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CoC Junior Faculty Tapped for Sloan Research Fellowships

Nina Balcan and Patrick Traynor, both assistant professors in the School of Computer Science, have been selected as 2014 Sloan Research Fellows, according to an announcement today from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.

The fellowship program is designed to stimulate fundamental research by early-career scientists and scholars of outstanding promise.  The foundation awards the two-year fellowships to 126 researchers each year in recognition of distinguished performance and a potential to make substantial contributions to their field.

For her fellowship, Balcan will develop foundations and algorithms for several important approaches in modern machine learning of high impact to many application areas. Her research will address distributed learning, which is highly relevant for Big Data applications where data is collected across multiple locations and the challenge is to learn fast and with limited communication. Furthermore, she will advance transfer learning where the goal is to build systems that perform life-long learning and leverage knowledge from previously learned tasks to learn new concepts.

Traynor’s research focuses on the security of mobile systems and has exposed critical vulnerabilities in cellular networks especially as they become more and more connected to the Internet.  His work was the first to measure the reality of mobile malware in provider networks and also provides robust techniques for detecting and combatting Caller-ID scams. Traynor is a member of the Georgia Tech Information Security Center (GTISC), a co-director of the Converging Infrastructure Security Laboratory (CISEC) and a co-founder of Pindrop Security.

Formed in 1934 by former General Motors President and CEO Alfred P. Sloan Jr., the foundation provides grants to support original research and broad-based education related to science, technology and economic performance. The fellowship program recognizes young scholars in science, mathematics, economics and computer science.