Computer Science Department Master Calendar

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CS Summer Research Program Lunch and Learn: How to do Research Part 1: Coming up to Speed

Event Type
Illinois Computer Science
Hybrid (In-person at Siebel Center, room 2405 and online at zoom link)
Jun 4, 2024   12:00 - 1:00 pm  
Originating Calendar
Computer Science Undergraduate Research

How to do Research Part 1: Coming Up to Speed

How to get started on a new research topic. How to do a literature search. How to read a paper. How to identify the researchers you’d like to follow and how to do it. How can you determine what is good research and what isn’t? Importance of reproducibility in open science.


Mohammed El-Kebir
Assistant Professor

I am an Assistant Professor in the Computer Science department, with affiliate appointments in the Electrical & Computer Engineering department, the National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA), the Infection Genomics for One Health theme of the Institute of Genomic Biology (IGB) and the Cancer Center at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC).

Our research focuses on tumor phylogenetics in the context of intra-tumor heterogeneity. We develop phylogeny inference algorithms to study the progression of a tumor from its initial stage, where a healthy cell acquires its first somatic mutation, to the final stages, where tumor cells metastasize and invade and colonize distant organs and tissues. In addition, we develop algorithms to reconstruct patterns of spread in disease outbreaks. More broadly, we are interested in the application of combinatorial optimization techniques to answers questions and solve problems in biology.

Yael Gertner
Teaching Assistant Professor

I am a Teaching Assistant Professor in Computer Science at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. I teach Fundamentals of Algorithms I and II and Excursions into Computing I and II in the iCAN program, a new graduate certificate program for broadening participation in Computer Science. It is designed as a bridge program for individuals who completed their bachelor's degrees in a field other than computing and wish to either pursue a master's degree in computer science or a professional career involving computing. My research interests are in computer science education in the areas of broadening participation in computing and designing interventions to increase students learning outcomes.

I received my BS and MEng in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science from MIT (1997), with masters thesis under the direction of Shafi Goldwasser in Cryptography. I received my PhD in Computer and Information Science at the University of Pennsylvania (2003) under the direction of Sampath Kannan in the area of Cryptography. In the field of cryptography, my major contributions are advances in the study of the relative powers of cryptographic primitives and Private Information Retrieval. I then did postdoctoral training with Cynthia Fisher in Psychology at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign (2003-2006) and was a Beckman Fellow from 2006 to 2009. In the field of language acquisition, my findings were on verb learning and the early development of sentence comprehension. I joined the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign as a Teaching Assistant Professor in 2020. My focus is on broadening participation in Computer Science. I have been developing materials and teaching for iCAN.


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