CSL Student Conference has record-breaking year
Since its inception 11 years ago, the CSL Student Conference, entirely organized by a student committee, has continued to expand and improve.
“We’re pleased with the participation this year because it brings a lot of students together to interact and exchange ideas,” said Sara Bahramian, co-chair of the conference. “The conference was truly an interdisciplinary effort that showcased the high quality research that happens in CSL every day.”
CSL faculty, who are encouraged to attend the conference as well as students, were equally impressed with the caliber of the conference this year.
“I was very impressed by this year’s CSL Student Conference organizing committee, including their passion, enthusiasm, and initiation of new activities at the conference such as the new graduate student job fair, integrated poster sessions during lunch breaks, and awards for best presentation and best poster,” said Klara Nahrstedt, director of CSL and professor of computer science. “But most significantly, the CSL student conference organizing committee showed maturity in picking high quality speakers and student work, hence putting together a first-rate program. The attendance of students and faculty from CSL and across the College of Engineering attests to the very high quality of this year’s conference.”
“Dr. Feng provided an early glimpse of the latest machine learning technology from Yahoo, even before it was announced to the public, which was a really neat opportunity,” said Linjia Chang, the media and publicity chair.
On Thursday and Friday, the conference hosted a total of four student sessions and four keynotes, with topics focusing on networks and security; robotics and control; machine learning and signal processing; and learning and games.
One of the keynote speakers, Rajiv Maheswaran, is a CSL alumni who is now the CEO and co-founder of Second Spectrum, an innovative sports analytics and data visualization startup. He spoke not only about how Second Spectrum’s data analysis enables a new level of sports insight, but also reminisced about his days as an ECE PhD student at CSL.
“I had a great experience here and the knowledge I gained enabled me to have the career I'm lucky enough to pursue now,” said Maheswaran.
Maheswaran also participated in a panel discussion, along with Michael Rubinstein, a research scientist at Google, and CSL professors R. Srikant, Olgica Milenkovic, and Grace Xingxin Gao. The five offered expert advice on trending research topics, advice for maintaining work-life balance as a PhD student, the pros and cons of a career in academia vs. industry, their predictions for future technological advances, and more.
“The panel discussion was an excellent mix of both young and senior professors, established and start-up entrepreneurs,” said Peter Kariouz, the panel moderator. “We had a great discussion that I think resonated with a lot of students.”
The conference incorporated a well-attended graduate student job fair and an engaging poster session as well. The job fair featured 11 companies, including IBM Research, Caterpillar, Wolfram Research, Google, Yahoo! Research, Intel, and more. The poster session exhibited 22 posters from both CSL and other graduate students and offered attendees a look at the wide variety of research conducted at CSL and elsewhere.
“Both the energy level and quality of research at the poster session was very high this year,” said Philip Paré, the job fair and poster session chair. “And the job fair, which was new and geared to CSL graduate students, was a great opportunity. We had a large spread of companies and technical recruits, increasing its relevance to the Ph.D. students here.”
The conference concluded with an awards ceremony and the presentation of Best Talks and Best Poster Awards. Guosong Yang, ECE PhD student, won the Best Poster Award in the Control category, and Saurabh Jha, CS PhD student, took home the Best Poster Award in the Machine Learning category. Arjun Athreya, Jia-Bin Huang, and César Uribe, all ECE PhD students, won Best Student Talk Awards.
“This year’s conference introduced a lot of new aspects, including the awards,” said co-chair Khaled Alshehri. “I think it’s a reflection of the collaboration and cohesion of our student committee that we were able to bring all of these aspects together for the first time, and for them to go as well as we could have hoped.”
The 12th CSL Student Conference will build upon the success of this year’s efforts, scheduled for February 2017. Any CSL students are invited to join the committee next year and can contact the current committee members for more information. Updates for next year’s conference can be followed on Twitter.