Carnegie Mellon computer science professor Carlos Guestrin has won a Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE) — the highest honor bestowed by the U.S. government on scientists and engineers beginning their independent careers.
"These extraordinarily gifted young scientists and engineers represent the best in our country," President Obama said. "With their talent, creativity and dedication, I am confident that they will lead their fields in new breakthroughs and discoveries and help us use science and technology to lift up our nation and our world."
The Finmeccanica Assistant Professor of Computer Science and Machine Learning in Carnegie Mellon University's School of Computer Science, Guestrin's long-term research interest is developing efficient algorithms and methods for designing, analyzing and controlling complex real-world systems.
His Cascades algorithm, for instance, is a powerful tool for gathering the most information with the least amount of effort, whether it is determining the number and placement of sensors for monitoring water quality in lakes, or deciding which blogs to read to get news as quickly as possible.
A painter, Guestrin also explores the intersection of computer science and art. Last semester, he and an art professor co-taught "New Media Installation: Art That Learns," an interdisciplinary class in which students created interactive installations that incorporated the learning ability of computers.
"I am pleased to see that Carlos has received such a prestigious award," said Randal E. Bryant, dean of the School of Computer Science. "Carlos has already made major contributions to the theory and application of machine learning. He is also a great educator, and he has helped make the School of Computer Science better in many different ways."
The PECASE program recognizes scientists and engineers who, early in their careers, show exceptional potential for leadership at the frontiers of knowledge.
Guestrin is among 100 recipients announced by the White House. They will receive their awards at a White House ceremony this fall. He was nominated for the honor by the Department of Defense, which had recognized him last year with the Office of Naval Research's Young Investigator Award.
Among the awards Guestrin has received is this year's Computers and Thought Award, a prestigious award for young investigators in the field of artificial intelligence presented by the International Joint Conference on Artificial Intelligence (IJCAI).
Last year, Popular Science magazine named Guestrin to its annual "Brilliant 10" list of young researchers. He holds the Finmeccanica Chair in Computer Science for 2009-2011, which is awarded to outstanding young faculty members in the School of Computer Science. He has been recognized by the National Science Foundation's Faculty Early Career Development Program (CAREER), the Alfred P. Sloan Fellowship, the IBM Faculty Fellowship and the Siebel Scholarship.
Guestrin is a member of the Information Sciences and Technology (ISAT) advisory group for the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency.