Category Archives: Foundation Activities

2016 ICDM 10-Year Highest-Impact Paper Award

IEEE International Conference on Data Mining series has established itself as one of the world’s premier research conference in data mining. It provides an international forum for presentation of original research results, as well as exchange and dissemination of innovative, practical development experiences.  Data mining is among the main technological cornerstones of the emergent applications that may catalyze major societal advancements.

ICDM 2016, the 16th conference in this series, aims to promote novel, high quality research findings, and innovative solutions to challenging data mining problems, and thus advance the state-of-the-art in data mining.

We are privileged to sponsor the 2016 ICDM 10-Year Highest-Impact Paper Award. This award recognizes the paper published in ICDM 2007 that has had the highest impact in the intervening decade.

The ICDM Awards committee has decided to give the 2016 award to the paper written by Robert M. Bell and Yehuda Koren: Scalable Collaborative Filtering with Jointly Derived Neighborhood Interpolation Weights. This paper enhances the neighborhood-based approach to collaborative filtering, a technique frequently employed in the recommender systems for predicting user preferences for products and services. The paper also evaluates the proposed methods on the Netflix dataset, where they deliver significantly better results than the commercial Netflix Cinematch recommender system.

The list of award winners from the prior conferences is available here.

Congratulations Robert and Yehuda!

hat_tipRicardo Baeza-Yates & ICDM 2016 Awards Committee

Inaugural Prof. Ram Kumar Prize for Outstanding Teaching and Research at IIT-Roorkee

It has been a privilege and honor for us to have been able to support the creation of the Annual Prof. Ram Kumar Prize at IIT-Roorkee. The prize has been instituted by the Board of Governors and the Director of IIT-Roorkee to nurture and celebrate excellence in teaching and research. Prof. Ram Kumar was a highly regarded faculty in the Department of Mathematics in the then University of Roorkee in early 1960’s.

Dr. Partha Roy, Professor of Biotechnology, was selected to be the inaugural recipient of the Prof. Ram Kumar Prize by the committee appointed by the Director to screen and evaluate the nominations.  Some information on innumerous accomplishments of Prof. Roy is available here.

Prof. Roy has been presented with the award at the IIT-R Charter Day held on November 25, 2016.  See here an interview with Prof. Roy, discussing his most significant research accomplishments, his teaching philosophy, and his advice to young faculty. Look here for some pictures of the award ceremony.

Our heartiest congratulations to Prof. Roy for winning this coveted award.

hat_tip  Prof. Ashok Misra (Chairman, BOG), Prof. Pradipta Banerji (Director), Prof. Sandeep Singh (Dean), Prof. Manoranjan Parida (Dean), Prof. Deepak Kashyap (Dean), Members of the Award Commitee

Ishika Memorial Action Fund at Womentum

Womentum is a non-profit organization with a mission to empower women entrepreneurs running micro-businesses. It is a global crowdfunding platform that donates 100% of raised funds directly to the women entrepreneurs world-wide. Once these women’s micro-businesses become successful, they re-donate a percentage of their original received donation to another woman entrepreneur in their community through a unique pay-it-forward model.

Womentum will use our grant to set-up the Ishika Memorial Action Fund. This Fund will be used to match donations made to Womentum by other donors, thus amplifying their impact.  This Fund will also be used to meet shortfalls for women entrepreneurs who are within 10% of reaching their funding target.

Kofi Annan, the 2001 Nobel Peace Laureate, observed: There is no tool for development more effective than the empowerment of women.  Meet here some of the women empowered by Womentum.

Ishika Agrawal (1984-2016) was a teacher of computer science and deeply cared about her students and teaching well (like her grandfather, Prof. Ram Kumar).

hat_tip  Prabha Dublish

Best Paper Awards and Student Fellowships at CIKM 2016

ACM Conference on Information and Knowledge Management is the premier international conference on topics at the confluence of information retrieval, databases, and knowledge management. Since 1992, it has successfully brought together leading researchers and developers from the three communities, with the purpose of identifying challenging problems facing the development of advanced knowledge and information systems and shaping future research directions.

CIKM 2016, the 25th conference in the series, was held in Indianapolis in October 2016. The theme of this year’s conference was: Frontiers and Applications of Big Data Science.

We feel very privileged to have been able to provide fellowships to enable 10 minority and women students to attend the conference. See feedback from some of the recipients of the Porf. Ram Kumar Foundation Fellowship here.

We were also able to sponsor Best Paper Awards at the conference. The award winners were:
Best Paper
Vandalism Detection in Wikidata: Stefan Heindorf, Martin Potthast, Benno Stein and Gregor Engels
Best Student Paper
Medical Question Answering for Clinical Decision Support: Travis Goodwin and Sanda Harabagiu
Best Student Paper Runner-up
Constructing Reliable Gradient Exploration for Online Learning to Rank: Tong Zhao and Irwin King
Best Demontration
Inferring Traffic Incident Start Time with Loop Sensor Data: Mingxuan Yue, Liyue Fan and Cyrus Shahabi

Congratulations Fellowship and Award winners!

hat_tip  Chengxiang Zhai, Mohammad Al Hasan & CIKM 2016 organizing committee

Annual Awards for Excellence at IIT-Roorkee

IIT-Roorkee Heritage Foundation Excellence Awards celebrate annually the excellence exhibited by the IIT-Roorkee students. The winners are selected based on demonstrated excellence in academics, sports, extra-curricular activities, and a self-assessment personal essay. The winners for 2016 have been announced and they will be recognized in the award ceremony slated for November 19, 2016.

We have instituted four awards.  We find it particularly rewarding to be able to sponsor these awards as Prof. Ram Kumar was in the faculty of the Department of Mathematics in the then University of Roorkee in early 1960’s. Rakesh Agrawal was also a student of the University in 1970’s.

Below are the awards we have instituted and the list of winners so far:

  1.  Prof. Ram Kumar Annual Award for Excellence in Integrated M.Sc.
    • Awarded based on student’s achievements in the studies of Applied Mathematics, Chemistry or Physics
    • 2016 Winner: Suyash Mishra, Applied Mathematics
    • 2015 Winner: Rahul Jain, Physics
    • 2014 Winner: Himanshu Khanchandani, Physics
    • 2013 Winner: Vipul, Chemistry
    • 2012 Winner: Razak Gupta, Applied Mathematics
    • 2011 Winner:  Razak Gupta, Applied Mathematics
    • 2010 Winner: Abhimanyu Saran, Applied Mathematics
  2.  Dr. Rakesh Agrawal Annual Award for Excellence in Computer Science
  3.  Dr. Rakesh Agrawal Annual Award for Excellence in Computer Science
  4.  Dr. Rakesh Agrawal Annual Award for Excellence in Electronics & Communications

Our heartiest congratulations and best wishes for continued accomplishments to all the awardees.

hat_tip  Aditya Gupta & IITRHF Excellence Awards Committee

Best Paper Awards at EDM 2016

International Educational Data Mining Society supports collaboration and scientific development in the emerging discipline of Educational Data Mining. This discipline is concerned with developing methods for exploring the data that comes from educational settings in order to shed light on the learning processes.

EDM conference series has emerged as a leading international forum for discussing and disseminating recent advances in educational data mining.  EDM 2016, the ninth conference in this series, took place in Raleigh, North Carolina, in June-July 2016.

We feel very privileged to have been able to sponsor the EDM 2016 Best Paper and Best Student Paper Awards. The award winners were:

Best paper
How Deep is Knowledge Tracing?: Mohammad Khajah, Robert Lindsey and Michael Mozer
Best student paper
Calibrated Self-Assessment: Igor Labutov and Christoph Studer [Story behind the paper]

hat_tip  Mykola Pechenizkiy, Tiffany Barnes & the EDM 2016 organizing committee

Fellowships to the ICDE 2016 Next Generation Researchers

IEEE International Conferences on Data Engineering  address research issues in designing, building, managing, and evaluating advanced data systems and applications. They provide leading forum for researchers, practitioners, developers, and users to explore cutting-edge ideas and to exchange techniques, tools, and experiences.

