archiveOutstanding Undergraduate Researchers

2005 Sponsor: Microsoft Research
Mitsubishi Electric Research Labs and Microsoft Research are sponsors in alternate years.

2005 Selection Committee
Kathleen McKeown, Columbia University (Chair); Oscar Garcia, University of North Texas; Hank Korth, Lehigh University; and Ran Libeskind-Hadas, Harvey Mudd College

2005Andrea Grimes

Female Awardee

2005 Outstanding Undergraduate Researcher Award Awardee Senior at Northeastern University

Andrea Grimes is a senior in the Honors Program at Northeastern University, majoring in Computer and Information Science.

Andrea’s research focused on identification and visualization of language patterns in biology papers. She has also done research on the use of support vector machines for classifying diagrams. This research resulted in three published papers, including one as first author that she presented at the IEEE Bioinformatics Conference at Stanford in fall 2003. In the area of human computer interaction, Andrea has investigated the display of information on mobile devices in order to maintain privacy. Andrea has maintained the top GPA in her College (2001-03) and is a member of Phi Kappa Phi National Honors Society and Upsilon Phi Epsilon. She was awarded first- place honors in the Roland E. Lantham Oratory Competition and was chosen as one of two U.S. representatives to the 2004 World Association for Cooperative Education Conference on work-integrated learning.

Andrea gives generously of her time to a variety of service, outreach, and community activities. She serves as a mentor for computer science students at Northeastern, as a mentor for high-school students through a local higher-education resource center, and as a computer-technology instructor for a local inner-city community center. At Northeastern, she is active in the Choral Society and is a member of several gospel groups.

2005Mihai Patrascu

Male Awardee

2005 Outstanding Undergraduate Researcher Award Awardee Junior at MIT

Mihai Patrascu is a junior at MIT, where he majors in Mathematics with Computer Science.

Mihai’s research is in the area of data structures and algorithms. Mihai has solved three major open problems over his three years at MIT: in his freshman year, he solved a problem in data structures that had remained open for the last 20 years—tight upper and lower bounds on the partial-sums problem; in his third semester, he proved logarithmic lower bounds for several problems that were conjectured to require logarithmic time for over 20 years; and in his fourth semester, he made a major breakthrough in dynamic optimality. These and related results have been published in two papers at STOCS and FOCS, the top theory conferences, and in two separate papers at SODA, the premier algorithms conference. His publication record includes an additional four papers.

Mihai also has a perfect academic record, with a 4.0 GPA. Before entering MIT, he received numerous silver and gold medals in Informatics Olympiad competitions. Once at MIT, he worked as a volunteer to help organize the high-school Olympiads in Romania and the Balkans.

2005Jane Lin

Female Runner-Up

2005 Outstanding Undergraduate Researcher Runner-Up Senior at University of Maryland, College Park

Jane Lin is a senior at the University of Maryland, College Park, majoring in computer engineering.

Jane’s research focused on the behavior of solutions to the Boolean Satisfiability (SAT) problem. She designed and implemented a random 3SAT generator that builds 3SAT instances possessing particular properties. Using the generated data, she and her colleagues showed that the hardness of a problem is related to the number of solutions that an instance has. These results were published at AAAI-04. In addition to her research, Jane served as an Undergraduate Teaching Fellow for two semesters. She won the Best Project Award in the NSF-sponsored MERIT program (2003) and the Career and Technology Excellence in Career Technology Internship Award in 2001. She has been on University of Maryland’s Dean’s List and the National Dean’s List (2002-04).

Jane is a Cuong Nhu martial arts instructor at Tzu-Chi/Deh-Ming Chinese School and has been Senior Advisor, Secretary, and Historian of the Chinese Student Association.

2005Suporn Pongnumkul

Female Runner-Up

2005 Outstanding Undergraduate Researcher Runner-Up Senior at Carnegie Mellon University

Suporn Pongnumkul is a senior at Carnegie Mellon University, with a double major in Math and Computer Science.

Suporn’s research addressed the problem of developing and evaluating a new algorithm for the List Update problem. Together with her collaborators, she proposed a new way to evaluate the List Update problem using a method that bridges the gap between competitive analysis and average case analysis. Suporn wrote a simulator to see how the new evaluation method evaluates both their new List Update algorithm and some existing well-known algorithms for the problem. The simulation results show that they have a promising criterion to judge how good a List Update algorithm is in practice. Suporn has also done research in computer vision. She developed a program to detect the status of a stereo receiver by pointing a camera at the stereo’s front panel. Her academic record is strong; she is one of a handful of computer science students at CMU with a 4.0 GPA.

Suporn is active in service; she has served as an academic peer tutor, a lab assistant for a computer cluster, and a grader. She served as treasurer of the Thai Student Association at CMU, and has worked with the Chesapeake Habitat for Humanity in Baltimore and as a volunteer English teacher in Thailand.

2005Aditya Sunderam

Male Runner-Up

2005 Outstanding Undergraduate Researcher Runner-Up Senior at Harvard University

Aditya Sunderam is a senior at Harvard University, majoring in Computer Science and Economics.

Aditya’s research focuses on preference elicitation in multiattribute auctions. He implemented a simulation of a new multiattribute auction proposal and measured its preference elicitation properties. He was the lead author on the resulting paper, published in the ACM Conference on Electronic Commerce, the leading conference in the area. He has recently begun new research in the area of sensor networks using classic methods from market equilibrium.

Aditya has served as a volunteer in Harvard University ExperiMentors (2002-present), in Boston Online Tutoring (mathematics tutoring for elementary students) (2001-02), and in Project Health: Boys Sports and Nutrition program (2003-04). He is active on the Harvard Ultimate Frisbee Team and the Boston Ultimate Disc Alliance, and was a columnist with the Harvard Political Review (2001-02).

Finalists (Female)

Shao-shan Huang, University of British Columbia
Amy Sliva, Georgetown University
Li Yan, York University

Finalists (Male)

Dmitriy Bespalov, Drexel University
Bogdan Caprita, Columbia University
Cary Cherng, University of Washington
Charles Davi, Hunter College CUNY
Jared Go, Carnegie Mellon University
Steve Hanneke, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
Pawel Wrotek, Brown University


Honorable Mentions (Female)

Sarah Bell, Brown University
Stephanie Collett, University of Washington
Katherine Coons, University of Virginia
Shilpa Desai, Carnegie Mellon University
Rui Dong, Harvard University
Neha Jain, North Carolina State
Daphne Liu, Simon Fraser University
Maryam Mahdaviani, University of British Columbia
Ami Malaviya, University of Virginia
Carol Nichols, University of Pittsburgh
Elizabeth Saftalov, Purdue University
Karolina Sarnowska, Mississippi State University
Dong-Hui Xu, DePaul University
Jenny Yuen, University of Washington

Honorable Mentions (Male)

Robert Adolf, Northwestern University 
Achraf Allali, University of South Carolina 
Jesse Attas, University of Waterloo
Peter Barnum, University of Rochester
Nels Beckman, University of Southern California
Bhargav Bhatt, Columbia University
Alan Boyle, Mississippi State University
Christopher Burns, University of Texas at Austin
Daniel Chong, Illinois Institute of Technology
Brian Cornell, Northwestern University
Michael Coupland, Harvey Mudd College
Beau Crawford, University of Washington
Matthew Curry, University of Alabama at Birmingham
Vinayak Deshpande, University of Virginia
Peter Djalaliev, Washington and Lee University
Lior Elazary, University of Southern California
Nick Elprin, Harvard University
Micha Elsner, University of Rochester
Powei Feng, University of Texas at Austin
Robin Friedman, UC San Diego
Zachary Friggstad, University of Lethbridge
Shougata Ghosh, University of Virginia
Erwin Gianchandani, University of Virginia
Steven Hakusa, New York University
Stephen Hanssen, Texas A&M
John Hugg, Tufts University
Tyler Johnson, North Carolina State
Chad Jones, University of Tennessee
Brendan Juba, Carnegie Mellon University
Christopher Kanich, Purdue University
Joseph Kopena, Drexel University
Dustin Kozal, University of Nebraska at Kearney
Srinivas Krishnan, SUNY Brockport
Stanislav Luban, Purdue University
Kenneth MacKay, University of British Columbia
Panayiotis Mavrommatis, MIT
Rory McGuire, University of New Mexico
Patrick Meredith, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
Paul Ralph, Memorial University
Aaron Roth, Columbia University
Jon Sargeant, Arizona State University
Paul Shafer, Cornell University
Najaf Shah, University of Alabama at Birmingham
Leo Singleton, Georgia Tech
David Sontag, UC Berkeley
Brian Tagiku, Harvey Mudd College
Arsalan Tavakoli, University of Virginia
Brian Tran, UC San Diego
Michael Tschantz, Brown University
Matthew Vail, North Carolina State
Minh Vu, University of Arkansas
Nicholas West, New York University
Timothy Williamson, Dartmouth College
Michael Yu, UC Berkeley

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