CS@Georgetown Newsletter | Summer 2024

Posted in Newsletters

Chair’s Message

Nitin Vaidya
Prof. Nitin Vaidya

Dear Students, Alumni, and Colleagues,

With this inaugural newsletter, I am pleased to share with you the CS Department’s recent achievements. As you will note from the updates below, our students and faculty continue to excel and they have received many accolades during the past year.

I will soon complete my six-year tenure as the department chair. During these six years, we have recruited eight outstanding new faculty members. The growing number of faculty allows us to offer a greater diversity of courses, and to pursue a broader set of research challenges. Broadening our academic offerings, Georgetown has recently launched a new undergraduate major in Computer Science, Ethics, and Society that combines technical training in computer science with the study of ethical and policy challenges relevant to the field. Over time, we expect to see a significant number of students enrolled in this new major.

We welcome your suggestions for improving communication with our students and alumni, and any suggestions you may have for improving our academic programs.

Warm regards,

Nitin Vaidya
Department Chair, Computer Science

New Faculty

Elissa Redmiles
Prof. Elissa M. Redmiles

Prof. Elissa M. Redmiles has joined the Computer Science department as an Assistant Professor, effective July 2023. Prof. Redmiles’ research is in the areas of security and privacy, with an emphasis on using computational, economic, and social science methods to understand & model users’ safety decision-making processes. She previously held a Research Group Leader position as a Faculty Member at the Max Planck Institute for Software Systems. Prof. Redmiles obtained her Ph.D. in Computer Science from the University of Maryland, College Park in 2019.

Student Activities and Awards

Student Activities

Healthcare Hackathon with AI (H2AI)
Photo source: H2AI

Students Reed Uhlik, Sameer Tirumala, and Jason Yi won two prizes recently at the Healthcare Hackathon with AI (H2AI) held at Georgetown University: a runner up ($2000) and a people’s choice award ($1000). Their AI system is a tool (Filed.AI) to streamline medical document processing.

Georgetown students Annika Lin, Maggie Shen, Reed Uhlik and Sameer Tirumala were awarded the Cloudforce-Microsoft AI Track prize
Photo source: Cloudforce/PR Newswire

Students Annika Lin, Maggie Shen, Reed Uhlik and Sameer Tirumala were awarded the Cloudforce-Microsoft AI Track prize and second place overall prize for their project HoyaHelper in Hoya Hacks 2024, Georgetown University’s annual hackathon competition. Jason Yi was part of a team that won the Best DEI Hack, sponsored by Fidelity, with the project Oyster.

University Awards

Shira Wein was the recipient of the Georgetown University Dr. Karen Gale Exceptional PhD Student Award. This award recognizes a Ph.D. graduate student who demonstrates a high level of excellence and expertise in their field. This can include academic and research achievements, excellence beyond course work and commitment to their area of study. Awards are given to one student from each area: humanities, social sciences and sciences and an at-large award. Shira also previously received the 2023 Graduate Student Teaching Award.

Department Awards

Ten students—Shabnam Behzad, Sibo Dong, Tianjian (Ken) Hu, Sam King, Jenny Park, Sidhant Saraogi, Ryn Slack, Sajad Sotudeh, Shira Wein, and Yanchen Wang—won the Department’s Outstanding Teaching Assistant Award for the 2023-24 academic year. The Award recognizes exemplary TAs who have significantly enhanced the learning experience of students through their dedication and expertise.

Aryaman Arora was the recipient of the Computer Science Tropaia Award at the 105th annual Tropaia Exercises. Miles Hu, Joshua Kaminski, Teddy Sommers, and Paul Taylor were the recipients of the Academic Excellence in Computer Science Award, which are presented to the B.S. and B.A. students who have major GPAs in the top 5% of their class.

PhD Graduations

Congratulations to all of our PhD graduates over the past year, including Yaguang Liu, Jiachi Zhang, Rahel Fainchtein, Shira Wein, Shuchen Zhu, and Sajad Sotudeh.