32nd IEEE ICDE will be held in Helsinki, Finland, May 16-20, 2016. Due to its numerous contributions to the areas of software engineering, mobile communications and computing, databases, and data mining, Finland is the perfect venue for addressing emerging database issues such as post-disk database architectures, Internet-of-Things support, and vertical applications.

Like ICDE 2015, we are privileged to be the Special Sponsor of Next Generation Researchers attending the ICDE 2016 Conference.

hat_tip  Boris Novikov & Eljas Soisalon-Soininen

Mathcounts 2016 Competition

Mathcounts strives to engage middle school students of all ability and interest levels in fun, challenging math programs. The Mathcounts competition series brings together students from all of our states in a series of in-person contests.

We first sponsored the Peninsula Chapter Mathcounts competition in 2013.  We found the experience so gratifying that we  sponsored again the 2014 competition and the 2015 competition.  We will again be sponsoring the 2016 competition to be held at the Jordan Middle School in Palo Alto, California on February 6. We find sponsoring Mathcounts particularly gratifying as Prof. Ram Kumar was himself a mathematician.

Make a date with Mathcounts! The kids are amazing!!!

hat_tip  Pallavi Shah

Sponsoring 2015 IIT-Roorkee Alumni National Conference

IIT-Roorkee has roots going back to 1847 and ranks amongst the best technological institutions in the world.

The IIT-Roorkee Alumni National Conference 2015 is planned to be a unique professional conference with the theme “Network with the future, reconnect with the past”. The event shall include a mix of talks, panel discussions, networking opportunities and 1-1 mentoring.

We are proud to be a platinum-level sponsor of the conference.

hat_tip  Shreyas Kumar & Swapnil Sinvhal

Strengthening Community through Public Library

The quality of a community depends directly on its citizens’ access to knowledge. Public libraries enrich lives and expand opportunities for all citizens by promoting reading and the active use of cultural, intellectual, and information resources.

In a  national poll in 2008, almost all Americans (92%) said that they view their public library as an important resource. Seven out of ten agreed that their public library is a pillar of the community (72%), a community center (71%), a family destination (70%), and a cultural center (69%)

Per American Library Association, Americans check out an average of more than seven books a year from public libraries. They are the number one point of online access for people without internet connections at home, school or work. More than 65% of public libraries provide services for job seekers. Unfortunately,  Americans spend more than twice as much on candy as they do on public libraries.

The Richmond Public Library near Berkeley traces its root to a resolution passed on August 16, 1907 at the Women’s Improvement Club of Richmond to establish a public library.  Its services now include (i) children programs, featuring story hours, puppet shows, handicraft activities, an dial-a-story telephone story telling; (ii) book collection of some 236,000 volumes; (iii) periodical holdings exceeding 700 titles;  (iv) microfilm holdings of newspapers and periodicals exceeding 4,000 reels; (v) more than 11,000 phonograph record albums; and (vi) an extensive audiovisual service — more than 400 films ranging from children’s cartoons to full-length features. It also provides free legal services and homework help tutoring. The library draws not only Richmond residents, but patrons from the surrounding areas as well.

We are pleased to support the Richmond Public Library.

hat_tip  Lucas Maystre

Prof. Ram Kumar Prize for Outstanding Teaching and Research at IIT-Roorkee

We feel very privileged and honored to have been able to support the creation of a Ram Kumar Prize Fund at the Indian Institute of Technology – Roorkee.  The object and purpose of the Fund is to nurture and celebrate excellence in teaching and research by way of instituting an annual prize, named after Prof. Ram Kumar, to be given to a faculty of the Institute at the annual convocation in perpetuity.

The Fund is administered by the IIT-R Director. The Director formulates the selection criteria and the selection procedure for the prize, and is also responsible for executing the selection process and awarding the prize.

