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Five Computer Science Graduate Students Named 2016 Siebel Scholars

Harvard John A Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences

October 01, 2015

Cambridge, Mass. – Oct. 1, 2015 – Five computer science graduate students at the Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS) have been named 2016 Siebel Scholars.

Hsieh-Chung Chen, Svilen Kanev, Scott Linderman, Scott Moore, and Bo Waggoner will each receive a $35,000 award for their final year of graduate studies.

They are among 90 selected worldwide from 17 partnering institutions by the Siebel Scholars Foundation, which recognizes exceptional students at the world’s leading graduate schools of computer science, as well as business, bioengineering and, new this year, energy science. On average, Siebel Scholars rank in the top 5 percent of their class, and many are within the top 1 percent.

“It is my great pleasure to congratulate the Siebel Scholars Class of 2016 and to welcome them to this ever-growing, lifelong community,” said Thomas M. Siebel, chairman of the Siebel Scholars Foundation.

The five SEAS students join more than 1,000 Siebel Scholars who are global leaders in academia, government, and industry. Siebel Scholars are chosen by the deans of their respective schools on the basis of outstanding academic achievement and demonstrated leadership qualities.

Student Biographies

Kevin (Hsieh-Chung) Chen is pursuing a Ph.D. in computer science under the advisement of H.T. Kung, William H. Gates Professor of Computer Science and Electrical Engineering. His current research focuses on sparse coding, a model that has strong ties to compressive sensing, signal processing, biometrics, and machine learning. In the past, he has held research positions at Academic Sinica and Intel, working on several projects including high-speed cryptanalysis, hardware counter modeling/prediction, and compressive depth imaging. He has also served as a teaching fellow for Harvard’s “Cloud Computing” (CS-144r/244r) and “Cryptography” (CS-127) classes. Chen received his bachelor's degree in computer science from National Cheng Kung University in Taiwan and his master’s degree in electrical engineering from National Taiwan University.

Svilen Kanev is a doctoral student in the architecture, circuits, and compilers group, advised by David Brooks, Haley Family Professor of Computer Science. His main research interests lie in the interactions between software systems and the underlying computer architecture. His research explores datacenter performance and power properties, specialized hardware for parallelism, and software-hardware co-design for reliability. Kanev holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees from SEAS. His research is closely tied to real-world, large-scale systems and benefits from his prior employment at industry leaders like Google, Microsoft Research, and Intel.

Scott Linderman is a computer science Ph.D. candidate advised by Leslie Valiant, T. Jefferson Coolidge Professor of Computer Science and Applied Mathematics, and Ryan Adams, assistant professor of computer science. He works at the intersection of computational neuroscience and machine learning, building analytical and theoretical tools to decipher large-scale neural recordings and understand biological computation. He completed his bachelor’s degree in electrical and computer engineering at Cornell University in 2008 and then helped build and test the Windows networking stack for three years as an engineer at Microsoft. As a graduate student, he received the National Defense Science and Engineering Graduate Fellowship, contributed to numerous computational neuroscience summer programs, served as a teaching fellow for three graduate computer science courses, and co-organized a workshop at the Computational and Systems Neuroscience Conference. He collaborates with neuroscientists through affiliations with the interdisciplinary National Science Foundation Center for Brains, Minds, and Machines and the Harvard Center for Brain Science.

Scott Moore is a computer science Ph.D. candidate, advised by Stephen Chong, associate professor of computer science. His research focuses on using programming language design and reasoning techniques to help programmers write safe, correct, and understandable software. He is also interested in non-technical aspects of security and privacy, and has participated in a number of cross-disciplinary forums at the Berkman Center for Internet & Society. He received his bachelor's and master's degrees in computer science from the University of Texas at Dallas, where he was awarded a prestigious scholarship from the U.S. Department of Defense's Information Assurance Scholarship Program. Prior to entering the Ph.D. program, Moore worked at the Defense Information Systems Agency, where he supported a Department of Defense security program and served on several security architecture and standards working groups. He has also spent a summer as a research intern at SRI International.

Bo Waggoner is a computer science doctoral student at SEAS, advised by Yiling Chen, Gordon McKay Professor of Computer Science. He is interested in the value of information, probability, and randomized algorithms. His research is published in venues on theoretical computer science and artificial intelligence, interfacing with game theory, and mechanism design. He has interned at Google and Microsoft and served as a teaching fellow for courses on social networks and introductory computer science. Before entering graduate school, Waggoner attended Duke, where he was a PRUV fellow in mathematics and member of a team that qualified for world finals of the Association for Computing Machinery’s International Collegiate Programming Contest. At Duke, he captained the varsity cross-country and track teams and was named Atlantic Coast Conference Scholar-Athlete of the Year and Academic All-American in these sports.


About the Siebel Foundation

The Siebel Scholars program was founded in 2000 by the Siebel Foundation to recognize the most talented students at the world’s leading graduate schools of business, computer science, bioengineering, and energy science. Today, the foundation's active community of leaders serves as advisors to the Siebel Foundation and works collaboratively to find solutions to society’s most pressing problems. 

The Thomas and Stacey Siebel Foundation, a nonprofit, public benefit corporation, was established as a private foundation in 1996. Its mission is to foster programs and organizations that improve the quality of life, environment, and education of its community members. The Siebel Foundation funds projects to support the homeless and underprivileged, educational and research programs, public health, and alternative energy solutions. The Siebel Foundation engages in strategic philanthropy; as such, it does not entertain grant requests, but invests in targeted highly leveraged programs and in projects it founds and operates. For more information, please visit