Jean Honorio and Hau Chan merited "Top Graduate Students" recognition for 2011-2012 academic year


STONY BROOK, NY, February 20, 2013

Jean Honorio (Advisors: Dimitris Samaras and Luis Ortiz) and Hau Chan (Advisor: Luis Ortiz) merited special recognition as the "Top Graduate Students" whose academic achievements were of exceptional caliber. 

Jean Honorio
Advisors: Dimitris Samaras and Luis Ortiz


According to his nominators, Jean Honorio is one of the best students they have ever had in Computer Science in years. In their submission, they extolled Jean’s virtues as an excellent researcher with a strong ability to design a research agenda and to carry it through, either independently or collaboratively.

They wrote, "Graphical models are a powerful statistical methodology that efficiently models the structure of a dataset and allows for powerful conclusions to be drawn from data. However, today’s complex datasets, be they brain activity data, weather patterns, stock market data or voting patterns, cannot be efficiently analyzed because no underlying organizational structure can be easily discerned by human observers. Jean has made significant theoretical and algorithmic advances towards the tractable learning of graphical model structures from data. His methods have already led to new insights in brain function and in the manner congressmen vote."

Among Jean’s achievements are several single-author papers in highly selective, double-blind, peer-reviewed conferences in artificial intelligence and machine learning. He also has several articles under review for publication in top journals such as the Journal of Machine Learning Research.

Upon learning that he had won a Top Student Award, Jean wrote, "I am very grateful to SBU for this award. From my advisors at SBU, I learned how to find problems that are both challenging as well as relevant in the real world. I also learned how to solve these problems with powerful statistical and optimization tools."

Jean has since received his PhD and moved on to a postdoc position at the MIT Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) under the supervision of Tommi Jaakkola.


Hau Chan
Advisor: Luis Ortiz


Hau Chan received two fellowships from the National Science Foundation (NSF) last year: the NSF Graduate Research Fellowship and the NSF East Asia and Pacific Summer Institutes (EAPSI) Fellowship. He also published a paper for the Conference on Uncertainty in Artificial Intelligence (UAI): Papers submitted to UAI went through a double-blind, meticulous peer-review process where the acceptance rate was approximately 29% in 2012. In addition, Hau published a paper in the Bulletin of Institute of Combinatorics and its Applications, a well-known journal in discrete mathematics.

"It is my honor to be selected to receive this top graduate student award," said Hau. "I would like to thank Professor Luis Ortiz for nominating me and the committee for selecting me. SBU has provided me with invaluable resources in support of my research as well as access to faculty members who do research in my area."

Last summer, Hau spent time in Singapore at the EAPSI working on a computational voting theory project with Professor Edith Elkind and her group of students at Nanyang Technological University. Just this past winter break, "I was invited back to Singapore for a winter program/workshop in algorithmic game theory and computational social choice as well as to continue my research project with Professor Elkind," said Hau. In addition to completing the project with Elkind and submitting the results from the group to the International Joint Conferences on Artificial Intelligence, Hau was able to establish oversees funding opportunities to work with researchers in France and Australia.

"Currently, at SBU, I am working with Professor Ortiz on a computational game theory-related project and I am also working with Professor Leman Akoglu on a data mining/machine learning project," said Hau.

Before coming to Stony Brook, Hau received a BS in Mathematics and a BS in Computer Science from the College of Charleston, Charleston, SC. His short-term goals are to obtain a postdoc position at a reputable university, but eventually he would like to become a professor in a university or a researcher in a research lab.