skip to main content

Sun, Williams Join Illinois Computer Science Faculty

2/14/2020 4:16:43 PM Colin Robertson, Illinois CS

This spring, two new professors have joined Illinois Computer Science, boosting the total number of new faculty in the department to ten for the current academic year.

These latest additions strengthen the department’s family of talented researchers and educators by providing expertise in artificial intelligence for healthcare as well as in creating bridge programs to make advanced CS degrees more accessible.

Professor Jimeng Sun

Professor Jimeng Sun
Professor Jimeng Sun

By creating artificial intelligence algorithms, systems, and applications, Jimeng Sun seeks to solve important problem

s related to healthcare. He is particularly focused on deep learning for drug discovery, clinical trial optimization, computational phenotyping, clinical preventative modeling, treatment recommendations, and health monitoring. At Illinois, Sun plans to develop “Deep Learning for Healthcare,” a course for the online MCS and MCS in Data Science programs.

Prior to joining Illinois, Sun spent six years as an associate professor in the College of Computing at the Georgia Institute of Technology.  He also has industry experience, with six years at IBM’s T.J. Watson Research Center, where he led research on predictive modeling technology for personalized disease risk assessment.

Sun earned a PhD in 2007 and an MS in 2006, both in computer science from Carnegie Mellon University. Before that, he received two degrees in computer science from the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology: an MPhil in 2003 and a BS in 2002.

He is a recipient of an SDM/IBM Early Career Research Award (2017), a Georgia Tech IDEAS Award (2015), a Best Health Connect South Collaboration Award (2015), IBM Research Accomplishment Awards for Intelligent Care Delivery Analysis (2013) and Service Quality Research (2009), and Best Paper Awards at ICDM’08 and SDM’07.  In 2013, he was named an IBM Master Inventor, and, in 2008, he was SIGKDD Dissertation Award Runner-Up.

Teaching Professor and Director of Onramp Programs Tiffani Williams

As director of Northeastern University’s Align Program, Tiffani Williams helped students who did not have backgrounds in CS find a path to a Master of Computer Science degree.

Teaching Professor and Director of Onramp Programs Tiffani Williams
Teaching Professor and Director of Onramp Programs Tiffani Williams

At Illinois, Williams will direct similar efforts to make advanced CS degrees accessible to students who did not study CS as undergraduates. This new bridge program is envisioned to launch on campus in Urbana before potentially expanding online and, through space at the Discovery Partners Institute, to Chicago. In order to assist people who want to transition to careers in technology, Facebook has provided funding to help establish the new program.

Williams earned a PhD from the University of Central Florida in 2000 after completing a BS from Marquette University in 1994, both in computer science.  Prior to joining Northeastern University in 2017, Williams was an associate professor of Computer Science and Engineering at Texas A&M University, with research focused on computational biology. From 2001 to 2004, she was a postdoctoral fellow at the University of New Mexico.

Her honors include a Radcliffe Institute Fellowship (2004) and an Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Postdoctoral Fellowship in Computational Biology (2002). In 2011, she received the Denice Denton Emerging Leader ABIE Award. At Texas A&M, she won three awards for teaching excellence: the Graduate Faculty Teaching Excellence Award (Department of CSE, 2011), Undergraduate Faculty Teaching Excellence Award (Department of CSE, 2014), and the Distinguished Award in Teaching by the Association of Former Students (College of Engineering, 2016).