archiveOutstanding Undergraduate Researchers

2009 Sponsor: Microsoft Research
Mitsubishi Electric Research Labs and Microsoft Research are sponsors in alternate years.

2009 Selection Committee
Richard Waters (Mitsubishi Electric Research Labs), Chair; David Novick (University of Texas, El Paso); Clement Lam (Concordia University); Geoff Keunning (Harvey Mudd College); and Lynn Stein (Olin College).

2009Raluca Ada Popa

Female Awardee

2009 Outstanding Undergraduate Researcher Award Awardee Senior at Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Raluca Ada Popa is a senior at Massachusetts Institute of Technology majoring in Computer Science and Mathematics.

At MIT, Raluca has been involved in three research projects that have resulted in three publications and two others in submission at top conferences. Her research includes: the auditing of computerized elections, cooperative caching techniques for huge databases spread across large numbers of servers, and computing useful statistics or functions about the movement of cars (e.g., automatic toll collection) without violating the privacy of drivers by revealing the position of any particular car.

After spending her freshman year at Cal Tech, Raluca transferred to MIT, maintaining a perfect GPA at both institutions. In the summer between, Raluca worked on a research project at the University of Illinois that resulted in a paper at SOSP. It is rare indeed for anyone to be on track to be an author on papers based on research in each undergraduate year. She also has served as an undergraduate tutor for the Office of Minority Education at MIT, and currently participates in the Women’s Outreach Program for the ECE Honor Society.

2009Tal Rusak

Male Awardee

2009 Outstanding Undergraduate Researcher Award Awardee Senior at Cornell University

Tal Rusak is a senior at Cornell University majoring in Computer Science.

Tal has been involved in research since freshman year, resulting in seven first-authored publications and presentations. Current research involves discovering the structure of low-power wireless networks by applying analytical methods to novel computing systems. Results show effective ways to simulate such networks and have suggested novel statistical properties of wireless links. Tal’s work won the Best Paper Award at the international ACM MSWiM’08 conference and First Place in the ACM Student Research Competitions at MobiCom’08 and SIGCSE’08. His paper has been invited for journal publication and several additional papers are currently in preparation. Concurrently, Tal is working on a research and development project to design and implement a user-friendly web-based course planning and audit system, with a paper submitted for publication. Previously, Tal studied the efficient simulation of electronic sensor devices, including the CvMOS sensor and a nanotube-embedded chemicapacitive sensor; results were published at the IEEE ISDRS’07 conference.

Tal maintains a perfect GPA, has served as a teaching assistant and peer tutor for undergraduate students, and serves on the Student Library Advisory Council. He volunteers at an after-school program for elementary school students. Tal has a deep interest in history, and has published a sole-authored paper in an international journal in this field.

2009Erin Carson

Female Runner-Up

2009 Outstanding Undergraduate Researcher Runner-Up Senior at University of Virginia

Erin Carson is a senior at the University of Virginia, majoring in Computer Science with minors in Applied Mathematics and in Materials Science and Engineering.

At UVA, Erin has been involved in several research projects. Most notable are two involving modeling and simulation. The first concerns simulating the dissolution of alloys, which resulted in a conference paper. The second considers the uncertainties in epidemiological models and their effects on the results. Her work has brought into serious question whether any disease spread model can ever be deemed reliable.

In addition to being a fine student with a near-perfect GPA in her major and minors, Erin has worked as a TA for four semesters, gives her time freely to multiple charitable activities in the Charlottesville community, and holds an executive position in her professional engineering sorority.

2009Arthur Mahoney

Male Runner-Up

2009 Outstanding Undergraduate Researcher Runner-Up Senior at Utah State University

Arthur Mahoney is a senior at Utah State University, with a double major in Computer Science and Computational Mathematics.

Arthur Mahoney has pursued research in five areas that have resulted in three publications, two of which have Arthur listed as first author. His research includes: parallel path planning in large graphs, altruistic negotiation systems, developing novel parallel algorithms for extremely fast robotic motion planning, massively parallel search strategies for discovering novel cancer therapies, and parallel tools for hydrologic prediction and flood forecasting that scale to massive data sets.

In addition to maintaining a perfect GPA, Arthur mentors other students in the Undergraduate Research Program, tutors for the Mathematics and Statistics department, and is the administrator of the Computer Science department’s computer cluster, having designed and put it together himself.

Finalists (Female)

Dorna Haghighi, McGill University
Sarah Loos, Indiana University
Rachel Miller, University of Virginia
Julia Schwarz, University of Washington
Melanie Tupper, Dalhousie University

Finalists (Male)

Taylor Berg-Kirkpatrick, University of California
Berkeley Michael DeLisi, University of Utah
Peiran Gao, University of California, Berkeley
Kevin Karsch, University of Missouri
Michael Nowlan, Georgetown University
Nathaniel Roman, Washington University in St. Louis
Lawson Wong, Stanford University

Honorable Mentions (Female)

Jessie Berlin, Tufts University
Jenna Cameron, University of Western Ontario
Melanie Clements, New York University
Natalie Freed, Arizona State University
Sahar Hasan, Columbia University
Heather Justice, Harvey Mudd College
Jessica Leung, University of Washington
Samantha Leung, University of British Columbia
Gabriela Marcu, University of California, Irvine
Olena Melnychenko, Pennsylvania State University
Anna Ostberg, University of California, San Diego
Dhivya Padmanabhan, Texas A&M University
Elaine Shaver, Harvey Mudd College
Sweta Vajjhala, Georgia Institute of Technology
Lucy Vasserman, Pomona College

Honorable Mentions (Male)

Daniel Amirault, University of Massachusetts Amherst
Tycho Andersen, Iowa State University
Jeremiah Blocki, Carnegie Mellon University
Shaon Barman, University of Texas at Austin
Brian Burg, Purdue University
Hao Yu (Alex) Cheng, University of Toronto
Robert Clark, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Andre Cohen, Rutgers University
Jason Croft, Boston College
John Doucette, Dalhousie University
Paul Dumoulin, Pace University
William Ella, University of Mary Washington
Robert Gevers, Purdue University
Christopher Head, University of British Columbia
Marius Iordan, Williams College
David Kawrykow, McGill University
Andy Lindeman, Mississippi State University
George Lucchese, Texas A&M University
Edward Lui, University of British Columbia
William Marczak, University of Pennsylvania
Benjamin Maurer, Carnegie Mellon University
Teodor Moldovan, Brown University
Kupa Mutungu, Princeton University
Ian Obermiller, Marquette University
Denis Pankratov, University of Toronto
Mark Przepiora, University of Calgary
Adam Raczkowski, Tufts University
Mark Reitblatt, University of Texas at Austin
Michael Ryan, University of California, Los Angeles
Cory Simon, Iowa State University
Devin Smith, Harvey Mudd College
Ian Vo, Columbia University
Ziyu Wang, University of Waterloo
Brian Wongchaowart, University of Pittsburgh
Luke Zarko, University of Pennsylvania

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