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Graduate Programs

Life After Graduating From URCS

URCS Alumni

Between 1980 and 2013, URCS awarded 190 Ph.D. degrees. URCS graduate alumni have gone on to outstanding careers in academia and industry. Danny Sabbah (Ph.D. 1982) is General Manager for Rational Software at IBM. Rick Rashid (Ph.D. 1980) is Senior Vice President for Research at Microsoft. Avi Tevanian (M.S. 1984) went on to earn a Ph.D. at CMU, and was Chief Technology Officer of Apple from 1997 to 2006. Corinna Cortes (Ph.D. 1994) is head of Google’s New York City lab. In 2008 she shared the ACM Paris Kanellakis Theory and Practice Award for the development of Support Vector Machines. Peter Dibble (Ph.D. 1990) is a principal architect of the Real Time Specification for Java.

A little over a third of the department’s Ph.D. alumni have gone on to academic careers. In industry and government service, URCS graduate alumni are members of technical staff at many of the world’s leading research labs, including IBM (13), Microsoft (8), Google (8), Bell Labs (2), Intel (3), Xerox (3), Cisco (2), GE (2), NEC (2), Amazon, Ask Jeeves, the Canadian Space Agency, Equinox, Kodak, Lockheed Martin, Los Alamos, The National Renewable Energy Laboratory, Sarnoff, Siemens, Sprint, Sun, Texas Instruments, VMware, and Yahoo.

Graduate Alumni News

Bianchini, Ricardo, PhD ’95 “I was elevated to distinguished scientist by the ACM.”

Blaylock, Nate, PhD ’05 “Last month I moved to Montreal to join Nuance Communications as a principal research engineer. I am currently leading the research effort for the DragonTV product (dialog with your TV).”

Coombs, David, PhD ’92 “I just returned from a Boy Scout trip to Alaska with my 17-year-old son. I also started a stint as a PM at IARPA last September. IARPA is similar to DARPA for the IC.”

He, Bijun, MS ’04 “I’m enrolled in the Berkeley-Columbia Executive MBA program and look forward to graduation at the end of this year while I am still working at Google. In addition, I also got promoted to the position of tech lead, leading the efforts to build the central user-targeting ads backend for Google Ads products, including Search Ads, AdSense, YouTube, DoubleClick products, etc. It has been an exciting year for me, and I am also preparing myself for the challenges ahead.”

Hossain, Hemayet, PhD ’10 “I was promoted to “senior architect” from “architect” in GPU architecture at NVidia. I’m working on Maxwell GPU architecture, NVidia’s next-generation GPU after Kepler architecture. Kepler is the most powerful and efficient GPU ever built, and it is going to power Titan, the next #1 supercomputer in the world, at Oak Ridge National Laboratory.”

Kaplan, Aaron, PhD ’00 “In July 2011, after just about ten years at Xerox in Grenoble, I moved to New York and joined a startup called NewsCred. My title is lead software engineer.”

Learn, Andrew, MS ’01 is a senior cyberspace analyst for the US Air Force, Division of Concepts, Strategy and Wargaming.

Lui, Ding, PhD ’10 “I was just promoted to “principal research scientist” at Nuance and was awarded the “Above and Beyond Creativity Award” at Nuance in 2011.”

Michalak, Phil, PhD ’11 “I’ve gone from being a senior research scientist to being director of research with Digital Reasoning Systems.”

Miller, Brad, MS ’86 “I’m now a senior scientist at GE Global Research in Niskayuna, N.Y. Research there I’m involved with spans complex adaptive systems (nee intelligent agents), robotics and metacognition (consciousness) with the last being most interesting but the first paying the bills so to speak. We’re in the process of setting up some nice platforms for robotics work from mobilerobotics, and we’ll be looking at issues involved in learning from the environment and managing close interaction with humans without the usual ‘zones of death’.”

Purav, Chikita, MS ’05 “I quit my job at Qualys to come to India for social work in 2010. I served a two-year fellowship with Teach for India (similar to Teach for America) and worked in a low-income school for underprivileged children. I taught grades 3 and 4 and loved every minute of it. The children made tremendous growth, academically. For example, on average, my class showed 2.4 years growth in English in a single academic year. I completed my fellowship in April 2012. I am now working as the principal (head) of a school called Tamarind Tree in a village called Sogave (India). On the personal front, I got engaged this March and will be getting married the 10th of August this year.”

Sabbah, Daniel, PhD ’82 “I have changed jobs since the last time I sent in something (now GM, Tivoli Software). But still at IBM . . . and still in the software business.”

Selinger Salgian, Andrea, PhD ’96 “I am now an associate professor at The College of New Jersey. Garbis (Salgian PhD ’93) is still at Sarnoff, which is now SRI International Sarnoff. Our daughter, Sophie, is now seven years old, and we have a baby boy, Robert, who was born on Sophie’s birthday last fall.”

Shandilya, Abhiram, MS ’02 “I’ve been working at Juniper Networks, Inc. located in Sunnyvale, Calif., since 2007. I climbed Kilimanjaro in March.”

Swain, Michael, PhD ’90 “I’m still working at athenahealth, and my current title is principal architect.”

Tan,Wenzhao, MS ’05 “I left Microsoft Research last year and started a company focusing on mobile app development.”

Weber, Susan, PhD ’89 “I am still at Stanford School of Medicine.”

Yi, Weilie, PhD ’06 is now working for a start-up company called Placed Inc. (

Zaki, Mohammed, PhD ’98 “I am the program co-chair for the 21st ACM International Conference on Information and Knowledge Management (CIKM), 2012, and the 12th IEEE International Conference on Data Mining (ICDM), 2012.”

Zhang, Hao, PhD ’08 “I am currently at the Google New York office, working on natural language parsing and machine translation. After a promotion last year, I am now a senior software engineer. In my personal life, my wife, Lin, and I had a baby girl, Grace, last year. She’s giving us happiness every day.”

Zhang, Yilian, MS ’02 “I am currently an associate professor of mathematics and computer science at the University of South Carolina, Aiken.”