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Department of Computer Science

Undergraduate research

The Department of Computer Science is passionate about involving students at every level in its research. We are proud to say that we have many undergraduates who do research with our faculty members. Here are just a few profiles of current students who are doing wonderful work.

All of these students were nominated for the 2021 Computing Research Association’s (CRA) Outstanding Undergraduate Researcher Award.

Derek Egolf, A21, major in computer science
Egolf has worked with Professor and Chair Kathleen Fisher and PhD student Sam Lasser since the spring of 2020. Lasser’s research involves developing verified parsers. The goal of Egolf’s project is to produce a verified lexer that could interoperate with Lasser’s parser. Egolf’s paper about this verified lexer, which is called Verbatim, was submitted to the Seventh International Workshop on Coq for Programming Languages. Egolf plans to write a senior honors thesis on Verbatim. Egolf was nominated for the 2021 CRA Award and received honorable mention.

Lauren Labell, A21, double major in computer science, and German languages and cultural studies
Labell worked with Professor Kathleen Fisher and PhD student Jared Chandler on reverse engineering checksums. This resulted in a paper, of which she is first author, titled “Automatic Discovery and Synthesis of Checksum Algorithms from Binary Data Samples.” The paper will be published at the 2020 ACM SIGSAC Workshop on Programming Languages and Analysis for Security. She presented her senior thesis defense on the same topic. Labell was nominated for the CRA Award and received honorable mention.

Jonathan Rodriguez, A21, double major in computer science and mathematics
Rodriguez’s research focuses on graphs and their applications. Rodriguez worked with Professor Lenore Cowen in the Computational Biology Research Group as a Laidlaw Scholar in the summer of 2018 to predict protein functions based on their interaction network. As a result, Rodriguez was second author on a paper that appeared at the 2019 ACM Bioinformatics, Computational Biology, and Health Informatics Conference (ACM BCB 2019). This paper was also included in a special issue of IEEE/ACM Transactions on Computational Biology and Bioinformatics, which featured the best papers from the conference. Rodriguez then joined the research group of Visiting Assistant Professor Matias Korman to delve more deeply into pure theoretical computer science and to address a problem in network routing. A draft of their work will be submitted for publication at the ISAAC 2021 Conference. Rodriguez was named a finalist for the 2021 CRA Outstanding Undergraduate Research Award. 

Gian Marco Visani, A21, major in computer science
Visani worked with Professor Soha Hassoun and Ann W. Lambertus and Peter Lambertus Assistant Professor Michael Hughes to pursue research at the intersection of machine learning and systems biology. Visani developed his own research project using machine learning to analyze the ability of enzymes to catalyze molecules other than those they had evolved to catalyze. His proposal was submitted to the Laidlaw Undergraduate and Research Program, where he was a fellow in the summer of 2018 and 2019. He later tackled the problem of predicting enzymatic activity on target molecules, also under the supervision of Hughes and Hassoun. Visani’s abstract on this topic was accepted to the Machine Learning on Computational Biology Conference. It was also accepted to the AI Drug Discovery and Manufacturing Conference. The completed work was submitted to 2020 Machine Learning for Molecules Workshop @ NeurIPS 2020. Further, the work is currently under revision for a bioinformatics journal. Most recently, Visani did research in the Hughes lab forecasting COVID-19 hospitalizations using Bayesian modeling. Looking forward, Visani plans to work on generative models for small molecules and proteins, and to work more on meta-learning algorithms. Visani was nominated for the 2021 CRA Award and received honorable mention.

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