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ACM Computer Research Contest Showcases Student Innovations

Graduate, Undergraduate Finalists from U.S., Canada, Japan, India Poised to Enter High Tech Work Force

The Association for Computing Machinery
Advancing Computing as a Science & Profession

Contact: Virginia Gold

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NEW YORK, August 5, 2009 -- ACM (the Association for Computing Machinery) honored the Grand Finals winners of its Student Research Competition (SRC) with awards and cash prizes for achievements in computing research at its recent awards ceremony.   The winners, from colleges and universities in the U.S., Canada, Japan and India, are gaining education and experience that will prepare them for growing career opportunities in the computing field.  The original research presentations covered a range of topics including mobile phone design; mobile social network capacity; text input for Asian syllabic languages; graphical interfaces for drawing and editing; artificial intelligence for computer-generated characters; and innovative computer programming techniques. The awards were presented on June 27 at the 2009 ACM Awards Banquet in San Diego, CA. 

            ACM's Student Research Competition program is sponsored by Microsoft Research as a way to encourage students to pursue careers in computer science research.  “Microsoft Research is delighted to sponsor the ACM’s Student Research Program,” said Tony Hey, Corporate Vice President for External Research at Microsoft.  “We are committed to creating exciting opportunities for students, researchers and leaders of tomorrow, ultimately helping to ensure the future of scientific discovery and innovation.” 

            The competitions were held at 10 major ACM Special Interest Group (SIG) conferences within the last year.  Each SRC featured research projects produced by an international array of graduate and undergraduate students in computer science. Nearly 200 students applied to participate in the SRC events this year.  By offering the experience of a real-world conference to prepare and present research to the community, these competitions give students an opportunity to demonstrate success in problem-solving projects with early practice and preparation of their research. 

SRC Grand Finals Results

            In the graduate student category, the first place winner was Xu Liu of the University of Maryland, College Park for his research on mobile currency readers for people with visual impairments.  Second place went to Stratis Ioannidis of the University of Toronto for his work on the distribution of content updates over mobile social networks.  In third place was Ye Kyaw Thu of Waseda University in Japan for his examination of keyboard mappings and text input methods for Asian syllabic languages on mobile devices.            

            In the undergraduate category, all three finalists presented their research at the 2008 Grace Hopper Celebration of Women and Computing.  The first place winner was Alice Zhu of Harvey Mudd College for her research on diagram creation and editing for pen-based interfaces.  Second place went to Neha Singh of the Indian Institute of Technology Bombay in India for her contributions to scaling artificial intelligence for use in computationally intensive games.  The third place finisher was Sara Loos of Indiana University for her relabeling of Strassen’s matrix multiplication for computer programming.           

Originally conducted as a single event at the ACM Special Interest Group on Computer Science Education (SIGCSE) conference, the SRCs now take place throughout the year with plans for more than 10 presentations at various ACM SIG conferences, each focusing on different areas of computing.  Entries are judged on the quality and significance of the work, as well as the quality and clarity of the oral and visual presentations of results.  SRC winners from each of the SIG competitions are then eligible to compete in the Grand Finals, where their research is evaluated over the World Wide Web.  

The top three undergraduate and graduate winners at each SRC receive prizes of $500, $300, and $200, respectively (USD).  The top three undergraduate and graduate winners at each SRC receive an award plaque and a two-year complimentary ACM membership with a subscription to ACM’s Digital Library.  The top three graduate and undergraduate Grand Finalists receive an additional $500, $300, and $200 respectively and Grand Finalist plaques, and are invited to ACM's annual Awards Banquet. 

The ACM Special Interest Group conferences that sponsored SRC events during the recently completed contest include:

2008 ASSETS (Computers and Accessibility)  

2008 CHI (Computer-Human Interaction)

2008 Hypertext

2008 MOBICOM (Mobile Computing and Networking)

2008 Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing

2008 SIGGRAPH (Computer Graphics)

2008 OOPSLA (Object-Oriented Programming, Systems, Languages and Applications)

2008 PLDI (Programming Language Design and Implementation)  

SC08 (SuperComputing)

2009 SIGCSE (Computer Science Education)


About ACM

ACM, the Association for Computing Machinery, is the world’s largest educational and scientific computing society, uniting computing educators, researchers and professionals to inspire dialogue, share resources and address the field’s challenges. ACM strengthens the computing profession’s collective voice through strong leadership, promotion of the highest standards, and recognition of technical excellence. ACM supports the professional growth of its members by providing opportunities for life-long learning, career development, and professional networking.