Funding Doctoral Research: Catacosinos Fellowship Awardees for 2019

The Department of Computer Science celebrates this year’s Catacosinos Fellowship awardees.

Earlier this year, computer science doctoral students Bo Li, Fatemeh Almodaresi and Zijun Wei were recognized by the Catacosinos Fellowship Fund for their research and academic accomplishments.

“For several decades, Catacosinos awards have supported computer science students. In fact, one of the earliest awardees was Prof. C.R. Ramakrishnan, a professor and alum in the department who leads our selection committee,” said Samir Das, chair of the Department of Computer Science in the College of Engineering and Applied Sciences.

In 2019, there was a large pool of students who applied for consideration for the $5,000 award. Each application package consisted of a research statement, curriculum vitae, recommendation letters and the student’s transcript. All of the applicants were very qualified for the fellowship and selected students will benefit from the recognition and substantial financial award.

The 2019 Catacosinos Fellowship awardees are:

Bo Li: Before coming to Stony Brook University to pursue his PhD in Computer Science, Bo Li attended the Ocean University of China, in QingDao, China. There, he earned a BS in Applied Mathematics and MS in Operations Research. After becoming a research assistant for the Department of Computer Science at Stony Brook, his main research focus became algorithm design and analysis, with a special interest in game theory, specifically approximation and online algorithms.

“I am very honored to be a recipient of the Catacosinos Fellowship because it validates my work as an individual of the research community. I chose to do research about these topics because of my interest between the intersections of computer science and economics. It excites me to see how the theoretical results I produce help build a better future,” said Bo.  

With more than 15 publications throughout his career as a researcher, Bo has clearly proven his resourcefulness and credibility. As an expert in multiple fields, he has been selected to present his work at a number of institutions and events such as the 45th International Colloquium on Automata and Programming in Prague, the 27th International Joint Conference on AI in Sweden, and City University of Hong Kong. Not only this, he has been a sub-reviewer in Operations Research, WINE’14, STOC’16, EC’16, ITCS’17, WINE’17 and EC’17. Bo is also a teaching assistant for CSE 114 and CSE 303 - Theory of Computation.

Zijun Wei: Zijun has dedicated his technical career to research. He attended Carnegie Mellon University and became a research assistant in the Robotics Institute. While pursuing his PhD at Stony Brook University, he did two 3-month internships at Adobe Research and he is currently a research assistant in the Department of Computer Science focusing on computer vision, machine learning and human perception.

When asked why he focuses his research on computer vision, machine learning and human perception Wei said, "To enhance our quality of life, computer vision systems should perceive the world as humans do."

Fatemeh Almodaresi: Fatemeh began her career at the University of Tehran, pursuing her BS at the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering. From 2009-2011, She attended the Iran University of Science and Technology, pursuing her MS in the School of Computer Engineering. Currently finishing up her PhD with Professor Robert Patro at the University of Maryland, Fatemeh has a special interest in developing scalable data structures and algorithms that processes high-throughput genomic data.

“I’ve been working on efficient ways of representing the colored de bruijn graph, representing and indexing compacted de bruijn graphs, and using these representations to solve classic problems of variant detection, read mapping, read alignment and taxonomic read assignment,” explained Almodaresi.

Fatemeh has published in 17th International Workshop on Algorithms in Bioinformatics and in Proceedings of the 55th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics. She has also worked with international companies such as Nexeven AB, a niche player in the online video broadcasting field, and Tosan Co’s Tosan Intelligent Data Miners Co, a fraud detection and anti-money laundering company.

One of the most notable aspects of Fatemeh pursuits is that she uses what she learns to better society. From 2013 to 2014, she worked on a project called AutismFD, a game that improves face emotion detection in children with autism. This project is still being used by a treatment center to help children with autism to identify face emotions and track their progress

Fatemeh says, “This fellowship really means a lot to me. I try my best to contribute my all to my fellow researchers and being recognized and knowing that my work really makes a difference empowers me to continue. With this fellowship, I will primarily use these funds to continue my research on data efficiency and the future project that I might dive into.

Congratulations to all of the winners and thank you to the Catacosinos Fellowship Fund for advancing computer science research.

-- Jacky Chen