The Siebel Scholars Foundation has named five Carnegie Mellon University graduate students — Joydeep Biswas, Anca Dragan, Anirudh Viswanathan, Pengtao Xie, and Adams Wei Yu — to the 2015 class of Siebel Scholars.
The Siebel Scholars program recognizes the most talented students at the world’s leading graduate schools of business, bioengineering and computer science. They are chosen based on outstanding academic achievement and demonstrated leadership. On average, Siebel Scholars rank in the top five percent of their class, many within the top one percent. Each receives a $35,000 award for their final year of study.
Biswas is a Ph.D. student in the Robotics Institute. Advised by Manuela Veloso, his research interests are primarily in autonomous mobile robots, including autonomous robot localization and multirobot teams. The CoBot robots, running his localization algorithms, have navigated almost 1,000 kilometers in multiple buildings with varied environments. Biswas leads the CMDragons, a RoboCup soccer team from CMU, which placed second among all teams worldwide in the small-size league in 2013 and 2014. He previously received a M.Sc. degree in robotics from Carnegie Mellon University, and a B.Tech degree in engineering physics from the Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay. He has interned at Intel Research in Pittsburgh, and at Google Research in Mountain View, Calif.
Dragan is a Ph.D. candidate at the Robotics Institute, and a member of the Personal Robotics Lab. She was born in Romania and received her B.Sc. in computer science from Jacobs University Bremen in 2009. Her research lies at the intersection of robotics, machine learning and human-computer interaction. She is interested in enabling robots to seamlessly work with and around people. In the past, Dragan has performed research on constrained discrete optimization for timetable scheduling at the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Mathematics, geoprofiling at UCLA, and constrained trajectory optimization for motion planning at Intel Labs Pittsburgh. She is an Intel Ph.D. Fellow, a Dan David Prize Scholar for 2014, a Google Anita Borg Scholar for 2012, and serves as general chair in the Quality of Life Technology Center’s student council.
Viswanathan, a master's student in the Robotics Institute, has conducted research in the Center for Intelligent Systems at P.E.S. Institute of Technology in Bangalore, developing and field-testing vision-based robotic exploration algorithms. His results have been presented at several peer-reviewed, IEEE-sponsored conferences, and published in a respected journal. Viswanathan also worked as an intern at several labs outside of his home university, including two groups at the Indian Institute of Science in Bangalore and an internship at Cisco Systems.
Pengtao Xie is pursuing a master's degree in the Language Technologies Institute. His research interests lie in probabilistic graphical models and distributed machine learning systems. He designed graphical models to solve important problems in machine learning, such as learning distance metrics on multimodal data and integrating document clustering and topic modeling. He works in the intersection between machine learning and computer systems, developing systems to improve the scalability, usability and security of large-scale machine learning. He earned bachelor's and master's degrees in computer science from Sichuan University and Tsinghua University, respectively. He interned at Microsoft Research Redmond this past summer, developing systems that can run machine learning algorithms on encrypted data. He also worked at Microsoft Research Asia on text mining in 2009. Xie received the Goldman Sachs Global Leader Program Scholarship in 2008 for his excellence in academia and leadership. He also earned the National Scholarship of China.
Adams Wei Yu is pursuing his master’s degree in the Language Technologies Institute. The challenges associated with the Big Data era have motivated Yu, and his research interests include statistical machine learning with massive datasets, large‐scale optimization and graph query, with applications in social network analysis, web search and data mining. His coauthored paper was nominated as Best Paper at ICME 2011. He received a master’s degree in computer science at the University of Hong Kong and a bachelor’s degree in applied mathematics at Beihang University. He was a research intern at Microsoft Research Asia, working on how to leverage a huge knowledge base to assist classifying search engine queries.