UW CSE professor Ali Farhadi and Ph.D. alum Jon Froehlich have been recognized with 2017 Sloan Research Fellowships. The fellowships are granted by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation to support outstanding early-career researchers who represent the next generation of scientific leaders. Fellows are nominated by their peers and selected to receive one of these prestigious awards by an independent panel of senior scholars based on their demonstrated potential to make significant contributions in their respective fields.
“The Sloan Research Fellows are the rising stars of the academic community,” said foundation president Paul L. Joskow in a press release. “Through their achievements and ambition, these young scholars are transforming their fields and opening up entirely new research horizons. We are proud to support them at this crucial stage of their careers.”
Farhadi and Froehlich are among only 16 researchers recognized in the computer science category — and only 126 recipients in all, representing 60 colleges and universities and eight different fields: chemistry, computer science, computational and evolutionary molecular biology, economics, mathematics, neuroscience, ocean sciences, and physics.
Farhadi’s research focuses on artificial intelligence, computer vision, machine learning, and natural language processing. He is particularly interested in enabling computers to perform visual tasks that humans can do seamlessly, such as intuiting why an “abnormal” image looks strange or understanding the actions and behaviors in a scene. In addition to his role on the UW CSE faculty, Farhadi is the senior research manager for the Computer Vision Group at the Allen Institute for Artificial Intelligence. There, he leads Project Plato, which aims to advance visual knowledge extraction and reasoning and go beyond standard image classification and object recognition to achieve visual “common sense.”
Froehlich is on the faculty of University of Maryland-College Park. His research focuses on human-computer interaction with an emphasis on interactive technologies that address social issues such as accessibility, environmental sustainability, and personalized health and wellness. He completed his Ph.D. in 2011 working with UW CSE professor James Landay and CSE and Electrical Engineering professor Shwetak Patel. His dissertation, “Sensing and Feedback of Everyday Activities to Promote Environmentally Sustainable Behaviors,” earned him CSE’s William Chan Memorial Dissertation Award as well as the UW Graduate School Distinguished Dissertation Award.
Farhadi is the 22nd current UW CSE faculty member to have earned a Sloan Fellowship, joining recent winners Emina Torlak (2016) and Emily Fox, Shyam Gollakota, and Thomas Rothvoss (2015). In addition to Farhadi, two other members of the UW faculty — Emily Levesque in astronomy and John Tuthill of physiology and biophysics — were named fellows in 2017.
Congratulations, Ali and Jon!