital initiatives.

Yang, an assistant professor in CSD and affiliated faculty in the Computational Biology Department, was awarded $550,000 to develop a new programming model that incorporates a theory of differential privacy. Differential privacy protects individual data values while allowing the release of results of analyses of the data. She proposes a programming framework called Jostle that makes it easier for programmers to implement privacy-preserving analytics by allowing the compiler and runtime, rather than the programmer, to make algorithmic choices that satisfy privacy requirements.

Yang earned her Ph.D. in computer science at MIT in 2015; she joined CSD in 2016 after serving as a post-doctoral researcher at Harvard Medical School. MIT Technology Review named her to its 2016 list of Innovators Under 35 in recognition of her work on programming models that incorporate security.

''We’re delighted to support this cadre of early-career researchers as they embark on long-term research and education activities that will advance the frontiers of our field,'' said Erwin Gianchandani, acting assistant director for Computer and Information Science and Engineering (CISE) at NSF. ''These early-career faculty will catalyze new breakthroughs in computer and information science and engineering that will transform our nation in the years to come.''

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