Four Computer Science students recognized for outstanding research efforts by the Computing Research Association

4/10/2024 Cassandra Smith

Written by Cassandra Smith

Computing Research Association (CRA)Four computer science undergraduates at The Grainger College of Engineering at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign received national recognition for their research efforts. 

Om Chabra (Computer Science) was a finalist for the “Outstanding Undergraduate Researchers” award through the Computing Research Association (CRA). This award was created to recognize students from universities and colleges across North America who show exceptional potential in computer research. 

Chabra is working with professor Deepak Vasisht, whose group focuses on “designing the next generation of mobile computing and wireless networking systems such as satellite networks, in-body systems and 6G,” according to his website. Chabra said their research involves “specifically designing a new pipeline that speeds up the ability to detect natural disasters in satellite imagery.” Chabra continued to say they hope to leverage the predictability of the satellite to get an idea of which images would most likely have critical information. 

Three students received honorable mentions for this award.

Praneet Rathi (Computer Science) mentored by professor Hari Sundaram, whose group “develops innovative algorithms, builds systems and performs experiments.” Rathi’s work with Sundaram has covered a variety of areas. “[It] was about learning representations of items in recommender systems like Amazon that are universal—we can train on one dataset and transfer to another,” said Rathi. “I also worked on a generative super-resolution model for aerial images with latent diffusion models.” Additionally, Rathi has worked on federated reinforcement learning “with a group of local agents, some of which can be malicious, and an aggregating server.” 

Shiv Trivedi (Computer Science) received an honorable mention for their work. Trivedi works with professor Klara Nahrstedt, whose research interests range from communication networks to video systems and cyber-physical systems. Recently, Trivedi has focused on “addressing key challenges in digital communication, maintenance optimization and wearable technology through innovative research and practical applications.” Trivedi’s journey started with developing scene graph generation techniques to create an immersive “in-person” experience in a virtual meeting. “This technology ensured interactions between physical and virtual participants in a meeting room left fluid and authentic,” said Trivedi. 

Xianrui Zhong (Mathematics & Computer Science) also received an honorable mention. Zhong has been working with professor Jiawei Han in areas such as natural language processing, data mining and how to apply them to healthcare and science. Zhong works with ActionIE and has created framework for extracting operation sequences from unstructured scientific literature. “This method stands out for its adaptability and configurability, enabling the extraction of operational sequences in a variety of settings –a capability not matched by existing state-of-the-art solutions. 

Seeing these students receive this recognition leaves a feeling of great pride, according to computer science department head Nancy Amato. “The CRA Outstanding Undergraduate Research Awards are the most prestigious national awards for undergraduate researchers in the U.S. and Canada. Having four of our students recognized in a single year is remarkable and speaks to their individual contributions and potential as well as to the opportunities in our department and the focus on mentoring undergraduates of our faculty and their graduate students. I can't wait to see what they do with their careers when they graduate from our programs." 

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This story was published April 10, 2024.