Recent News & Accomplishments


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Mohammad T. Hajiaghayi , the Jack and Rita G. Minker Professor of Computer Science, has been honored by the University of Waterloo with the 2022 Faculty’s Alumni Achievement Medal in recognition of his outstanding professional accomplishments in academic career, leadership and research. Each year the University of Waterloo recognizes alumni including tech experts, researchers, advocates and business leaders who are making significant contributions to the industries, local communities and the world at large. The award committee unanimously chose Hajiaghayi for the medal in recognition of his...  read more
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Whether it’s scrambling up sheer rock faces, trying to solve a complex problem in the lab, or working long hours to submit an academic paper, Jason Fan is always eager to conquer the next challenge. Fan is a fifth-year computer science doctoral student in the Center for Bioinformatics and Computational Biology (CBCB) focused on designing small, fast, and efficient algorithms and tools for analyzing DNA and RNA sequencing data. He’s also an avid rock climber, participating in collegiate sport and speed competitions as an undergraduate at Tufts University, and nowadays—when time and weather...  read more


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How alum Thomas Geisler transitioned from the U.S. Army to the University of Maryland and a career as a software engineer
In 2013, when many of his friends from the Baltimore area were finishing college or starting their careers, Thomas Geisler found himself in a very different place: a combat zone. In Laghman Province, Afghanistan, even the weather was like nothing Geisler had ever experienced—and not in a good way. “I was in such a dusty place in Afghanistan that when it rained the raindrops would collect dirt on the way down,” Geisler recalled. “I don’t know how many people can say that they’ve gotten caught in a mud rainstorm, but I have, and it’s not pleasant.” Geisler (B.S. ’21, mathematics; B.S. ’21,...  read more
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Heng Huang will be the first Brendan Iribe Endowed Professor in Computer Science
Heng Huang doesn’t merely follow trends in the rapidly evolving field of computer science— he sets them. Huang, who will join the University of Maryland as the inaugural Brendan Iribe Endowed Professor in Computer Science in spring 2023, was the first researcher to propose theoretically guaranteed algorithms for breaking backward locking in backpropagation, which play a central role in optimizing deep learning models. He also pioneered research on asynchronous distributed learning, federated learning and multimodal imaging-omics data integration. His research touches on many aspects of...  read more
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Alum Peter Ersts creates software and solutions for the American Museum of Natural History’s Center for Biodiversity and Conservation
For Peter Ersts (B.S. ’97, computer science), working for the American Museum of Natural History’s Center for Biodiversity and Conservation (CBC) in New York City has meant some extraordinary opportunities and experiences—wild adventures that have taken him all over the world. “One of my favorite places is Palmyra Atoll, which is way out in the middle of the Pacific, and there we were doing sea turtle research, looking at green sea turtles, capturing them and tagging them and taking skin samples for genetic analysis,” Ersts explained. “My other favorite project was in Madagascar, and I was...  read more
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The Maryland Cybersecurity Center (MC2) has established a new travel awards program to support students and postdocs traveling to academic conferences, workshops or other research events focused on cybersecurity or privacy. “Through this award, MC2 is encouraging students and postdocs to think broadly, inspire other communities through their research and be inspired themselves,” says Andreea Alexandru , a postdoc and first recipient of the new award. “This initiative is commendable and can only lead to more impactful research.” The $5K award will support her trip to the IEEE Conference on...  read more
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Two faculty members in the department of Computer Science have each received an award from Meta Research , the science and innovation arm of the social media giant that has more than 2.85 billion users worldwide. Jordan Boyd-Graber , an associate professor of computer science, and Nirupam Roy , an assistant professor of computer science, will each use their Meta funding to further projects that are based in artificial intelligence (AI). Boyd-Graber’s project, “ A Leaderboard and Competition for Human-Computer Adversarial Q&A ,” seeks to create challenging human-in-the-loop (HITL) examples...  read more
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Course Prepares Students to Identify and Halt Internet Threats
The article is republished from Maryland Today. Students sign up for a class with the reasonable expectation that they’ll learn skills they can later practice in their daily lives. In one popular course at the University of Maryland, however, they’re advised to leave some of those practices in the classroom. The one-credit “Intro to Ethical Hacking” teaches undergraduates to break into websites as part of their exploration into the world of cybersecurity—not so they can be online villains, but so they can develop the knowledge needed to defend against malicious hackers. Cybercrime is a severe...  read more
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Researchers affiliated with the Geometric Algorithms for Modeling, Motion, and Animation (GAMMA) group at University of Maryland (UMD) have received a Best Paper Award for their work on a data-driven model and algorithm that can perceive the emotions of individuals based on their walking motion or gait. The paper, “ Learning Gait Emotions Using Affective and Deep Features ,” was presented at the 15th Annual Association for Computer Machinery (ACM) SIGGRAPH Conference on Motion, Interaction and Games ( MIG 2022 ), held from November 3–5 in Guanajuato, Mexico. It describes an innovative method...  read more
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A University of Maryland expert in machine learning has been awarded significant funding by two separate entities to tackle pressing problems in the field. Soheil Feizi , an assistant professor in the Department of Computer Science with an appointment in the University of Maryland Institute for Advanced Computer Studies , is principal investigator of two $300K awards. The first comes from the National Science Foundation’s Division of Computing and Communication, with the goal of understanding robustness via parsimonious structures. Although deep neural networks have led to significant...  read more