Indiana University Bloomington

IU informaticist Y.Y. Ahn named one of seven Microsoft Research Faculty Fellows

$200,000 award supports work to 'innovate and transform' within his field

  • June 12, 2014


BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Y.Y. Ahn, an assistant professor in Indiana University’s School of Informatics and Computing, has received a Microsoft Research Faculty Fellowship. Worth $200,000, the award identifies emerging leaders in computer science with exceptional talent for research and innovation.

Ahn’s research develops and leverages mathematical and computational methods to study complex systems such as cells, the brain, society and culture. Some of his most recent work has included development of a new framework to identify pervasively overlapping modules in networks, network-based algorithms to predict viral memes, and a new computational approach to study food culture.

“In its 10th year, Microsoft’s Faculty Fellow program is aimed at supporting researchers in the early stages of their academic careers,” said Harold Javid of Microsoft Research. “Recipients were selected based on their potential to truly innovate and transform in their respective computer science disciplines, and it’s our sincere hope that this award will enable them to take risks and push the boundaries of science.”

Microsoft named seven new fellows this year, and Ahn is one of five working in the United States. Besides IU, the other universities represented were Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cornell University (two fellows), Columbia University, Seoul National University and the University of Buenos Aires.

Ahn received his Ph.D. in 2008 from the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology. He was a visiting researcher at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston and a postdoctoral researcher at Northeastern University before coming to IU Bloomington in 2011.

By searching for hidden patterns within massive datasets, Ahn explores the structure and dynamics of complex systems that range from protein interactions in plants to inferring societal mood through Twitter and identifying cultural diversity through flavor compounds used in culinary practices. His work has been featured in Scientific American, MIT Technology Review and The New York Times.

Each year since 2005, Microsoft Research has recognized innovative, promising new faculty members from a number of research institutions to join the ranks of Microsoft Research Faculty Fellows. The Microsoft Research Faculty Fellowship program now encompasses 59 academic researchers whose exceptional talent for research and innovation in computer science identify them as emerging leaders in their fields.

Ahn said he expects to attend an award ceremony that will take place July 14 and 15 at the Microsoft Research Faculty Summit 2014 in Redmond, Wash.

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IU School of Informatics and Computing assistant professor Y.Y. Ahn

IU School of Informatics and Computing assistant professor Y.Y. Ahn

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Stephen Chaplin