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College Welcomes New Faculty for 2016-17 Academic Year

College Welcomes New Faculty for 2016-17 Academic Year
The College of Natural Sciences welcomes several new tenured and tenure-track faculty members this fall. Whether improving the performance and reliability of computers, investigating phases of matter, or revealing the impact of climate change on plant and animal life, these diligent and innovative scientists build on the college's reputation for groundbreaking research and research-based teaching.

Scott J. Aaronson
Professor, Department of Computer Science

Aaronson's research focuses on the capabilities and limits of quantum computers and, more generally, on computational complexity and its relation to physics. He received his bachelor's from Cornell University and his Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley. He did postdoctoral fellowships at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton as well as the University of Waterloo. Before coming to UT Austin, he spent nine years as a professor in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. His first book, Quantum Computing Since Democritus, was published in 2013 by Cambridge University Press. He's received the National Science Foundation's Alan T. Waterman Award, the United States Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers and MIT's Junior Bose Award for Excellence in Teaching.


Vijay Chidambaram
Assistant Professor, Department of Computer Science

Chidambaram's research focus is to ensure the reliability of applications in the rapidly changing landscape of storage and cloud computing. Specifically, he has contributed new reliability techniques in local and distributed storage systems and built frameworks for finding reliability bugs in applications. His work has resulted in patent applications by VMware, Samsung and Microsoft. He was awarded the Microsoft Research Fellowship in 2014 and the University of Wisconsin-Madison Alumni Scholarship in 2009. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2015 and went on to spend one year as a postdoctoral researcher in VMware Research before joining UT Austin.


Caroline Farrior
Assistant Professor, Department of Integrative Biology

Farrior's research in plant ecology focuses on how competition among individual plants for resources influences the prominence of important plant traits in the environment, a topic with important implications for the stability and resilience of ecosystems amid climate change. Farrior uses a combination of theoretical and empirical approaches in her work, which has applications for science's understanding of the global carbon cycle and predictions related to climate change. Farrior received her B.A. from the University of Pennsylvania in 2007 and her Ph.D. from Princeton University in 2012. She then spent two years as a postdoctoral researcher at the Princeton Environmental Institute and completed a fellowship at the National Institute for Mathematical and Biological Synthesis, before joining the faculty at UT Austin this fall.


Qixing Huang
Assistant Professor, Department of Computer Science

Huang's research spans computer vision, computer graphics, computational biology and machine learning. In particular, his recent focus is on developing machine learning algorithms (particularly deep learning) that leverage Big Data to solve core problems in computer vision, computer graphics and computational biology. He is also interested in statistical data analysis, compressive sensing, low-rank matrix recovery and large-scale optimization, which provide a theoretical foundation for much of his research. Huang obtained his Ph.D. from Stanford University in 2012. From 2012 to 2014, he was a postdoctoral research scholar at Stanford. He has also interned at Google Street View, Google Research and Adobe Research.


Philipp Krähenbühl
Assistant Professor, Department of Computer Science

Krähenbühl's research spans the fields of computer vision, machine learning and computer graphics, with a special focus on deep learning. He is particularly interested in learning rich visual representations from a minimal amount of human supervision. Krähenbühl obtained his Ph.D. from Stanford University and his B.S. from ETH Zurich. Before joining UT Austin, he worked as a postdoctoral researcher at the University of California, Berkeley.


Dana Moshkovitz
Associate Professor, Department of Computer Science

Moshkovitz's research is in theoretical computer science, focused largely on the limitations of approximation algorithms and probabilistic checking of proofs. She completed her Ph.D. at the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel. Her thesis co-won the Nessyahu Prize for best math Ph.D. thesis in Israel in 2009, and part of this work was awarded the Foundations of Computer Science 2008 Best Paper. Moshkovitz went on to spend two years at Princeton University and the Institute of Advanced Study before joining the Massachusetts Institute of Technology as an assistant professor in late 2010. She is the recipient of MIT's Jerome Saltzer Teaching Award.


Simon Peter
Assistant Professor, Department of Computer Science

Peter conducts research in operating systems and networks, in particular focusing on data-center performance and energy efficiency. He received his Ph.D. from ETH Zurich in 2012 and an M.Sc. from the Carl-von-Ossietzky University of Oldenburg, Germany in 2006. Before joining UT Austin, he was a research associate at the University of Washington from 2012-2016. For his work on the Arrakis high I/O performance operating system, he received the Jay Lepreau Best Paper award (2014) and the Madrona prize (2014). He has conducted further award-winning systems research at various locations, including Microsoft Research in Silicon Valley and Cambridge, Intel Labs, and the University of California, Riverside.


Andrew Potter
Assistant Professor, Department of Physics

Potter is a theoretical physicist investigating quantum phases of matter, phase transitions, and non-equilibrium dynamics in electronic materials and cold atomic gases. His research combines ideas from quantum field theory, topology and quantum information science to build basic organizing principles for understanding quantum materials and how to harness their capabilities for electronic, magnetic and optical device or quantum communication and computing applications. Potter obtained his Ph.D. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 2013, followed by three years as a Moore Foundation postdoctoral fellow at the University of California, Berkeley.


Chris Rossbach
Assistant Professor, Department of Computer Science

Rossbach's research focuses on operating system and architectural support for emerging hardware, particularly those that leverage concurrency. His work involves exploring mechanisms that enable systems to take advantage of concurrency to improve performance and that simplify the development of parallel programs. His approach is to identify future changes in technology and user needs, considering new operating system and architectural mechanisms and abstractions that can potentially address these needs, simplify the system or improve performance. Rossbach received his Ph.D. from The University of Texas at Austin in 2009. Since then, he has worked as a postdoctoral researcher at UT Austin, a researcher at Microsoft Research Silicon Valley and a senior researcher at VMware Research Group.


​Thibaud Taillefumier 
Assistant Professor, Departments of Mathematics and Neuroscience

Taillefumier's research in applied mathematics and theoretical neuroscience focuses on the emerging collective properties and possible design principles of neural networks. His approach combines ideas from optimization theory and stochastic dynamics on questions at the nexus of information theory and non-equilibrium thermodynamics, to better understand the nature of neural computations. Originally trained in mathematical physics at Ecole Polytechnique in France, Taillefumier completed his Ph.D. in biophysics at The Rockefeller University in 2012. Before joining UT Austin, Taillefumier was an Associate Research Scholar at the Lewis-Sigler Institute for Integrative Genomics at Princeton University. 


Lauren Yeager
Assistant Professor, Department of Marine Science

Yeager is an ecologist whose research focuses on understanding how global change is altering patterns in marine biodiversity, and what these altered patterns mean for associated ecosystem functions and services. She employs food web, landscape and macroecology approaches to examine how humans affect coastal systems at multiple levels (e.g., individual, population, community and ecosystem) via altered environmental conditions, changes in habitat pattern and/or removal of key species by overharvest. After completing her Ph.D. at Florida International University in 2013, she held a postdoctoral appointment at the Institute of Marine Sciences, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a postdoctoral fellowship at the National Science Foundation's National Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center.


​Faculty scheduled to join the College in the year ahead:

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Monday, 20 November 2017

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