Cornell Bowers College of Computing and Information Science
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Hariharan, HSU Win NSF Early-Career Development Awards

By Tom Fleischman for the Cornell Chronicle

Bharath Hariharan and Justin Hsu, both assistant professors in the Department of Computer Science in the Cornell Ann S. Bowers College of Computing and Information Science, are among the 11 Cornell professors who recently received the National Science Foundation (NSF) Faculty Early Career Development Award. The annual awards are one of the organization’s most prestigious awards in support of early-career faculty and include a federal grant for research and education activities for five consecutive years. 

Hariharan will use his award to develop technologies for computer-vision recognition systems that can identify difficult visual concepts without large datasets. Current systems must be trained on datasets of millions of images which have been painstakingly labeled by human annotators. Such datasets are difficult to create for many application domains, such as microscopy; they may also run afoul of privacy concerns. Recognition systems that can work with limited training data will unlock many downstream applications and increase accessibility. The educational component will include a workshop for high school students from underrepresented communities.

Hsu award will be used for his work on randomized algorithms, which play a central role in areas including machine learning, data privacy, and cryptography. Like all software, probabilistic programs are susceptible to bugs; furthermore, correctness properties rest on mathematical proof, and missteps in these arguments can render algorithms incorrect before they are even implemented, which could have long-range consequences. His proposal seeks to advance the theory and practice of verification for probabilistic programs, developing technology to increase our confidence in these programs.

Read more about the eleven Cornell recipients in the Cornell Chronicle