CS Graduate Students win 2015 Outstanding Graduate Assistant Awards

Five graduate assistants from the department were among the award's distinguished winners.

It was announced Thursday, April 30, that five Computer Science graduate students at the University of Maryland—Ioana Bercea, Mohammad Reza Khani, Matthew Mauriello, Andrew Miller, and Shangfu Peng—were recognized as recipients of the University-wide 2015 Outstanding Graduate Assistant Award. The award, which is awarded to 80 of some 4,000 Graduate Assistants annually, was created by the University's Graduate School "to recognize and honor the outstanding contributions that Graduate Assistants provide to students, faculty, departments, administrative units, and the University as a whole," granting "the honor of being named among the top 2% of campus Graduate Assistants in a given year."

Ioana Bercea's research interests focus on Theoretical Computer Science—namely Combinatorial Optimization, Approximation Algorithms, Randomized Algorithms, and Combinatorics. She holds bachelor's degrees in Mathematics (with Honors) and Computer Science from the University of Chicago, and received a M.Sc. in Computer Science from the University of Maryland in 2013, where she was advised by Professor Aravind Srinivasan. She is currently a PhD student advised by Professor Samir Khuller.

Mohammad Reza Khani is "interested in theoretical aspects of computation in problems motivated from...real world applications." His precise areas of interest include Algorithmic Game Theory, Approximation Algorithms, Hardness of Approximation, Randomization Algorithms, Online and Streaming Algorithms, and Network Design. He studied Computer Engineering at the Amirkabir University of Technology and received a M.Sc. in Computer Science from the University of Alberta. He is currently a PhD student advised by Associate Professor Mohammad Hajiaghayi.

Matthew Mauriello works "to understand the role of technology with respect to personal and societal issues." A PhD student in the Human-Computer Interaction Lab advised by Assistant Professor Jon Froehlich, his activity focuses on "wearables, making, user-experience, and sustainability." He holds a bachelor's degree in Computer Science, a M.Sc. in Computer Science and Applied Mathematics, and an M.B.A. concentrating in Information Technology Management from the University at Albany, State University of New York.

Andrew Miller's topics of study include distributed systems, programming languages, and cryptography, with a particular interest in cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin. He is a PhD student in the Maryland Cybersecurity Center and Programming Language Lab, advised by Professors Jonathan Katz and Michael Hicks and Assistant Professor Elaine Shi. He currently co-teaches CMSC 818I (Science of Crypto-Currency) with Shi, along with co-teaching a massive open online course (MOOC) on Bitcoin and related cryptocurrencies. He is also the cofounder of DapperVision, a consulting company specializing in Computer Vision.

Shangfu Peng's research interests include geographic information systems (GIS), distributed systems, and machine learning. He holds a bachelor's degree in Computer Science from Shanghai Jiao Tong University, where he was advised by Professor Yong Yu. He is currently a PhD student in the University of Maryland Institute for Advanced Computer Studies (UMIACS) advised by Professor Hanan Samet.

All recipients of this prestigious award will be recognized at UMD's Graduate School's Annual Fellowship and Award Celebration next Thursday, May 7, 2015.

The Department welcomes comments, suggestions and corrections.  Send email to editor [at] cs [dot] umd [dot] edu.