Summer Awards Roundup

Compiled by Susie CribbsMonday, September 18, 2023

Our faculty and students routinely earn top honors for their research and teaching excellence. We celebrate their successes and value their contributions to furthering computer science and its related fields.

SCS faculty and students win awards, grants and recognition every day. Here's a look — neither exhaustive nor abbreviated — at who won what over the summer. Keep an eye out this semester for updates. Spot a glaring omission? Email the SCS News team with details.*

The Dean's Business Office also maintains a sortable archive of major faculty honors on the Faculty Awards website.

*Publication is not guaranteed and is subject to the discretion of the SCS News team.

 SCS in General

  • Diya Dinesh, a sophomore computer science and robotics major, was a finalist for the National Center for Women and Information Technology (NCWIT) Aspirations in Computing Program’s NCWIT Collegiate Award.
  • Dongkyun Kim, a junior artificial intelligence major, designed the winning deep learning model in the Computer Vision for Automated Medical Diagnosis Chest X-Rays Long-Tailed Challenge.
  • Assistant Professor of Computer Science and Robotics Matthew O’Toole was part of a research team that received a Best Paper Award at the 2023 ACM Special Interest Group on Computer Graphics and Interactive Techniques for "Split-Lohmann Multifocal Displays."
  • CMU's Plaid Parliament of Pwning — the winningest team in DEF CON's Capture the Flag competition history —  earned its seventh victory in the past 11 years.
  • SCS researchers Aditi Raghunathan, Bryan Wilder and Huan Zhang were named to the inaugural cohort of Schmidt Futures' AI2050 Early Career Fellows.
  • IEEE awarded two Test of Time awards during its 44th Symposium on Security and Privacy, both to papers co-authored by SCS faculty members. The first, "Guess Again (and Again and Again): Measuring Password Strength by Simulating Password-Cracking Algorithms," included SCS faculty members Lujo Bauer, Nicolas Christin and Lorrie Faith Cranor. The second award went to "Pinocchio: Nearly Practical Verifiable Computation," on which Bryan Parno was an author.

 Computational Biology Department

  • Ph.D. candidate Monica Dayao received the Best Oral Presentation TransMed 2023 Award for her presentations at the 31st Annual Intelligent Systems for Molecular Biology and the 22nd Annual European Conference on Computational Biology.
  • Russell Schwartz, professor and department head, was elected a fellow of the International Society of Computational Biology. 

 Computer Science Department

  • Professor Guy Blelloch received the inaugural Parallel Computing Award at the Association for Computing Machinery's Symposium on Parallelism in Algorithms and Architectures.
  • Mor Harchol-Balter, the Dr. Bruce J. Nelson Professor of Computer Science, was elected SIG chair for ACM SIGMETRICS, the ACM Special Interest Group for the computer performance evaluation community.
  • Adjunct Scientist Padmanabhan Pillai earned an ACM SIGMOBILE Test-of-Time Award for his 2001 paper, "Real-Time Dynamic Voltage Scaling for Low-Power Embedded Operating Systems."
  • R. Ravi, the Andris A. Zoltners Professor of Business and professor of operations research and computer science, received a 30-year Special Interest Group on Algorithms and Computation Theory Test-of-Time Award for "When Trees Collide: An Approximation Algorithm for the Generalized Steiner Problem on Networks."
  • An SCS team including Ph.D. student Hugo Sadok and Associate Professor Justine Sherry collaborated with colleagues at Intel, Microsoft and NYU to develop a system that changes how CPUs communicate with network interface cards. The system received both the Jay Lepreau Best Paper award and the Distinguished Artifact Award at the USENIX Symposium on Operating Systems Design and Implementation.
  • The Department of Defense selected Professor Tuomas Sandholm for the 2023 class of Vannevar Bush Faculty Fellows, the department's flagship single-investigator award for basic research.
  • A team of SCS and Meta researchers received a Best Paper Award at the 50th International Symposium on Computer Architecture for their work to drastically improve memory management in datacenters. The team was led by Assistant Professor Dimitrios Skarlatos and included graduate students Kaiyang Zhao, Ziqi Wang and Kaiwen Xue.
  • Assistant Professor Rashmi Vinayak was named the 2023 Goldsmith Lecturer by the IEEE Information Theory Society. The program highlights the technical achievements of early-career women and helps build their professional careers and recognition.
  • Assistant Professor Weina Wang received the 2023 Rising Star Research Award from the Association for Computing Machinery's Special Interest Group for the Computer Performance Evaluation Community.
  • Post-Doctoral Researcher Sam Westrick received the John C. Reynolds Doctoral Dissertation Award from the ACM's Special Interest Group on Programming Languages for "Efficient and Scalable Parallel Functional Programming Through Disentanglement."
  • Computer Science Professor David Woodruff received a 10-year STOC Test-of-Time Award for his paper, "Low Rank Approximation and Regression in Input Sparsity Time."
  • CMU's International Collegiate Programming Contest team beat its U.S. competitors and came in second overall at this year's North America Championship. SCS sophomores Edward Xiao and William Tsin, and master's student Joey Yu represented SCS, while professors Danny Sleator and Richard Peng coached the team.

