Brown CS News

Five Brown CS Students And Alums Receive NSF Graduate Research Fellowships

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    Five Brown CS students and alums, Jessica Dai, Arman Maesumi, Shane Parr, Seiji Shaw, and Benjamin Spiegel, received NSF Graduate Research Fellowships last month for their research in computer science. The fellowship program, which is the oldest of its kind, recognizes and supports graduate students in science, technology, engineering, and math who show significant potential for future contributions to their field. Supported by a yearly stipend and cost-of-education allowance, many fellows go on to be knowledge experts in their respective disciplines.

    Arman, a first-year PhD student working with Professor Daniel Ritchie, conducts research on 3D shape synthesis and deformation. The growing demand for 3D content, he explains, has spurred the development of systems that are able to synthesize 3D shapes with fine detail and high-level structure. Arman uses generative neural networks to produce natural shape deformations, which are then applied to expert-created shapes to preserve original details while also producing a novel shape.

    Shane studies artificial intelligence as a first-year PhD student under Professor George Konidaris. In his research, he seeks to formalize and explore new ways to integrate machine learning and planning. He's currently exploring the idea that hierarchical agents are uniquely suited to successfully interacting with nearly decomposable environments.

    Benjamin will be graduating from Brown in 2022 as an independent concentrator with an ScB in Computers and Minds and will begin working toward a PhD in Computer Science at Brown next fall under Professors George Konidaris, Ellie Pavlick, and Stefanie Tellex. Drawing inspiration from linguistics and developmental psychology, Benjamin’s research focuses on compositional language grounding to structured hierarchical decision processes, with the ultimate goal of endowing robots with true natural language understanding. He will work as a research assistant at Brown’s Intelligent Robot Lab until beginning his PhD in the fall.

    Seiji is a graduating senior pursuing a joint ScB in Mathematics and Computer Science. Advised by Professor George Konidaris and Professor Stefanie Tellex, and in collaboration with Mitsubishi Electric Research Laboratories, he explored how to incorporate and verify notions of safety in learning-based robot movement. Seiji will continue the same line of research when he pursues his PhD in Computer Science at MIT starting next fall.

    Jessica is broadly interested in questions related to how machine learning can be used to make decisions in an uncertain world. More specifically, her near-term interests include thinking about how to measure and achieve fairness under distribution shift; in the long run, she hopes to build tools to characterize model performance more generally.

    Arman, Benjamin, Jessica, Seiji, and Shane join nine prior Brown CS winners of the fellowship, the most recent being Lucy Qin.

    For more information, click the link that follows to contact Brown CS Communication and Outreach Specialist Jesse C. Polhemus.