Courtesy of Cornell University

April 15, 2019

Machine Learning, Fake News and Cybersecurity: 10 Cornell Faculty Members Win Google Faculty Research Awards

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Last month, 10 Cornell faculty in Computing and Information Science received the 2018 Google Faculty Research Award. Out of 158 winning projects, Cornell was the third most awarded out of all participating universities worldwide.

To be considered for the award, Cornell faculty submitted research project proposals to Google on topics spanning quantum computing to machine learning. Winners receive funding from Google in order to cover a graduate student’s tuition while working on the proposed project, as well as support from Google researchers.

Google’s website states that the goal of the award “is to identify and strengthen long-term collaborative relationships with faculty working on problems that will impact how future generations use technology.”

Cornell Tech Prof. Vitaly Shmatikov won an award for his research on the security and privacy implications of machine learning.

“I am very happy to receive the Google faculty research award because it shows that Google, which is one of the leaders in the field, is taking security and privacy of machine learning seriously,” Shmatikov told The Sun in an email correspondence. “Cornell is a wonderful place to pursue this research — we have an environment that encourages faculty to work on high-impact research,” he continued.

Prof. Christina Delimitrou, electrical and computer engineering, also received an award for her work on optimizing performance and efficiency of “datacenters,” which power the web’s most popular online services. She said that the award offers a “great opportunity” to collaborate with Google, one of the main operators of warehouse-scale datacenters.

Delimitrou also spoke about the long-term effects of the award, which will allow her to “establish longer-term interactions that can lead to our research work having real-world impact.”

Many other high-impact project proposals received the award. Prof. Immanuel Trummer, computer science, hopes to combat the viral spread of false information online.

“Ultimately, I hope that this research will make it harder to publish — either accidentally or on purpose — wrong claims on the Web,” Trummer said.

Prof. Zhiru Zhang, electrical and computer engineering, also won an award for his research on the autonomation of the design process of digital integrated circuits, which are the building blocks of the circuits found in everything from cell phones to laptops. “It is very gratifying to have our work recognized by Google, who is a world leader in computing,” he told The Sun.

The complete list of Cornell winners are: