Carnegie Mellon University

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April 18, 2019

Tepper School Professor Receives Google Faculty Research Award

Selected from hundreds of proposals, Benjamin Moseley, Assistant Professor of Operations Research and Carnegie Bosch Junior Faculty Chair, has been chosen as a recipient of a 2018 Google Faculty Research Award.

The Google Faculty Research Award provides unrestricted gifts to fund research in computer science, engineering and other related fields. Moseley will receive an unrestricted gift totaling $81,631. The Awards Program selects about 15 percent of applicants following a thorough Google-wide review and vetting process.

The project, titled “Algorithmic Techniques for Fast Scalable Hierarchical Clustering,” will build upon Moseley’s past research that deals with developing a mathematical understanding of hierarchical clustering, a data mining method utilized by data scientists. The main objective will be to develop algorithms that scale to massive data sets.

“It is a fascinating data analysis technique to me because it is widely used by data scientists, as well as researchers in biology and engineering to learn from data,” Moseley said. “However, the method is not well understood mathematically. I’m humbled to receive this award and funding that will further our research.”

Moseley noted that large quantities of data were impossible to read or learn from using current methods. This research seeks to find machine learning algorithms improve on current algorithms through scalability.

“We need to improve the efficiency of our methods so that we can extract valuable information from large data sets,” Moseley said. 

The one year project will include collaborations among Moseley, Carnegie Mellon students and Google researchers, Sergei Vassilvitiskii and Silvio Lattanzi. 

“These researchers at Google are the leading experts on developing the algorithmic foundation of machine learning and together we have a world-class team,” Moseley said. “Google has unparalleled resources that we can take advantage of including the use of its cloud computing systems.” 

“The Google Faculty Research Award is extremely competitive, so it’s an honor for Ben to be selected,” said Alan Scheller-Wolf, Richard M. Cyert Professor of Operations Management and Senior Associate Dean of Faculty and Research. “Ben does great work though – right at that intersection of business, data and analytics – so it’s also not a huge surprise that Google would identify his work as something they would want to support.”

Moseley was recently awarded a $500,000 NSF CAREER award. The research funding is for the development of large data processing algorithms for problems arising in graph processing, data mining and bioinformatics from the National Science Foundation.