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Incoming faculty member Sangeetha Abdu Jyothi, a postdoc at VMware Research who will join the Department of Computer Science in July 2020, was selected to attend the Heidelberg Laureate Forum (HLF) last month as a young researcher. Each year, 200 early career researchers from across the globe are chosen — through a multi-step application and selection process — to attend the event and network with laureates of mathematics and computer science.

“I had the opportunity to meet and converse with pioneers in my field such as Vint Cerf (Turing Award 2004) and Leslie Lamport (Turing Award 2013),” says Jyothi, who has focused her research on computer networking and systems. In particular, she builds application-aware self-optimizing systems through automated resource management, leveraging learning and optimization techniques to achieve resource efficiency in large-scale networked systems.

Jyothi says the event featured several interesting talks, including the Turing lecture of Yoshua Bengio (Turing Award 2018). “Bengio gave a comprehensive overview of the history of deep learning and his future vision for artificial intelligence research.” She also highlighted the talk by ACM Prize in Computing winner, Shwetak Patel. “He stressed the importance of using computer science as a tool for social impact with a comprehensive overview of his work on mobile health monitoring.”

The event featured a “Hot Topic” session on climate change and a variety of workshops and social events as well. “I was heartened to see this forum giving due importance to critical societal problems such as climate change and the gender gap in STEM through panel discussions,” says Jyothi. “Overall, HLF was an inspiring event with enlightening talks and invaluable interactions with the Laureates and other young researchers.”

Shani Murray