Prof. Ram Kumar was a highly regarded faculty in the Department of Mathematics in the then University of Roorkee in early 1960’s.

The signing of the MOA for the Prof. Ram Kumar Prize on July 24, 2015

Awards in Support of COSN 2015

With well over a billion people as members, today’s online social networks  pervade all aspects of our daily lives. Their usage has influenced today’s societal and cultural issues, and changed the way we see ourselves and communicate with each other.

ACM Conferences on Online Social Networks (COSN) provide a premier venue that features high quality research from academia and industry across multiple disciplines focused around the study of social networks.

The third conference in the series, COSN’15, will be held at the Stanford University during November 1-2, 2015.  In continuation of our support for COSN’13 and COSN’14, we are proud to be supporting COSN’15 via sponsoring the following awards:

  • Two awards for the most enthusiastic and significant contributions to the program committee deliberations. The winners, selected by the program committee members, were Daniel Figueiredo and Krishna Gummadi.
  • An award for the best presentation at the workshop on Online Social Networks – Trends and Directions, held in conjunction with the program committee meeting on July 21, 2015. The winner, selected by the workshop attendees, was Krishna Gummadi.
  • A service award for Lucas Maystre for creating and managing the website used for conference submissions and program committee discussions.

Congratulations, the award winners!

Prof. David J. DeWitt Chair at the University of Wisconsin

We feel very privileged to have been able to establish the Prof. David J. DeWitt Chair in Computer Sciences at the University of Wisconsin – Madison.

Our intent in establishing this Chair is to support the UW-Madison Department of Computer Sciences’ leadership role in the emergent “datafication” of human endeavors. The Chair will enhance the ability of the Computer Sciences Department to recruit and retain topmost senior faculty.

The candidates for the Chair position shall satisfy the following characteristics:

A. The candidate’s work exemplifies the mission of the Professor Ram Kumar Memorial Foundation: accelerate societal advancements through scientific breakthroughs, technological innovations, and the democratization of knowledge acquisition and diffusion.

B. For at least 7 years, the candidate shall have the following additional attributes:

i) Expert in management of data of various modalities and extracting insights from data.

ii) An external candidate who is a member of the National Academy or who has or soon will have the commensurate professional credentials.

iii) Can form a nucleus to help department scale new heights, working with colleagues across campus to accelerate societal advances made possible by the collection of massive amounts of information on physical and/or social phenomenon.

The naming of the endowed chair after Prof. DeWitt honors a world-renowned scientist and teacher and a seminal figure in the UW’s database research group. There are parallels between Prof. Ram Kumar and Prof. David DeWitt. Like Prof. DeWitt, Prof. Ram Kumar was a scholar, loved by his students, and was a person of unquestionable intellectual honesty and integrity. It is very apt that the Chair funded through the Professor Ram Kumar Memorial Foundation is named the DeWitt Chair.

The Badger Bytes article on the creation of the DeWitt Chair

Best Paper Awards at DSAA 2015

IEEE International Conferences on Data Science and Advanced Analytics (IEEE DSAA), hosted by the IEEE Task Force on Data Science and Advanced Analytics, aims to be a flagship conference in the area of data science and analytics to shape the field of data science. It has attracted wide participation from most of countries and regions. DSAA has a Research track and an Application track, a prestigious special session on Trends and Controversies, and special sessions on emergent topics.

DSAA 2015, the second conference in this series, will be held in Paris, France in October 2015.
Given our belief in the central importance of  insights derived from data in the success of all human endeavors in the future, we will be sponsoring the best research paper and best application paper awards at the conference.

hat_tip  Longbing Cao, Sihem Amer-Yahia & DSAA organizing committee

Fellowships to CIKM 2015 Student Attendees

ACM Conference on Information and Knowledge Management is the premier international conference on topics at the confluence of information retrieval, databases, and knowledge management. Since 1992, it has successfully brought together leading researchers and developers from the three communities, with the purpose of identifying challenging problems facing the development of advanced knowledge and information systems and shaping future research directions.

