Hegde named fellow for research in big data

Chinmay HegdeChinmay Hegde, assistant professor with the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Iowa State University, has been named a Black & Veatch Building a World of Difference Faculty Fellow in Engineering.

His research, focusing on algorithmic aspects of machine learning, was impactful in his nomination. It involves designing algorithms for extracting meaningful information from massive amounts of data and quantifying when and how these algorithms work.

“Whether or not we realize it, algorithms for machine learning are increasingly impacting our everyday lives. Machine learning systems already control how we receive our information and how we buy stocks,” Hegde said. “In the very near future, machines will automatically drive our cars and trucks, control our power grid and determine what doses of medicine to give to a patient.”

The research Hegde and his peers have been working on helps ensure that machine learning algorithms are built upon solid foundations. The team also works to keep the algorithms safe to use, behaving in a predictable and robust manner and scalable to the “big data” regime where there is a massive amount of raw data.

“The Black & Veatch Foundation provides support to young engineering faculty at Iowa State, across departments, to advance their careers. I am excited to collaborate with them in the near future,” Hegde said.

According to the statement of donor intent, “In early 2008, Black & Veatch established the Building a World of Difference Foundation. It provides a platform through which the company and its professionals can participate in supporting a variety of philanthropic organizations and programs on a global basis. Black & Veatch believes deeply in the need for the innovations to address the long-term needs for sustainable infrastructure and the strong role that education must play to support new solutions. The vision of Black & Veatch is to help improve and sustain the quality of life in communities touched by the company through contributions and exemplary community involvement. Therefore, the Donors are creating faculty fellowships to meet the needs of faculty in the College of Engineering who can address the company’s goals.”

Before coming to Iowa State, Hegde was a postdoctoral associate in the Theory of Computation group at MIT. He received his Ph.D. at Rice University, and his Bachelor of Technology in Electrical Engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology.

“I have been at Iowa State for two years, and it has been a whirlwind,” Hegde said. “Easily the best part of my job is the chance to interact with so many brilliant researchers and students on a daily basis. I am also involved in several very exciting collaborative projects at Iowa State University, like the ISU self-driving car project. Our aim is to build a smart fleet of autonomous vehicles. Stay tuned in the coming months.”