Ken Kennedy Institute awards $67,500 to 9 graduate students

The Ken Kennedy Institute for Information Technology has awarded $67,500 to nine Rice University graduate students as part of its annual graduate fellowship program.

The 2017 award recipients include Ashesh Chattopadhyay (mechanical engineering), Beidi Chen, Jeffrey Dudek and Keren Zhou (computer science), Kaihang Guo (computational and applied math), Christopher Metzler and Ewa Nowara (electrical and computer engineering), Narmadha Rajan Babu (chemical and biomolecular engineering) and Luqing Wang (materials science and nanoengineering).

Each award includes $7,500 of support: $5,000 awarded to the student, $1,000 to the student’s adviser and a $1,500 travel allowance.

Back row, from left to right: Beidi Chin, Christoper Metzler, Kaihang Guo, Keren Zhou, Jeffrey Dudek. Front row, from left to right: Luqing Wang, Narmadha Rajan Babu, Ewa Nowara, Ashesh Chattopadhyay.

“Each year we are impressed by the caliber and talent of the students that are nominated, and this year was no exception,” said Jan Odegard, executive director of the Ken Kennedy Institute. “We are appreciative to our sponsor companies that make these opportunities possible.”

Recipients will present posters in March at the annual Oil and Gas High Performance Computing Conference (OG-HPC), a meeting place for networking and discussion focused on computing and information technology challenges and needs in the oil and gas industry.

Building internationally pre-eminent graduate and Ph.D. programs is one of the goals of Rice’s Vision for the Second Century, part two.

“The fellowship significantly encourages my academic enthusiasm,” Wang said. “I want to work harder on current and future research projects with the feeling that my previous results are recognized.”

Rajan Babu said the award is motivating. “It recognizes the application of high performance computing to problems in the oil and gas industry and provides a huge opportunity for the future as it will help my project have a wider impact in both industry and academia,” she said.

Chattopadhyay’s research involves model reduction and machine learning for turbulent flows in the atmosphere. “This award allows me to present my research in conferences that focus on predictive modeling techniques in turbulent and chaotic flows,” he said.

Metzler’s research applies deep learning to problems in computational imaging. “The fellowship allowed me to travel to this year’s Conference and Workshop on Neural Information Processing Systems, where I was able to meet and network with the foremost experts in deep learning,” he said.

With the support of industry and the annual OG-HPC, the Ken Kennedy Institute has awarded more than $892,500 in fellowships to 86 students since 2001.

About Kendall Schoemann

Kendall Schoemann is a staff writer in Rice University's Office of Public Affairs.