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Illinois College of Engineering Announces Siebel Scholars Class of 2011

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Department of Computer Science

August 26th 2010

Aug 27 2010


Though initially motivated and inspired to pursue computing science research for a variety of reasons, Kurchi Subhra Hazra, Tanmay Khirwadkar, Alexander Loeb, Joana M. F. da Trindade,  and Shivaram Venkataraman all share a driving force: the desire to have an impact on not only the real world, but on future generations and the community around them as well.


These five accomplished Computer Science graduate students have been named the 2011 Siebel Scholars.  They join an elite group chosen on the basis of outstanding academic performance and demonstrated qualities of leadership.


“The Siebel Scholars Program recognizes students who have demonstrated academic and leadership excellence at the world's leading graduate schools of business, computer science, and bioengineering, and confirms the excellence of our institutions,” stated Ilesanmi Adesida, dean of the College of Engineering. "We are very proud to be part of the Siebel Scholars program in our efforts to create informed scholars and leaders, and to be considered among the top institutions in providing this interdisciplinary training."


Inspired by the challenge of building a mobile, educational peer-to-peer application during a course her first semester at Illinois, Kurchi Subhra Hazra decided to pursue new research interests in Distributed Systems.  She joined Prof. Klara Nahrstedt’s MONET research group to study efficient topology construction for high bandwidth data dissemination in systems with real-time requirements.  Motivated by an intense desire to have an impact on others, Kurchi has designed and developed educational animations for training middle-school students in networking concepts within power grid systems.  Her animations will be deployed and tested in the curriculum at the prestigious Illinois Math & Science Academy this fall.


Tanmay Khirwadkar’s research is motivated by real-world problems.  Initially inspired towards science and engineering by the Mars Pathfinder mission, Tanmay rarely misses an opportunity to apply divergent interests and disciplines to find a solution.  Take for instance his work with Prof. David Nicol on the application of Game Theory to cyber defense. His work could have a wide reaching impact on Network Security in the future by integrating principles from the two seemingly diverse areas.  But first, he’s tackling the difficult problems of resolving abstractions to better apply theory to realistic contexts.


Alexander Loeb believes that the integration of emerging technologies into the classroom will play a vital role in the future success of education throughout our society.  Beginning with his experiences with OnCourse, an Android application designed to assist students in organization and collaboration across an entire semester’s courses, Alex pursued his passion with the Mobile Learning Community.  Then,  Alex parlayed his experience on that project to inspire students to write their own Android applications through an interactive day-long tutorial aimed at a sophomore level.  


Amassing an impressive personal resume full of patents, awards, and papers wasn’t fully satisfying for Joana M. F. da Trindade.  Instead, she’s driven by a desire to solve important problems in society at large.  Her work on data provenance at IBM T.J. Watson Research Center this summer will help the scientific community manage and observe the history of data, which can help future scientists discover how gene combinations contribute to diseases. At Illinois, she’s working with Prof. Marianne Winslett to ensure integrity of data under compliance restrictions like HIPAA, SEC, and Sarbannes-Oxley.


With a goal of contributing to primary global issues like energy and education, Shivaram Venkataraman believes that computing is a powerful agent for change in the world.  His research with Prof. Roy Campbell into next-generation computing clusters and cloud architectures is focused on how those systems can be used in other research areas, like bio-engineering and energy systems.  In particular, he worked to create a distributed filter to present an optimized and accurate method for performing gene sequence alignment in bioengineering applications.


About the Siebel Scholars Foundation


The Siebel Scholars program was founded in 2000 to recognize the most talented students at the world’s leading graduate schools of business, computer science, and bioengineering and to form an active, lifelong community among an ever-growing group of leaders.  Today, more than 600 of the world’s brightest minds are Siebel Scholars.  This exceptional group has the unique opportunity to directly influence the technologies, policies, and economic and social decisions that shape the future.  Siebel Scholars serve as key advisors to the Siebel Foundation, guiding the development of innovative programs the Foundation initiates.  For more information please visit


The Siebel Scholars Foundation is funded by the Siebel Foundation.  Established as a private foundation in 1996, the Siebel Foundation is a nonprofit, public benefit corporation. Its mission is to support projects and organizations that work to improve the quality of life, environment, and education of its community members. For more information please visit


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