2014 Yahoo ACE Award Recipients Selected

Oct 2, 2014

At Yahoo Labs, we highly value collaboration and an open research environment. For that reason, our Academic Relations team creates deep relationships with leading universities and professors to nurture strong scientific partnerships. It is our experience that these meaningful joint efforts lead to pioneering innovations that improve the Internet generally, and the Yahoo experience more specifically, in both evolutionary and revolutionary ways.

With the goal of furthering our academic collaborations and their productive outcomes, it is our pleasure to announce our 2014 Yahoo ACE (Academic Career Enhancement) Award recipients for the 2014-2015 academic year. These are five top young professors at leading research universities around the world who are competitively selected among many promising first- and second-year faculty members conducting Yahoo-relevant academic research. The award includes an unrestricted monetary gift which may be used in any way the recipients see fit to help get their academic careers off to a great start. Previously, funds have been used toward purchasing research-related hardware and software, as well as hiring students to work on research projects.  

This year’s ACE recipients include:

  Professor Daniel Hsu, Columbia University Daniel Hsu Daniel Hsu is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Computer Science and an affiliated member of the Institute for Data Sciences and Engineering, both at Columbia University. Previously, he was a postdoc at Microsoft Research New England, and the Departments of Statistics at Rutgers University and the University of Pennsylvania. He holds a PhD in Computer Science from UC San Diego, and a B.S. in Computer Science and Engineering from UC Berkeley. His research interests are in algorithmic statistics, machine learning, and privacy.   Professor Hongning Wang, University of Virginia Hongning WangHongning Wang is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Computer Science at the University of Virginia. His research interests include data mining, information retrieval, and machine learning, with a particular focus on computational user modeling and knowledge discovery. He has published over 20 research papers on these topics in top data mining and information retrieval venues, including KDD, WWW, SIGIR and WSDM. He is the recipient of the 2012 Google PhD Fellowship in Search and Information Retrieval, and 2012 Yahoo Key Scientific Challenges Award in Web Information Management. He has served on program committees for several major conferences such as ICML, ECML/PKDD, and ECIR, and reviewed for multiple journals, including IEEE TKDE, ACM TOIS, Neurocomputing and BMC Bioinformatics.   Professor Jia Deng, University of Michigan Jia DengJia Deng is an Assistant Professor of Computer Science and Engineering at the University of Michigan. His research in computer vision focuses on image and video understanding through big visual data, human computation, and large-scale machine learning. He has built datasets and tools used by over 1,000 researchers around the world. His work has won the ICCV Marr Prize and the ECCV Best Paper Award, and has been featured in popular press such as the New York Times and MIT Technology Review. He received his PhD from Princeton University and his B.Eng. from Tsinghua University, both in computer science. He has been co-organizing the ImageNet Large Scale Visual Recognition Challenges (ILSVRC) since 2010. He was also the lead organizer of the BigVision workshops at NIPS 2012 and CVPR 2014.   Professor Jinho Choi, Emory University Jinho ChoiJinho Choi is an Assistant Professor at the Department of Mathematics and Computer Science and an Assistant Professor at the Institute of Quantitative Theory and Methods at Emory University. Jinho’s research focuses on the optimization of natural language processing for "robustness" on various data and "scalability" on large data. The goal is to develop NLP components that are readily available for more higher-end research. All the NLP components (e.g., dependency parser, semantic role labeler) are developed in ClearNLP, an open source project that has been widely used for academic and industrial research. Another part of Jinho’s research focuses on NLP applications such as question answering, information extraction, dialog management, etc. These applications are often domain specific; the goal is to develop applications that work well enough to be practical for certain domains (e.g., FAQ for a company, entities in social media, topics in news), and keep expanding these domain as needed. Constructing meaning representation from texts is a big part of this research.   Professor Theophilus Benson, Duke University Theophilus BensonTheophilus Benson is an Assistant Professor in the Computer Science Department of Duke University. His research interests include solving practical networking and systems problems, with a focus on Software Defined Networking, data centers, clouds, and configuration management. In the past, Theophilus has conducted large scale measurement studies of data centers and enterprise networks; and he has developed several networked and distributed systems -- one of which was purchased in 2012. To date, his study on data center traffic characteristics has been used by over 15 groups to evaluate their designs and architectures.