Former Graduate Student Soheil Behnezhad Receives Charles A. Caramello Distinguished Dissertation Award

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Former graduate student Soheil Behnezhad was recently announced as the winner of the Charles A. Caramello Distinguished Dissertation Award bestowed by the UMD Graduate School. The award recognizes outstanding original work that makes a significant contribution to the discipline. 

Behnezhad is the first student from the Department of Computer Science to win this prestigious award since it was established in 2011.

His dissertation titled, “Modern Large-Scale Algorithms for Classical Graph Problems,” focused on studying modern computational models that capture the challenges of big data algorithms more accurately, and developed new algorithms for classical graph problems. “Traditional algorithms often have an implicit assumption that the input fits the memory of a single computer. Over the past two decades, however, we have seen more algorithmic problems where the input tends to be, by orders of magnitude, larger than what a single computer can store,” explained Behnezhad. “In my thesis, I revisited several classical graph problems and proposed modern algorithms for them that work against huge inputs.” Behnezhad’s dissertation work was supported by a Google fellowship.

“I am honored to receive the award, especially as it is the first time for the department,” said Behnezhad. 

Behnezhad’s research is centered on studying algorithms in a variety of large-scale computation settings, including massively parallel computation, sublinear time algorithms, graph sparsification, streaming algorithms, and dynamic algorithms. He is currently a Motwani Postdoctoral Fellow at Stanford University and will join the Khoury College of Computer Sciences at Northeastern University as an Assistant Professor in Fall 2022. 

"I am very proud to be Soheil's advisor on his amazing work on big data models and algorithms,” said Mohammad Hajiaghayi, the Jack and Rita G. Minker Professor of Computer Science. "He is very well-deserved for this award. His selection reflects the high quality of graduate students that we have here at the Department of Computer Science for whom now he will serve as a role model." 

The Charles A. Caramello Distinguished Dissertation Award recognizes four awards each year, one in each of the broad disciplinary areas of (i) Mathematics, Physical Sciences, and Engineering; (ii) Social Sciences; (iii) Humanities and Fine Arts and (iv) Biological and Life Sciences.

Behnezhad was also the recipient of the  2021 Larry S. Davis Doctoral Dissertation Award.


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