Faculty Awards and Honors


Prof. Sasha Golovnev
Prof. Sasha Golovnev
Prof. Benjamin E. Ujcich
Prof. Benjamin E. Ujcich

Prof. Benjamin E. Ujcich and Prof. Sasha Golovnev each received the National Science Foundation’s Faculty Early Career Development Program (CAREER) Awards in March 2024. The five-year CAREER Award “supports early-career faculty who have the potential to serve as academic role models in research and education” and approximately 500 awards are awarded annually, according to the NSF.

Prof. Ujcich’s award will help investigate security and trust issues related to the intent-based networking paradigm for future networking architectures.

Prof. Golovnev’s award will help investigate lower bounds for shallow circuits.

Faculty Honors

Matt Blaze
Prof. Matt Blaze
Elissa Redmiles
Prof. Elissa M. Redmiles

Prof. Elissa M. Redmiles was selected as a Clare Booth Luce Assistant Professor by the Henry Luce Foundation.

Prof. Matt Blaze, along with Steven M. Bellovin and Susan Landau, received the 2023 USENIX Lifetime Achievement Award presented at the 2023 USENIX Security Symposium for their work at the intersection of Computer Science, Computer Security, Law, and Public Policy.

Kobbi Nissim
Prof. Kobbi Nissim
Prof. Lisa Singh
Prof. Lisa Singh

Prof. Kobbi Nissim was selected as a 2024 Fellow for the International Association for Cryptologic Research.

Prof. Lisa Singh was awarded the 2023 William and Karen Sonneborn Chair for Interdisciplinary Collaboration Award for her work on using big data sources to study and predict forced migration.

Best Paper Awards

Muthu Venkitasubramaniam receives JP Morgan Faculty Research Award
Prof. Muthu Venkitasubramaniam
Jeremy Fineman
Prof. Jeremy Fineman

Prof. Jeremy Fineman received a Best Paper Award at ACM STOC 2024 for his single-author paper “Single-Source Shortest Paths with Negative Real Weights in Õ(mn^8/9) Time”.

Prof. Muthu Venkitasubramaniam received the Distinguished Paper Award at the 2023 ACM Conference on Computer and Communication Security (CCS) in November 2023 for “Batchman and Robin: Batched and Non-batched Branching for Interactive ZK” co-authored with Yibin Yang, David Heath, Carmit Hazay, and Vladimir Kolesnikov.

Noteworthy Events

Generative AI panel discussion
Generative AI panel discussion

The Department hosted a generative AI panel discussion in November 2023 as part of the Master’s Monday Lunch Talk Series. The panelists were Prof. Sarah Adel Bargal (Department of Computer Science; Computer Vision & Machine Learning), Prof. Will Fleisher (Department of Philosophy, Center for Digital Ethics; Digital Ethics), Prof. Chris Larson (Data Analytics Program, StormForge; Robotics & Machine Learning), and Prof. Amir Zeldes (Department of Linguistics; Computational Linguistics). The panel discussion was moderated by Prof. Grace Hui Yang.

As part of the annual Georgetown CS Graduate Orientation, the Department hosted the Graduate Student Welcome Picnic in September 2023 at Volta Park. A special thanks to Prof. Grace Hui Yang, the Graduate Committee, Joshua Chen, DJ Shields, and Sibo Dong for coordinating!

Prof. Nazli Goharian coordinated the 23rd and 24th Semi-Annual GU-CS Graduate Research Presentation Days in September and April, respectively. The events showcased student research from papers that have been accepted to journals, conferences, and workshops.

GU Women Coders (co-leads Kate Liggio and Adeline Roza) held Coding Week, Coding Party, Coding Studios, Panel with Alum in Tech, and co-sponsored the first Wiki-a-thon.

Dhiraj Saharia and Prof. Grace Hui Yang

During the Open House Day, graduate students presented posters of their research in a poster competition coordinated by Prof. Grace Hui Yang. The first place winner was Dhiraj Saharia for “LANTERN: Layered Adaptive Network TElemetRy CollectioN for Programmable Dataplane,” supervised by Prof. Benjamin E. Ujcich. The runner ups were Shabnam Behzad for “NLP Applications for English Language Learners,” supervised by Prof. Nathan Schneider and Prof. Amir Zeldes (Department of Linguistics; Computational Linguistics); and Ryan Wails for “Precisely Detecting Censorship Circumvention and How We Can Hide Better,” supervised by Prof. Micah Sherr

Last updated: June 25, 2024