Carnegie Mellon University
September 19, 2023

Sriraman and Sharif receive Intel’s 2023 Rising Star Faculty Award

Each year, the Intel Rising Star Faculty Award program selects early-career academic researchers leading technological advancements that demonstrate the potential to disrupt the industry. Akshitha Sriraman, assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering, and Mahmood Sharif, CMU alumnus and senior lecturer at Tel Aviv University, are among 15 award winners chosen for 2023 who are being recognized for their novel works in computer science, electrical engineering, computer engineering, and chemical engineering.

The program proudly recognizes community members who are doing exceptional work in the field and hopes to facilitate long-term collaborative relationships with senior technical leaders at Intel. Award recipients are also chosen for their innovative teaching methods and for their efforts to improve the fields of computer science and engineering.

The research conducted by the selected faculty provides novel solutions to challenges spanning various topics, including computer architecture, software systems, quantum computing, AI for autonomous systems, graph neural networks, 3D fabrication, deep neural networks, and robotics.

Akshitha Sriraman

Sriraman’s research bridges computer architecture and software systems, with a focus on making hyperscale data center systems more efficient, sustainable, and equitable via solutions that span the systems stack. She is defining the next generation of research that tackles the daunting problem of building efficient web systems in a way that is also socially responsible through bold, holistic system design approaches. She is introducing cross-stack solutions to improve the efficiency of web systems in a socially responsible manner by improving (1) sustainability, to reduce web systems’ effects on anthropogenic climate change, and (2) equity, to identify and minimize inequities (e.g., demographic biases) in existing web systems and to design new web systems that elevate the lives of historically underserved rural communities.

Sriraman’s work has been recognized through several awards, including the 2022 ACM SIGARCH/IEEE TCCA Outstanding Dissertation Award Honorable Mention, the 2022 ACM SIGOPS Dennis M. Ritchie Doctoral Dissertation Award Honorable Mention, the 2021 David J. Kuck Dissertation Prize, the 2021 ProQuest Distinguished Dissertation Award, the 2023 BenchCouncil Distinguished Doctoral Dissertation Award, a Meta Systems Research Award, a Facebook Fellowship, and an IEEE Micro Top Picks distinction.

Mahmood Sharif

Sharif’s research focuses on improving the trustworthiness of machine-learning (ML) systems from multiple angles. ML algorithms enable transformative technologies (e.g., face recognition, cancer diagnosis, and autonomous driving) and are becoming increasingly ubiquitous in computer systems. Still, introducing ML algorithms into systems have the potential to cause harm. For example, ML may increase the attack surface of computer systems. Adversarial examples - slightly but strategically perturbed variants of benign inputs to mislead ML models - pose a profound challenge to ML integrity. The deployment of ML also raises critical concerns related to data privacy, the extent to which we can explain systems’ decisions, and potential discriminatory treatment of individuals. Sharif aims to enable trustworthy deployment of ML, such that society would be able to reap the benefits of ML while minimizing harm.

During his time as a Ph.D. student at CMU, Sharif worked with advisors Lujo Bauer and Nicolas Christin to understand users’ perceptions of suspected computer-security problems and help tailor technology to better protect them. Sharif’s work has been recognized through several awards including the Israeli Council for High Education’s Maof Prize for Excellent Young Faculty, and CyLab’s Presidential Fellowship, among others.