Human-Computer Interaction Institute

  • Cooper-Siegel Associate Professor Lining Yao and her E-seed research project were among the top 10 finalists for the Falling Walls Science Breakthroughs of the Year in the engineering and technology category.

Language Technologies Institute

  • Professor Justine Cassell received an honorary doctorate from the University of Edinburgh for decades of cutting-edge research on dialogue systems that participate in conversation and storytelling with people.
  • Ph.D. student Sachin Kumar contributed to "Minding Language Models' (Lack of) Theory of Mind: A Plug-and-Play Multi-Character Belief Tracker," which received an Outstanding Paper Award at the Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics (ACL'23).
  • Associate Professor Graham Neubig, Ph.D. students Patrick Fernandes and Emmy Liu, former master's student Kayo Yin and former Ph.D. student André Martins won the Resource Award at ACL'23 for their work, "When Does Translation Require Context? A Data-Driven, Multilingual Exploration."
  • Professor Alex Rudnicky and Ph.D. student Ta-Chung Chi won an Outstanding Paper Award at ACL'23 for their contributions to "Dissecting Transformer Length Extrapolation via the Lens of Receptive Field Analysis." Rudnicky and Chi also joined Ph.D. student Li-Wei Chen on "Latent Positional Information Is in the Self-Attention Variance of Transformer Language Models Without Positional Embeddings," which received an honorable mention.
  • Assistant Professor Maarten Sap and Jenny Liang, a Ph.D. student in the Software and Societal Systems Department, won an Outstanding Paper Award for "NLPositionality: Characterizing Design Biases of Datasets and Models" at ACL'23.
  • Professor Alex Waibel joined the ranks of Neil Armstrong, Sir Edmond Hillary, Teddy Roosevelt and other great trailblazers as a fellow of The Explorers Club.

Machine Learning Department

  • Ph.D. students Lili Chen and Brandon Trabucco were named 2023 National Defense Science and Engineering Graduate fellows by the Department of Defense.
  • Aaditya Ramdas, an assistant professor of machine learning and statistics, received the 2023 Peter Gavin Hall IMS Early Career Prize.

Robotics Institute

  • Zakia Hammal, a systems scientist in the Robotics Institute and an assistant research professor in the Department of Biomedical Engineering, was selected as a finalist for the prestigious Women in AI Awards North America 2023.
  • Systems Scientist Wennie Tabib, Associate Research Professor Nathan Michael, Ph.D. student Kshitij Goel, and alumni John Yao and Curtis Boirum received an honorable mention for the IEEE T-RO King-Sun Fu Memorial Best Paper Award at the 2023 Robotics and Automation Society Award Ceremony for "Autonomous Cave Surveying With an Aerial Robot."

Software and Societal Systems Department

  • Ph.D. student Jenny Liang received the SIGSOFT Distinguished Paper Award at the International Conference for Software Engineering for "A Qualitative Study on the Implementation Design Decisions of Developers." (She also received an Outstanding Paper Award at ALC'23.)
  • Assistant Professor Heather Miller earned the 2023 Dahl-Nygaard Prize for her contributions to the Scala language and its developer community.
  • Lynnette Hui Xian Ng, a Ph.D. student in social computing, earned a Best Ph.D. Paper for 2022 from Information Processing and Management for her work, "Is My Stance the Same as Your Stance? A Cross Validation Study of Stance Detection Datasets."
  • Assistant Professor Rohan Padhye was part of the team that earned the ACM Special Interest Group on Software Engineering Distinguished Paper Award for "Guiding Greybox Fuzzing With Mutation Testing."
  • David Gray Widder, a recent Ph.D. graduate, received the Society for Applied Anthropology's Beatrice Medicine Award for his work on AI supply chain ethics.
For More Information

Aaron Aupperlee | 412-268-9068 |