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Junior Wins One of Two National Cyber Defense Scholarships

9/9/2011 5:45:00 AM

University of Illinois computer science junior Gavin Owens was one of only two undergraduate students selected as a winner of the AFCEA Cyber Studies & Intelligence scholarship.  The scholarship honors excellence among students pursuing academic degrees in cyber security, cyber-attack, computer science, information technology, or electronic engineering.

from left: Prof. Margaret Fleck, Gavin Owens, Prof. Lenny Pitt
from left: Prof. Margaret Fleck, Gavin Owens, Prof. Lenny Pitt
from left: Prof. Margaret Fleck, Gavin Owens, Prof. Lenny Pitt

Owens’ interest in computer science lies at the intersection of neuroscience and computer science. Currently pursuing a track in computational science and engineering with neuroscience and bioengineering minors planned, Owens is conducting analysis of EEG data using MATLAB as part of his work at the Beckman Institute Neuroimaging Lab. Owens is also an active participant in the undergraduate neuroscience society on campus.

“The brain provides wonderful insights on how to solve problems that are costly and difficult to implement with today's computer systems,” says Owens. “The best example of this would be neural networks’ known efficiency for visual pattern recognition tasks. Likewise, computer systems can hasten discoveries within neuroscience. This will require techniques to manage massive databases and handle said data, subsequently inspiring new methods in information technology. Through this ‘complementary feedback approach’ I believe I can contribute to breakthroughs that will improve the way people communicate and manipulate the flow of information.”

Owens envisions that future results of such cross-disciplinary work may include effective brain-machine interfaces that improve the way people communicate and manipulate the flow of information.