PhD Candidate Award Recipients - 2018

Thursday, January 11, 2018 - 10:17am

Sikder Huq, a 6th year PhD student and Huyen Le, a 5th year PhD student advised, respectively, by Professors Sukumar Ghosh and Zubair Shafiq, have been named recipients of the Ballard and Seashore Dissertation Fellowship (Huq) and Graduate College Post-Comprehensive Research Award (Le) for Spring 2018.

  • Sikder’s research with Professor Ghosh focuses on design and analysis of self-adjusting algorithms for distributed systems. Self-adjustment allows systems to respond to changes in their input pattern. For example, a network meant to deliver streaming video can benefit from self-adjustment by dynamically migrating a server geographically closer to a densely populated group of receivers. Sikder designs self-adjusting algorithms to solve different problems related to large scale networks, and evaluates the performance of his algorithms both theoretically and experimentally.
  • Huyen's current project is a collaboration with researchers from the UI Department of Communication Studies and from the School of Journalism and Mass Communication. Selective exposure refers to seeking information that reinforces pre-existing beliefs while avoiding other information. The effect of selective exposure on democratic institutions is a hot topic of research, but  the role of search engines in the vicious cycle of selective exposure and algorithmic personalization has not received as much attention. They plan to answer several research questions on this topic by analyzing three major online search platforms: Google, Facebook, and Twitter.


Both award programs provide an opportunity for advanced doctoral students to benefit from protected and supported time to pursue their scholarly research activities.

The Graduate College Post-Comprehensive Research Award is intended to recognize students with distinguished academic achievement during their early graduate training. These achievements should be evident from a combination of outstanding academic performance in coursework, as well as early scholarly research activities. Students who have held teaching assistantships in the previous two semesters will have priority.