Computer science Ph.D. student honored again by IBM.

April 5, 2003

Once was great. 

Now Doina Caragea, a Ph.D. student in computer science, has an opportunity to repeat the experience she had with IBM in Rochester, Minn., last summer. 

For the second straight year, Caragea has been selected for the IBM Ph.D. Fellowship, a highly competitive worldwide competition. She is one of 54 recipients in academic disciplines such as computer science, chemistry, physics, and electrical and computer engineering. Approximately half of the awardees are computer science students. 

The IBM Ph.D. Fellowship Program is intended to honor exceptional Ph.D. students in disciplines of mutual interest as well as emerging technical fields. Recipients are awarded tuition, fees, and a $17,500 stipend for one academic year. 

Recipients also receive an internship designed to strengthen and broaden their technical experience and contacts. Awardees are selected based on "their overall potential for research excellence, the degree to which their technical interests align with those of IBM, and their academic progress to-date as evidenced by publications and endorsements from their faculty advisor and department head." 

While IBM Ph.D. Fellowships are awarded annually and may be renewed for up to three years, all awardees must be re-nominated to be considered. In addition to support from Vasant Honavar, professor of computer science, and IBM's interest in her research, Caragea believes the support of last summer�?�?�?�?s supervisors at IBM's Rochester, Minn., plant (Sam Ellis and Joe Bigus), aided her nomination. 

Last summer, Caragea spent three months working on Project ABLE for IBM. 

"I think the people in Rochester liked the work I did there and this is probably why they supported me again this year," she said. "The internship at IBM was a great experience for me because it gave me the opportunity to work on a large real-world project."

Caragea says she has the opportunity to go for another internship at IBM this summer, but she has not decided yet if she will go. 

"If I go I will have to interrupt the work on my thesis," she said. "But if I go back, I hope to work on the same project. There are some things we were doing that I didn't have time to finish last summer. 

"The fellowship has opened doors for me, especially at IBM. Before last summer, I thought I would look towards obtaining an academic position or one in a research lab. I didn't really think about a career in industry, but my experiences at IBM were very positive." 

At Iowa State, Caragea is a doctoral student in the Artificial Intelligence Research Laboratory in the Department of Computer Science, a program directed by Honavar. Her research is focused on the development of algorithms and software for automated knowledge acquisition from heterogeneous, distributed, autonomous information sources and the application of the resulting algorithms to problems in bioinformatics and computational molecular biology. 

This research is being supported in part by a National Science Foundation Information Technology Research (ITR) grant to Honavar and Drena Dobbs, associate professor of zoology and genetics.