Anandkumar receives AFOSR Young Investigator Award

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Center member Prof. Anima Anandkumar received a 3-year grant, Learning Mixed Membership Community Models: A Statistical and a Computational Framework, from the Air Force Office of Scientific Research, as part of its Young Investigator Research Program. The YIP is open to scientists and engineers who received their Ph.D. within the last five years, and show exceptional ability and promise for conducting basic research. Its objective is to foster creative basic research in science and engineering, enhance early career development of outstanding young investigators, and increase opportunities for the young investigators to recognize the Air Force mission and the related challenges in science and engineering.

Mjolsness named American Association for the Advancement of Science fellow

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Center member and Professor of Computer Science Eric Mjolsness has been been made a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science for his distinguished contributions to the fields of computer science and biology, particularly for new computational models of gene regulation (networks of genes that turn each other on, off or partly on) and resulting technologies. For more details, see here.

Baldi, Kobsa, Mark receive Google Faculty Research Awards

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Three ICS professors have received a Google Faculty Research Award as part of Google’s biannual open call for proposals in computer science, engineering and related fields. Computer science Chancellor’s Professor Pierre Baldi, informatics and computer science professor Alfred Kobsa and informatics professor Gloria Mark join several other ICS faculty who have received the award in recent years. Read more

Tomlinson, Patterson receive $400,000 NSF grant for crowdsourcing and food security project

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The National Science Foundation (NSF) has awarded informatics professor Bill Tomlinson $400,000 for his project “Fostering Non-Expert Creation of Sustainable Polycultures through Crowdsourced Data Synthesis.” Associate professor Donald Patterson and Assistant Professor of Crop Sciences at the University of Illinois Sarah Taylor Lovell serve as co-principal investigators.

The project integrates research in computing and sustainability science with the goal of enabling a new approach to sustainable food security. By combining cyber-human systems and crowdsourcing research with the science of agroecology, the project seeks to develop an understanding of how online design tools may contribute to sustainability through enhanced local food production; to use the process of populating a plant species database as an instance of a class of problems amenable to intelligent crowdsourcing; and to pioneer new knowledge in crowdsourcing optimization.

According to the project abstract, “The work will contribute to long-term food security and offer lessons, concepts, methods, and software tools that may be transferable to other sustainability challenges.”

The award is part of the Cyber-Innovation for Sustainability Science and Engineering (CyberSEES) program at NSF, and is funded through the Division of Computing and Communication Foundations (CCF), which supports research and education projects that explore the foundations of computing and communication devices and their usage. According to the CCF website, “CCF-supported projects also investigate revolutionary computing models and technologies based on emerging scientific ideas and integrate research and education activities to prepare future generations of computer science and engineering workers.”

Lee uses crowdsourcing to predict World Cup outcome

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Center member and Professor of Cognitive Science Michael Lee, in partnership with
Ranker, are using the wisdom of the crowd to predict the outcome of the World Cup. Lee and his collaborators developed a model that integrates multiple sources of ranking information available from participating individuals, along with bracket information, to make an overall prediction on each country’s likelihood of winning. See their blog post for more information.

Update: After the tournament, Lee and his collaborators have also analyzed their performance relative to other World Cup prediction models.

‘Deep learning’ makes search for exotic particles easier

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UCI researchers develop computing techniques that could aid hunt for Higgs bosons. Fully automated .deep learning. by computers greatly improves the odds of discovering particles such as the Higgs boson, beating even veteran physicists. abilities, according to findings by UC Irvine researchers published today in the journal Nature Communications. Read more

Smyth to head new Data Science Initiative

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Center member and Professor of Computer Science Padhraic Smyth has been named the director of a new campus-wide initiative with a focus on coordinating and linking the activities of researchers and students across campus involved in various aspects of data science. UCI’s Data Science Initiative was initiative was started on July 1, 2014 and is sponsored by the Provost through the Office of Academic Initiatives. Find out more here.

Anandkumar Receives ‘Early-Career’ Sloan Research Fellowship

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Center member Anima Anandkumar, an assistant professor of electrical engineering and computer science, has been awarded a 2014 Sloan Research Fellowship for her work at the interface of theory and practice of large-scale machine learning and high-dimensional statistics. Bestowed annually since 1955 by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, the two-year fellowships go to 126 early-career scientists and scholars in the U.S. and Canada whose achievements and potential identify them as the next generation of scientific leaders. Read more here.