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Siebel Scholars Push Boundaries of Computer Science

Princeton University

November 10, 2014

One is building a practical tool to measure privacy and tracking on the Web; another is pursuing theoretical work on information complexity. Selected as five of the top computer science students at Princeton, this year's Siebel Scholars are pursuing a wide range of research questions of vital interest in industry and academia.

The Siebel Scholars Foundation awarded the five fellowships as part of its annual commitment to support the most talented students at the world’s leading graduate schools of business, computer science, and bioengineering. The Department of Computer Science at Princeton is among eight computer science programs nationally that have been chosen by the foundation for support. Each year, five graduate students in the department are selected as Siebel Scholars based on both academic excellence and demonstrated leadership. The honor includes up to $35,000 in financial support as well as ongoing opportunities to interact with the overall Siebel Scholars community of 950 past recipients.

"Representing the best and brightest from around the globe, these distinguished students join entrepreneurs, researchers, and philanthropists from past Siebel Scholars classes to form an unmatched professional and personal network – bringing together diverse insights and perspectives from business and engineering disciplines at the forefront of solutions to global challenges,” said Thomas M. Siebel, chairman of the Siebel Scholars Foundation.

Siebel scholars who recently gathered for a dinner at Princeton include, from left, Taewook Oh, Peter Zimmerman, Thiago Pereira, Tuo Zhao (a Siebel Scholar from Johns Hopkins University who is a visitor in computer science at Princeton) and Xiaozhou Li.  Not shown: Omri Weinsten. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

The five computer science students selected as 2015 Siebel Scholars are:

Xiaozhou Li

Li, a Ph.D. candidate, has broad research interests in networking and distributed systems. His recent research focuses on building high-performance and cost-effective key-value storage for multi-core servers, rack-scale systems, and distributed clusters. Related work published or in-progress includes building high-throughput and memory-efficient concurrent hash tables, synthesizing rack-scale cold data storage stacks, and designing new architectures for high-performance distributed key-value store by using efficient caching mechanisms and software-defined networking. Li has interned with the Intel Science and Technology Center for Cloud Computing at CMU, and the Systems and Networking group at Microsoft Research Cambridge. He received his B.S. in electronic engineering from Tsinghua University and his M.S.E. from University of Pennsylvania.

Taewook Oh

Oh, a Ph.D. student, pursues research spanning the areas of computer architectures, compilers, and runtime systems. In particular, he is interested in developing techniques for program specialization and automatic parallelization to enable better performance of real-world programs, including open-­source script interpreters. From 2007 to 2010, Oh worked as a researcher at Samsung Advanced Institute of Technology. At Samsung, he conducted research on a compiler for sRP (Samsung Reconfigurable Processor), a high-performance digital signal processor included in Samsung’s smartphones and televisions. He received his B.S. with honors in electrical engineering from Seoul National University in 2005 and M.S. in electrical engineering and computer science from the same university in 2007. He obtained an M.A. in computer science from Princeton University in 2012.

Thiago Pereira

Pereira, a Ph.D. student, received a M.Sc. in mathematics from the National Institute for Pure and Applied Mathematics and a B.Eng. from the Military Institute of Engineering, both at Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. His research focuses on computational design for digital fabrication, be it 2D or 3D printing. His main interest is in how computers can help us fabricate objects with rich visual appearance and functionality by controlling light reflection and scattering on surfaces. He has developed computational proxies of human perception of material appearance and methods to design and 3D print optical fibers with applications in image sensing and display. To pursue these questions, he interned at Disney Research during the summers of 2012 and 2013. Previously, he also worked with analysis and representation of 3D shapes.

Omri Weinstein

Weinstein earned his bachelor’s degree in mathematics and computer science from Tel-Aviv University (Israel). His research focuses on interactive communication, and its role within complexity theory, security and economics. Weinstein has contributed significantly to the development of interactive information complexity, a field which lies in the intersection of computer science and information theory. His work led to breakthrough results in understanding the limits of parallel computation in two-party communication models, and to surprising results in secure multiparty computation in adversarial settings. During his graduate studies, Weinstein completed several internships, including Yahoo Research (Haifa), Microsoft Research, Google, and he has an ongoing collaboration with IBM Research lab at Almaden. Weinstein previously worked as a software engineer for Anobit Technologies, a semiconductor startup that uses signal processing to optimize the performance of flash memory. He is a co-founder of an emerging startup company, whose aspiration is to improve the latency of mobile content delivery in our Big Data era.

Peter Zimmerman

Zimmerman, currently a second-year M.S.E. student, studies security and privacy, particularly on the Web. He is advised by Arvind Narayanan and is an active contributor to an ongoing, open-source project focusing on a web privacy measurement platform that emphasizes scale and automation. In addition to privacy, this measurement platform is used to study web security as well as questions about the fairness of online business practices. Before beginning at Princeton, Zimmerman served as an officer in the U.S. Army in various leadership roles and deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan. He received his B.S. in computer science from Embry-Riddle in Prescott, Arizona.

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