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School of Engineering

Students recognized by the Computing Research Association

Wednesday, January 27, 2021
Four computer science seniors receive honors for outstanding potential in an area of computing research.
Halligan Hall in the winter

The Computing Research Association’s (CRA) Outstanding Undergraduate Researcher Award recognizes undergraduate students from North American colleges and universities who show outstanding potential in an area of computing research. Departments that grant doctoral degrees in a computing field may nominate up to four students per year. This year, the Department of Computer Science nominated four students: Derek Egolf, Lauren Labell, Jonathan Rodriguez, and Gian Marco Visani.

Jonathan Rodriguez, A21, was named a finalist, and fellow seniors Derek Egolf, Lauren Labell, and Gian Marco Visani received honorable mentions.

Egolf, A21, under the guidance of Chair and Professor Kathleen Fisher and PhD candidate Sam Lasser, has done research on a verified lexer generator called Verbatim. Speaking about the project, Egolf shared that “mathematical proofs and Coq essentially gamifies the proof process, so working on Verbatim has been a lot of fun.”

Labell, A21, under the guidance of Chair and Professor Kathleen Fisher and PhD candidate Jared Chandler, focused specifically on reverse engineering checksum algorithms. She presented her senior thesis defense on this research in December 2020.

Rodriguez, A21, researched graphs and their applications. Rodriguez shared, “I started working with Professor Lenore Cowen and the Computational Biology Group to predict protein functions based on their interaction network. Now, I am using geometric graphs to develop routing algorithms with Visiting Professor Matias Korman and Professor Diane Souvaine, as well as others in the Computational Geometry Research Group.”

Visani, A21, has been interested in developing machine learning algorithms with applications in biomedicine, and explored his interests with Professor Soha Hassoun and Ann W. Lambertus and Peter Lambertus Assistant Professor Mike Hughes. Specifically, says Visani, “I worked on a couple of projects on predicting molecular properties using various techniques: from hierarchical classification to meta-learning, to name a few.” Looking forward, Visani plans to work on generative models for small molecules and for proteins, and to work on meta-learning algorithms.

Congratulations to these outstanding computer science students!