Microsoft Research Awards New Faculty Fellowships for 2005

In an effort to help outstanding new faculty buck the trend of shrinking research dollars, Microsoft Research University Relations, a division of Microsoft Research established a program to identify and support exceptional first-, second-, and third-year professors whose research will substantially advance computer science research. Each winner will receive a $200,000 cash grant to support their work.

Frédo Durand, an assistant professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, one of this year’s winners, mixes teaching computer graphics and computer science at MIT, with advanced research in realistic image synthesis and computational photography.

He says the grant will allow him to push the envelop in his explorations of how humans perceive their visual environment and what differentiates a compelling picture from an ordinary one.

Durand told Microsoft Research that he loves his work in computer graphics because it's an interdisciplinary field that provides a "wonderful opportunity" to broaden his horizons in math, physics, psychology and the visual arts. But he argues that his work is not just academic. "Beyond the computer graphics community, I think that the impact of my work will lie at the interface between vision and graphics," Durand told Microsoft Research. "… our work on computational photography is at the convergence of computer vision and computer graphics, with exciting cross-fertilization between these two fields."

The other winners Microsoft Research announced this week (http://www.microsoft.com/presspass/features/2005/may05/05-25FacultyAwards.asp) were:

Subhash Khot, a first-year assistant professor in the College of Computing at the Georgia Institute of Technology. Khot’s research tackles fundamental questions regarding which problems can and cannot be solved quickly on a computer. The questions he addresses in his work often have deep connections to diverse areas in mathematics, logic, cryptography and computer science.

Dan Klein, a first-year assistant professor in the Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences department at the University of California, Berkeley. Klein’s area of interest is natural language processing, which involves getting computers to analyze and understand human languages. His research focuses specifically on designing systems that learn language in an unsupervised way by automatically detecting linguistic structure.

Radhika Nagpal, a first-year assistant professor of computer science in the Division of Engineering and Applied Sciences at Harvard University (MA). Her research interest is in engineering self-organizing, self-repairing systems, using inspiration from biology, and in better understanding robust collective behavior in biological systems.

Wei Wang, an assistant professor in her third year of teaching at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. A faculty member in the Department of Computer Science, Wang pursues research in the area of data mining, a branch of computer science that focuses on finding patterns within vast data collections. She specializes in bioinformatics applications.

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