Logo: University of Southern California

90 Viterbi Computer Science Doctoral Candidates Display Latest Work to Faculty, Each Other and Prospective Classmates

"We are proud of our PhD students and the cutting-edge research they do"

March 16, 2012 —

The USC Viterbi School's Department of Computer Science (CS) presented a large, diverse and far-ranging overview of its research at a day-long March retreat at the Radisson Hotel.

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CS Chair Shanghua Teng, Professor Gaurav Sukhatme.
In addition to showcasing work in the CS department the annual research review also introduces current PhD students and their work to prospective PhD students, whose visit to the department is usually scheduled on the same day.

CS Chair Shanghua Teng opened the event. “We are aiming to build an outstanding CS program at USC where talented students like yourselves can be productive and creative," he said. "We hope our department will be a fertile environment for groundbreaking fundamental research as well as interdisciplinary research by our students and faculty.”

The event overlapped the annual retreat of the USC Integrated Media Systems Center (IMSC), emphasizing synergies with IMSC, and also included a remarkable variety of other activities, ranging from work in the department’s GamePipe videogame center and its graduate degree program to software architecture efforts by students of Professor Barry Boehm, internationally recognized research guru.

Seven presentations by professors in various specialties spoke about current emphases, from using advanced algorithmic game theory applications to guide real decision making (Milind Tambe), to giving cameras the ability to autonomously interpret what they see (Laurent Itti), and, an intense recent focus, cybersecurity for information jointly held in immense federated and cloud computer systems. (B. Clifford Neuman). (See a complete list of presentations.)

Participants include student researchers at USC’s Information Sciences Institute (ISI) and the USC Institute for Creative Technologies (ICT) who are working with the more than 40 faculty in these institutions.

“USC Computer Science is an excellent program, possibly unrivalled in the breadth of opportunities it offers to its PhD students," said Professor Gaurav Sukhatme, who organized the event which attracted approximately 150 students, post-docs, faculty and industry participants. "As faculty, we are proud of our PhD students and the cutting-edge research they do; the annual research review is a celebration of their dedication and achievements”

The climax for the students took place after a poster session where 90 teams presented research to their peers and a panel of faculty judges.

The envelopes opened for the winners:

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Winners, left to right: Furqan M. Khan (advisor Ram Nevatia); Celso M. de Melo (advisor Jonathan Gratch); Megha Gupta (advisor Gaurav Sukhatme); Pongtip Aroonvatanaporn (advisor Barry Boehm); Yili Zhao (advisor Jernej Barbic).

Winner #1 - Best poster for technical strength
Reverse appraisal: Appraisals mediate the effect of emotion displays in decision-making
- by Celso M. de Melo, Peter Carnevale, Stephen Read, Jonathan Gratch

Winner #2 - Best poster for technical strength
Using Manipulation Primitives for Brick Sorting in Clutter
-by Megha Gupta, Gaurav S. Sukhatme

Winner #3 - Best poster for technical strength
Simultaneous Inference of Activity, Pose and Object
-by Furqan M. Khan, Vivek K Singh, Ram Nevatia

Winner - Best poster for visual presentation
Real Time Large Deformation Substructuring
by Jernej Barbic, Yili Zhao

Winner - Most popular poster
Reducing Estimation Uncertainty with Continuous Assessment: Tracking the "Cone of Uncertainty"
-by Pongtip Aroonvatanaporn, Chatchai Sinthop, Barry Boehm

The afternoon concluded with a panel organized by IMSC director Cyrus Shahabi for the center's retreat  in which four eminent researchers grounded in both academia and industry spoke about the junction between the two cultures (see accompanying story).

The panel was followed by a dinner and the opportunity for students, faculty, and visitors to informally mingle, recap the day and make plans for new projects.