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Winning combination: 2019 Microsoft Research Ada Lovelace and PhD Fellowships support top talent

January 17, 2019 | By Sandy Blyth, Global Managing Director, MSR Outreach

Head shots of select 2019 Ada Lovelace and Phd Fellowship winners

Microsoft Research is proud to announce the 2019 winners of the Ada Lovelace Fellowship and PhD Fellowship.

Microsoft Research Ada Lovelace Fellowship

The Ada Lovelace Fellowship is a new fellowship for Microsoft Research, established to support diverse talent getting doctorates in computing-related fields by providing three years of funding for second-year PhD students from groups underrepresented in computing.

“My hope is that the Ada Lovelace Fellowship will inspire an abundance of unconventional problem solvers and thought leaders—those who don’t fit the mold but who are excited to address challenges in their respective communities and global society,” said Divine Maloney of Clemson University.

Divine Maloney, ada lovelace winner

Divine Maloney

Maloney’s research seeks to understand the role of implicit biases in embodied virtual avatars and to establish guidelines to minimize unwanted biases in the design of avatars and other immersive virtual reality content.

Lydia Liu of University of California, Berkeley, another winner of the Ada Lovelace Fellowship, spoke of new access to a wider world of collaboration. “I feel encouraged to pursue research collaborations beyond my university, and am particularly excited about the opportunity to work with the researchers at Microsoft Research,” said Lydia Liu, whose research aims to establish theoretical foundations for machine learning algorithms to achieve reliable and robust performance. “I believe these future collaborations will be invaluable,” she added.

Lydia T. Liu., winner of the 2019 ada lovelace fellowship

Lydia T. Liu.

The Fellowship is named for Augustus Ada King, Countess of Lovelace, the 19th century English mathematician known for her seminal role in the development of computer programs.

Microsoft Research PhD Fellowship

Ten third-year doctoral students at North American universities pursuing research aligned to the directions pursued by Microsoft Research are awarded two-year fellowships following a rigorous evaluation process.

The PhD Fellowship was established in 2008. Since its inception, the program has supported 132 fellows that have gone on to perform pioneering research in the technology industry or accept faculty appointments at universities around the world.

“The Microsoft Research PhD Fellowship gives me the opportunity to take my research to the highest level by supplementing my Stanford experience with a perspective that only a global player such as Microsoft can provide,” said Constantin Dory, whose research at Stanford University is in photonics using diamond and silicon carbide as new materials in quantum computing. “A close bond with Microsoft will allow me to learn how my research may be relevant to immediate industrial applications and what I should be focusing on during my PhD to make the most meaningful impact.”

Constantin Dory, winner for 2019 PhD Fellowship

Constantin Dory

The program provides tuition and fees for two consecutive academic years (2019-20 and 2020-21) and an annual stipend of $42,000 to help with living expenses and conference travel. All fellows are offered an invitation to interview for a salaried internship with leading Microsoft researchers who are working on cutting-edge projects related to their field of study. Microsoft Research also pays for their travel to attend the PhD Summit: a two-day workshop held at the Redmond lab in the fall.

2018 PhD Summit Poster Session ,image of people viewing and engaing with the posters

2018 PhD Summit Poster Session

“These are the best PhD students in North America; they are incredibly talented and it is really an honor to support them at this important and exciting stage of their careers,” said Neel Joshi, a Senior Researcher at Microsoft’s research lab in Redmond, Washington, and chair of the Microsoft Research PhD Fellowship.

Students working on doctoral theses in fields related to systems and networking and artificial intelligence, areas that have generated strong interest at Microsoft were especially encouraged to compete in this year’s PhD Fellowship.

For example, Carnegie Mellon University researcher Daehyeok Kim’s work, which lies at the intersection of systems and networking, has the potential to make data centers faster and more efficient by designing novel network primitives with advanced networking hardware such as programmable switches and RDMA NICs. University of Maryland computer vision and machine learning researcher Zuxuan Wu’s research focuses on developing efficient frameworks through conditional computation for automated visual understanding and learning robust feature representations with limited supervision.

Applicants were required to be nominated by their University. Up to three applicants per department were accepted.

“To be part of this group of students that are so passionate about their research is truly inspirational, and itself a great motivation to set ambitious goals for our research agendas—during and after our PhDs,” said PhD Fellowship winner Joana M. F. da Trindade of Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Congratulations to the winners

2019 Microsoft Research Ada Lovelace Fellowship winners include:

Hiwot Tadese Kassa, University of Michigan
Os Keyes, University of Washington
Lydia T. Liu, University of California, Berkeley
Divine Maloney, Clemson University
Izzy Starr, University at Buffalo

2019 Microsoft Research PhD Fellowship winners include:

Constantin Dory, Stanford University
Danielle Gonzalez, Rochester Institute of Technology
Daehyeok Kim, Carnegie Mellon University
Jayashree Mohan, The University of Texas at Austin
Ramakanth Pasunuru, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Daniel Rakita, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Raghuvansh R. Saxena, Princeton University
Joana M. F. da Trindade, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Zuxuan Wu, University of Maryland
Katherine Ye, Carnegie Mellon University

For more information on the research of all of the 2019 fellows, visit: Microsoft Research Ada Lovelace Fellowship and Microsoft Research PhD Fellowship.

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