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Speakers: Physical Sciences & Computing

Computer Networking
Nick Feamster
University of Chicago

Nick Feamster is Neubauer Professor of Computer Science and Faculty Director of Research at the Data Science Institute. Previously, he was a full professor in the Computer Science Department at Princeton University, where he directed the Center for Information Technology Policy (CITP); prior to Princeton, he was a full professor in the School of Computer Science at Georgia Tech. Nick is an ACM Fellow. He received the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE) for his contributions to cybersecurity, notably spam filtering. He is an ACM Fellow. His other honors include the Technology Review 35 “Top Young Innovators Under 35” award, the ACM SIGCOMM Rising Star Award, a Sloan Research Fellowship, the NSF CAREER award, the IBM Faculty Fellowship, the IRTF Applied Networking Research Prize, and award papers at ACM SIGCOMM (network-level behavior of spammers), the SIGCOMM Internet Measurement Conference (measuring Web performance bottlenecks), and award papers at USENIX Security (circumventing web censorship using Infranet, web cookie analysis) and USENIX Networked Systems Design and Implementation (fault detection in router configuration, software-defined networking). His seminal work on the Routing Control Platform won the USENIX Test of Time Award for its influence on Software Defined Networking.

William Gropp
University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign

Professor William Gropp is the director of the National Center for Supercomputing Applications. His research interests are in high performance computing,  specifically development of scalable numerical algorithms for partial differential equations and models for highly scalable applications. Dr. Gropp has played a major role in the development of the MPI message-passing standard. He is coauthor of MPICH, the most widely used implementation of MPI, and was involved in the MPI Forum as a chapter author for both MPI-1 and MPI-2. Gropp is also one of the designers of the PETSc parallel numerical library and has developed efficient and scalable parallel algorithms for the solution of linear and nonlinear equations. With the other members of the PETSc core team, he was awarded the SIAM/ACM Prize in Computational Science and Engineering. In addition, he is involved in several other advanced computing projects, including performance modeling, data structure modification for ultra-high-performance computers, and development of component-based software to promote interoperability among numerical toolkits. Gropp has been named an ACM Fellow, an IEEE Fellow, a SIAM Fellow, and an AAAS Fellow. He received the IEEE Computer Society's Sidney Fernbach award, the SIAM-SC Career Award, and the ACM/IEEE-CS Ken Kennedy Award. Gropp is a member of the National Academy of Engineering and is the 2022 IEEE Computer Society President.

VS Subrahmanian

Professor V.S. Subrahmanian is an expert on big data analytics including methods to analyze text/geospatial/relational/social network data, learn behavioral models from the data, forecast actions, and influence behaviors with applications to cybersecurity and counter-terrorism. He has written five books, edited ten, and published over 300 refereed articles. He is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence and received numerous other honors and awards. His work has been featured in numerous outlets such as the Baltimore Sun, the Economist, Science, Nature, the Washington Post, American Public Media and more. He serves on the editorial boards of numerous journals including Science, and currently serves on the Board of Directors of SentiMetrix, Inc. and on the Research Advisory Board of Tata Consultancy Services. He previously served on the Board of Directors of the Development Gateway Foundation (set up by the World Bank), DARPA's Executive Advisory Council on Advanced Logistics and as an ad-hoc member of the US Air Force Science Advisory Board. Recent publications address modern Android spywaregame-theoretic approaches to strategic decision making in cyber warfare, and strategies for cyber deception.

Applications of AI
Jana Diesner
University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign

Professor Jana Diesner's research integrates methods from network science, natural language processing and machine learning with theories from the social sciences and humanities to study interaction-based and information-based systems. Her scholarship has appeared in Nature Scientific Reports. Recent publications address predictions in collaboration networks and preventing adversarial attacks on social networks. Recognition for her research expertise includes appointments as an ASPIRE Leadership Academy Fellow (2020), CIO Scholar for Information Research and Technology at Illinois (2018), Natural Language Processing Expert in Residence for the Champaign Research Park (2018), Linowes Fellow at the Cline Center for Advanced Social Research (2018), National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA) Faculty Fellow (2015), and Dori J. Maynard Senior Research Fellow (2016).

Quantum Technologies
Gaurav Bahl
University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign

Of particular interest are the mechanisms by which light interacts mechanically with photonic microsystems, and how mechanical devices can affect and manipulate light. Professor Gaurav Bahl performs experimental research at the interface between optical and mechanical systems. Recent publications have appeared in Nature and Nature Photonics. He is the recipient of a 2019 Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE); a 2017 Office of Naval Research (ONR) Director of Research Early Career Grant; and the 2015 Air Force Young Investigator Program (YIP) award for Chip-Scale Linear Non-Reciprocal Optomechanical Systems.

