Carnegie Mellon University

Katerina Fragkiadaki portrayed.

June 04, 2021

Three SCS Faculty Members Receive Amazon Research Awards

SCS faculty members Ruben Martins, Heather Miller and Katerina Fragkiadaki are among the five CMU professors who recently earned Amazon Rese

By Aaron Aupperlee

Aaron Aupperlee
  • Senior Director of Media Relations
  • 412-268-9068

Amazon selected five Carnegie Mellon University faculty members to receive funding in its latest round of Amazon Research Awards. Of the five selected, three are School of Computer Science faculty members: Katerina Fragkiadaki, Ruben Martins and Heather Miller. David Danks and Sivaraman Balakrishnan from the Dietrich College of Humanities and Social Sciences also received fellowships.

The awards provide funding, access to Amazon public datasets, and the use of artificial intelligence and machine learning services and tools. Each award is intended to support one year of work for one to two graduate students or postdoctoral students with faculty supervision.

"The 2020 Amazon Research Awards recipients represent a distinguished array of academic researchers who are pursuing research across areas such as machine learning algorithms and theory, fairness in AI, computer vision, natural language processing, edge computing, and medical research," said Bratin Saha, vice president of AWS Machine Learning Services. "We are excited by the depth and breadth of their proposals, as well as the opportunity to advance the science through strengthened connections among academic researchers, their institutions and our research teams."

Fragkiadaki, an assistant professor in the Machine Learning Department, received an award to support her group's ongoing work on intelligent manipulation in conjunction with Robotics Institute faculty member Chris Atkeson. Their research will focus on helping artificial agents quickly adapt to new environments through continual learning from a library of reusable behaviors. This library will help AI agents generalize manipulation skills across different objects, their configurations, scene clutter and camera viewpoints.

Martins, a systems scientist in the Computer Science Department who will start as an assistant research professor in July, will use his award to study optimization problems where the variables, like the number of students and courses at CMU, put ideal solutions out of the reach of existing algorithms. Instead, Martins will look to solve these problems efficiently but not perfectly to save money, human resources and computation time.

Miller, an assistant professor in the Institute for Software Research, received an award for work with her Ph.D. candidate, Christopher Meiklejohn, on a project called Filibuster. The tool systematically identifies bugs in applications like Netflix or Audible before they can reach production and potentially bring down large web services.

The CMU researchers said that the ability to access to Amazon datasets and use its artificial intelligence and machine learning services and tools will be a great help in furthering their research.

Amazon provided 101 awards to recipients from 59 universities. Read more about the awards and their recipients in on the Amazon Science site.

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