CORVALLIS, Ore. - Alex Groce and Xiaoli Fern, assistant professors in the School of Engineering and Computer Science at Oregon State University, have both received a Faculty Early Career Development award from the National Science Foundation.
These prestigious five-year grants recognize promising faculty at the beginning of their career for excellence and innovation in both research and teaching.
Groce does research on testing embedded software, especially safety-critical software such as collision avoidance systems for airplanes. His $400,000 award will fund work to improve automated testing. There may be other applications in areas as diverse as web browsing, preventing hackers from stealing personal information, and space exploration.
Fern works with a machine learning tool that organizes large amounts of data, and with a $550,000 grant will try to make it more user friendly and accessible. Such systems are widely used for applications such as identifying genes that perform similar functions. Other aspects of her project will be to help ecologists classify and determine the meaning of bird songs, and create more intuitive user interfaces like those found in “smart phones.”
“These awards recognize the dedicated educators and excellent researchers we have,” said Terri Fiez, director of the school. “Eighteen, or half of our faculty, have received similar awards, which is really remarkable.”