Fred Chong
University of Chicago

Fred Chong is the Seymour Goodman Professor in the Department of Computer Science at the University of Chicago and the Chief Scientist for Quantum Software at ColdQuanta. He is also Lead Principal Investigator for the EPiQC Project (Enabling Practical-scale Quantum Computing), an NSF Expedition in Computing. Chong is a member of the National Quantum Advisory Committee (NQIAC) which provides advice to the President and Secretary of Energy on the National Quantum Initiative Program. In 2020, he co-founded, a quantum software company, which was acquired by ColdQuanta in 2022. Chong received his Ph.D. from MIT in 1996 and was a faculty member and Chancellor’s fellow at UC Davis from 1997-2005. He was also a Professor of Computer Science, Director of Computer Engineering, and Director of the Greenscale Center for Energy-Efficient Computing at UCSB from 2005-2015. He is a recipient of the NSF CAREER award, the Intel Outstanding Researcher Award, and 13 best paper awards. His research interests include emerging technologies for computing, quantum computing, multicore and embedded architectures, computer security, and sustainable computing. Prof. Chong has been funded by NSF, DOE, Intel, Google, AFOSR, IARPA, DARPA, Mitsubishi, Altera and Xilinx. He has led or co-led over $40M in awarded research, and been co-PI on an additional $41M.

Brian DeMarco
University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign

The Frontier of Illinois Quantum Computing and Networking Technology
Professor Brian DeMarco uses ultracold atom gases trapped in optical lattices to study models of strongly correlated systems that are relevant to materials such as high-temperature superconductors. Professor DeMarco serves on a number of national committees, including the APS Panel On Public Affairs and as the Chair of the NASA Fundamental Science Standing Review Board. Recent publications have appeared in Nature Communications and on the cover of Nature Physics

Supratik Guha
University of Chicago

Professor Guha led the Center for Nanoscale Materials, a US Department of Energy Office of Science user facility, from 2015 to 2019. Before joining Argonne and the University of Chicago in 2015, he spent twenty years at IBM Research, where he last served as the director of physical sciences. At IBM, Guha pioneered the materials research that led to IBM’s high dielectric constant metal gate transistor, one of the most significant developments in silicon microelectronics technology. He was also responsible for initiating or significantly expanding IBM’s R&D programs in silicon photonics, quantum computing, sensor based cyberphysical systems, and photovoltaics. Guha is a member of the National Academy of Engineering and a Fellow of the Materials Research Society, American Physical Society, a 2018 Department of Defense Vannevar Bush Faculty Fellow, and the recipient of the 2015 Prize for Industrial Applications of Physics. 

Meenesh Singh
University of Illinois Chicago

Low-Temperature Conversion of Natural Gas and Biogas to Liquid Fuels
Dr. Meenesh R. Singh is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Chemical Engineering and the Director of the Materials and Systems Engineering Lab (MaSEL) at UIC. Prior to this appointment at UIC, he was a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Joint Center for Artificial Photosynthesis with a joint affiliation to UC Berkeley and Lawrence Berkeley National Lab. Dr. Singh leads the Materials and Systems Engineering Lab (MaSEL) at UIC, where his research group is developing state-of-the-art computational and experimental tools to solve grand challenges of the 21st century.

Kyle Smith
University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign

Microfluidic Superhighway Battery Desalination
Professor Kyle Smith's research focuses on microstructure and transport in heterogenous and porous materials, as well as mass, charge, heat and fluid transport in electrochemical systems. He is the recipient of the 2018 ISE-Elsevier Prize for Applied Electrochemistry. Recent publications have appeared in the Journal of Applied Physics and Physical Review Materials and the Journal of the Electrochemical Society.

Ted Sargent

Professor Ted Sargent’s research group spans the fields of chemistry, physics, and engineering covering the areas of electrocatalytic technology to synthesize chemical fuels and feedstocks, next generation solar technologies, energy harvesting, quantum dots and low-dimensional semiconductors, new semiconducting materials for use in on-chip signal processing, and the rational design of new materials for optoelectronics. Professor Sargent is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, the AAAS, the IEEE and of the Canadian Academy of Engineering. He has founded several startups - InVisage Technologies, which was acquired by Apple in 2017, Xagenic which was partially acquired in 2018 by the General Atomics - Electromagnetic Systems Group, and QD Solar. Recent publications have appeared in NatureScience, and Nature Catalysis.

John Torkelson

Professor John Torkelson’s research group focuses on engineering and optimizing polymer properties by tuning molecular-scale responses via dynamic chemistry, nanoscale confinement, chain architecture, and novel solid-state processing, among other methods. For example, the group has recently developed three simple dynamic chemistry approaches that allow for spent thermosets or crosslinked polymers to be recycled by melt-state processing into new crosslinked polymer products with full recovery of crosslink density and associated properties. The group also pursues novel, industrially scalable solid-state processing approaches to design and produce modified polymers, polymer blends, composites, and nanocomposites that cannot be produced by conventional melt-state processing. Professor Torkelson was awarded the Polymer Physics Prize by the Journal of Polymer Science Part B: Polymer Physics and the Charles M.A. Stine Award from the Materials Engineering and Science Division of the American Institute of Chemical Engineering. He is also a Fellow of the American Physical Society. Recent publications appear in MacromoleculesACS Applied Polymer Materials, and Polymer.