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Six on faculty receive Google research awards

Projects aiming to combat online harassment of women, boost the performance and predictability of cloud computing services, and improve the computer models used to predict disease were among the five at Cornell to receive 2019-2020 Google Faculty Research Awards.

The goal of the Google Faculty Research Awards program is to recognize cutting-edge research in mutual areas of interest and to “identify and strengthen long-term collaborative relations with faculty working on problems that will impact how future generations use technology,” according to its website.

The selected faculty will receive unrestricted funding to support one graduate student for a year.

The winners and their funded projects:

  • Nicola Dell, assistant professor at the Jacobs Technion-Cornell Institute at Cornell Tech, and Thomas Ristenpart, associate professor at Cornell Tech, are studying online communities of intimate-partner abusers to understand the strategies, tools and techniques abusers use to monitor, surveil, harass and stalk their victims, both online and offline. The researchers plan to design a measurement pipeline to collect data from these online communities, conduct qualitative analyses of their content and explore ways to automatically detect threats.
  • Christina Delimitrou, assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering, aims to leverage machine learning to address the performance implications of new cloud programming frameworks, such as microservices. Her team will use machine learning and the massive amount of traces collected in warehouse-scale computers over time to identify patterns that signal imminent performance issues, which can make systems more responsive and improve the predictability and availability of cloud services.
  • Nate Foster, associate professor of computer science, is developing new mechanisms, using next-generation hardware, to help make networks faster and cheaper. The work has implications for cloud computing as well as for telecommunication companies building 5G architectures, which seek to move various forms of complex processing from expensive appliances to cheaper commodity devices.
  • Aditya Vashistha, assistant professor of information science, designs and builds computing systems to empower people in low-resource environments. His team will use human-centered AI to combat online harassment of marginalized women, and build gender-equitable social computing platforms. The team will explore ways to make voice forums – phone-based communication platforms commonly used by millions of people around the world who are too poor, remote or low-literate to access the internet – more inclusive and equitable for women.
  • Fei Wang, associate professor of health care policy and research at Weill Cornell Medicine, is working on building clinical risk prediction models based on longitudinal patient electronic health records. Since many of the high-performance models his team have built are black box – meaning, it’s not clear how they arrive at their decisions – his current project aims to develop methods that can derive robust interpretations for the models.

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