CIKM 2015, the 24th conference in the series, will be held in Melbourne, Australia in October 2015. We will be supporting student participation in the conference by enabling the conference organizers to provide 20 complimentary tutorial registrations to the student attendees.  They are giving preference to students who are studying in or who are from developing countries, but all student attendees are eligible.

hat_tip  Alistair Moffat, James Bailey & CIKM organizing committee

Travel Awards to ICDM 2015 Student Attendees

IEEE International Conference on Data Mining series has established itself as one of the world’s premier research conference in data mining. It provides an international forum for presentation of original research results, as well as exchange and dissemination of innovative, practical development experiences.  Data mining is among the main technological cornerstones of the emergent applications that may catalyze major societal advancements.

ICDM 2015, the 15th conference in this series, aims to promote novel, high quality research findings, and innovative solutions to challenging data mining problems, and thus advance the state-of-the-art in data mining.

We are privileged to sponsor ICDM’s Next Generation Researcher Travel Awards  to enable 20 student attendees to  participate in the conference.

hat_tip  Varun Chandola & ICDM organizing committee

Fellowships to AIED 2015 Student Attendees

International Artificial Intelligence in Education Society promotes rigorous research and development of interactive and adaptive learning environments. It organizes biennial AIED conferences for high quality research in intelligent systems and cognitive science for educational computing applications.

AIED 2015 will be collocated with EDM 2015.  It is particularly emphasizing two themes: students’ diversity from an inclusion viewpoint and collaboration in education. Both of these are dear to our heart.

We are supporting AIED 2015 to enable increased student participation in the conference.

hat_tip  Tanja Mitrovic & AIED organizing committee

Fellowships to EDM 2015 Student Attendees

International Educational Data Mining Society supports collaboration and scientific development in the emerging discipline of Educational Data Mining. This discipline is concerned with developing methods for exploring the data that comes from educational settings in order to shed light on the learning processes.

EDM conference series has emerged as a leading international forum for discussing and disseminating recent advances in educational data mining.  EDM 2015, the eighth conference in this series, will take place in the Spanish National University for Distance Education, Madrid, Spain in June 2015.

We will be joining hands with NSF to enable increased student participation in EDM 2015.

hat_tip  Mykola Pechenizkiy & EDM organizing committee

Fellowships to KDD 2015 Student Attendees

ACM SIGKDD conferences provide the premier forum for advancement and adoption of the science and engineering of knowledge discovery and data mining.  Started in 1989, KDD is the oldest & largest data mining conference worldwide. After 25 years and an explosive growth in this industry, KDD is still the home for the latest cutting-edge research in data mining, knowledge discovery, big data, data science and their applications. It is noteworthy that the theme for KDD 2014 was data science for social good.

KDD 2015 will be the first Australian edition of KDD, and it is only the second time that it is being organized in the Asia Pacific region.  It aims to equally emphasize the theoretical advances as well as the real world applications that benefits millions of people.

We are thrilled to be providing fellowships to 20 students, selected by the conference organizers, to enable them to attend  the conference.

hat_tip  Balaji Krishnapuram & KDD organizing committee

Fellowships to VLDB 2015 Student Attendees

VLDB Conferences constitute one of the most eminent venues for the timely dissemination of research and development results in the field of database management. Data management and databases remain among the main technological cornerstones of the applications of the twenty-first century. With the emergence of Big Data, data-related technologies are becoming more important than ever before.

VLDB 2015, the 41st conference,  will feature research talks, tutorials, demonstrations, and workshops, covering current issues in data management, database, and information systems research.   The conference will take place during August 31-Sept 4, 2014 on the Kohala Coast of the Big Island of Hawai‘i. The Kohala Coast is known for its “mana” (wisdom/history) and is rich in both cultural and environmental history.

We are privileged to be able to provide Travel Fellowships to 20 students, selected by the conference organizers, to enable them to attend  the conference.

hat_tip  Mike Carey & S. Sudarshan