PhD Candidate Award Recipients - Fall 2018

Tuesday, July 31, 2018 - 9:49am

Sayan Bandyapadhyay, and Pooya Rahimian, 6th year PhD students advised, respectively, by Professors Kasturi Varadarajan and Joseph Kearney have been named recipients of the Ballard and Seashore Dissertation Fellowship (Bandyapadhyay) and Graduate College Post-Comprehensive Research Award (Rahimian) for Fall 2018.

  • Sayan's dissertation considers several geometric clustering and covering problems, and he designs efficient algorithms for solving them. Most of these problems are believed to be intractable and it is unlikely that they can be solved efficiently. The main contribution of the dissertation is to prove that even though the presented algorithms do not solve the problems exactly, there are theoretical guarantees on the quality of the solutions produced. The clustering and covering problems considered in the dissertation have a variety of applications to problems in information retrieval, computational biology, VLSI, image processing and wireless networks
  • Pooya's dissertation is focused on measuring and understanding the latency (i.e., time gap) in the production of visual output in response to stimuli. The number of virtual reality applications is exploding (e.g., for training, gaming, storytelling, social media, treatment of psychological disorders, and pain reduction); however, few of them report their actual latencies. Measuring latency is crucial, because it influences perception and consequently, users’ actions in the virtual environments. This effect could be a moderate degradation in performance or it could result in severe motion sickness. Based on anecdotal reports, latency in virtual reality reduces human performance but it is not clear what is the relationship between latency and performance degradation, specifically in continuous tasks such as bike riding and driving cars in virtual environments.

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.