Each year since 2005, Microsoft Research has awarded Microsoft Research Faculty Fellowships to promising, early-career academics who are engaged in innovative computing research and have the potential to make significant advances in the state of the art. These fellowships—which include a cash award and access to software, invitations to conferences, and engagements with Microsoft Research—allow bright young academics to devote their time to pushing the boundaries of computer science research, freed from the distraction of grinding out grant proposals.
So it is with immense pleasure that we announce the 2014 Faculty Fellows: seven young professors from around the world who are exploring groundbreaking, high-impact research—the kind of research that has the potential to solve seemingly intractable societal problems. They now join the more than 50 talented academics who have received our past Faculty Fellowships.
Here, then, are this year’s Microsoft Research Faculty Fellows and a brief description of their current research:
- Vinod Vaikuntanathan, assistant professor of Computer Science, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Professor Vaikuntanathan’s main research interest is in the theory and practice of cryptography. He has played a prominent role in the development of lattice-based cryptography and leakage-resilient cryptography, and more recently has focused on the theory and practice of computing on encrypted data.
- David Steurer, assistant professor of Computer Science, Cornell University
Professor Steurer investigates the power and limitations of efficient algorithms for optimization problems that lie at the heart of computer science and its applications. A focus of his work has been the Unique Games Conjectures, whose resolution—no matter in which direction—promises new insights into the capabilities of efficient algorithms.
- Roxana Geambasu, assistant professor of Computer Science, Columbia University
Professor Geambasu works at the intersection of three computer science fields: distributed systems, operating systems, and security and privacy. Her research aims to improve privacy in today’s data-driven world. Her goal is to forge a new world, in which web services are designed from the ground up with privacy in mind, and where users are more aware of the privacy implications of their online actions.
- Yong-Yeol Ahn, assistant professor of Informatics and Computer Science, Indiana University Bloomington
Professor Ahn’s research develops and uses mathematical and computational methods to study complex systems, such as cells, the brain, society, and culture. His recent contribution includes a new framework to identify pervasively overlapping modules in networks, network-based algorithms to predict viral memes, and a new computational approach to study food culture.
- Percy Liang, assistant professor of Computer Science, Stanford University
Professor Liang’s research interests include parsing natural language into semantic representations (for example, executable code) for supporting intelligent user interfaces, and developing machine learning algorithms that infer rich latent structures from limited supervision (such as program output), balancing computational and statistical tradeoffs.
- Byung-Gon Chun, assistant professor of Computer Science, Seoul National University
Professor Chun is interested in creating new platforms for operating and distributed systems. He is currently developing a big data platform that makes it easy to implement large-scale, fault-tolerant, heterogeneous data processing applications. He has also built systems that seamlessly integrate cloud computing with mobile devices for improved performance, reliability, and security.
- Diego Fernández Slezak, assistant professor of Computer Science, School of Exact and Natural Sciences, University of Buenos Aires
Professor Fernández Slezak’s work focuses on novel methods for text analysis in massive-scale repositories to find stereotyped patterns in human thought. The goal is the development of machine-learning techniques to study digital text corpora associated with cognitive processes, aiming at identifying the mental operations underlying behavioral processes, with application to mental health and education.
For the tenth year of the program, we selected seven 2014 Faculty Fellows from the following five regions:
- Latin America and the Caribbean
- Europe, the Middle East, and Africa
- The United States and Canada
- Australia and New Zealand
- Korea, Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Singapore
Microsoft Research is committed to creating opportunities for researchers around the world to make an impact, and we are delighted to provide these fellowships to recognize the work, and nurture the careers, of tomorrow’s academic research leaders.
—Jaime Puente, Director, Chair of Microsoft Research Faculty Fellowship Program, Microsoft Research Connections