Pitt’s Newest School Builds Its Expertise With New Faculty

Paul Cohen headshot

The School of Computing and Information (SCI), established in 2017, SCI is Pitt’s first new school in 20 years – and has a focus on interdisciplinary collaboration and modeling to solve global issues.

New faculty members with backgrounds vital to building the school’s expertise have recently joined the school.

“SCI is very excited to welcome 18 new faculty,” said Paul Cohen, founding dean. “Each faculty member has a deep understanding of cross-disciplinary collaboration and a commitment to furthering SCI’s mission of making the world a better place through polymathic education and the science of interacting systems.”

SCI welcomed the following faculty at the start of the fall 2019 term:

  • Wonsun Ahn, visiting lecturer. Ahn obtained his PhD in computer science from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He is a Samsung Frontier founding member. His research interests include computer architecture, compiler optimization, scripting languages, speculative parallelization and parallel computing.
  • Katharine Anderson, visiting assistant professor. Anderson models and analyzes the structure, formation and dynamics of scientific collaboration networks, skill diversity and synergy and the complexities of human capital. She earned her PhD in economics from the University of Michigan in 2010.
  • Amy Babay, assistant professor. Babay’s research focuses on modeling and designing new internet services with demanding performance requirements and on building dependable critical infrastructure systems. Babay received her PhD in computer science from Johns Hopkins University in 2018.
  • Jacob Biehl, associate professor. Biehl comes to Pitt after a decade with FX Palo Alto Laboratory, Fuji Xerox’s computer science research laboratory in Silicon Valley, California. He earned his PhD in computer science from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 2008.
  • Seong Jae Hwang, assistant professor. Hwang’s research areas include medical imaging, computer vision and machine learning with an emphasis on modeling disease progression. He earned his PhD in computer science from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2019.
  • Stephen Lee, assistant professor. His research interests span several areas of computer systems, including distributed systems and cyber-physical systems, with an emphasis on domains such as smart cities, smart buildings and transportation. He earned his PhD in computer science from the University of Massachusetts Amherst in 2019.
  • Eleanor “Nora” Mattern (SCI 14G), teaching assistant professor. Mattern returns to Pitt, where she earned her PhD, after serving as a librarian at the University of Chicago. Prior, she held a joint visiting position with the University Library System’s Digital Scholarship Services and SCI at Pitt. With SCI, she previously taught courses in preservation, archival ethics and metadata and archival access systems and developed experiential learning projects.
  • Luis de Oliveira, visiting lecturer. Oliveira graduated from the University of Porto, Portugal, with a PhD in 2016, with a thesis focused on wireless communications and localization for small teams of mobile robots. His current research interests are the preservation of reproducible software execution, real time communication protocols for teams of mobile agents and anchorless localization using RF signals.
  • Song Shi, visiting assistant professor. Shi’s research includes examining new media interventions for development and social change initiated by activists, NGOs and the government as detailed in his monograph “China and the Internet: Using New Media for Development in Social Change.” Shi received his PhD in communication and media studies from the University of Massachusetts Amherst in 2013.
  • Xulong Tang, assistant professor. Tang’s research interests include modeling and designing high-performance computing and parallel computer architectures and systems. He earned his PhD in computer engineering from the Pennsylvania State University in 2019.
  • Lingfei Wu, assistant professor. Wu is a computational social scientist whose current research aims at unleashing the power of artificial neural network techniques to overcome cognitive and social constraints of human knowledge creation. Additionally, Wu co-founded one of the largest non-governmental science associations in China, which is the incubator of three million-dollar AI startups in self-driving, natural language processing and urban planning.
  • Joseph Yurko, teaching assistant professor. Yurko’s background spans both machine learning and traditional engineering applications. He comes to Pitt from Arconic, a manufacturing company, where he served as a data scientist. He earned his PhD in nuclear engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Additional faculty who joined SCI in the last academic year:

  • Kayla Booth, research assistant professor. Her research interests include diversity and social inclusion, social and health informatics, and social media. She obtained her PhD from Pennsylvania State University.
  • Matt Burton, lecturer. Burton was previously a visiting assistant professor at SCI before becoming a lecturer. His research interests focus on infrastructure studies, data science, and scholarly communication. He holds a PhD in information from the University of Michigan.
  • Timothy Hoffman, lecturer. Hoffman is a former corporate trainer for software development and former assistant teaching professor at Carnegie Mellon University. His interests center on developing software tools to streamline the grading and administrative aspects of course management- along with tools to assist department researchers working on issues such as early identification of struggling students, tools for tutoring and remedial work for struggling students and the gathering of meta data relating to pedagogy.
  • Vinicius Petrucci, lecturer. Petrucci was a postdoctoral researcher at the University of California, San Diego, and at the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor. He obtained his PhD in computer science at Fluminese Federal University in 2012. He is a member of ACM.
  • Marcia Rapchak, lecturer. Rapchak’s research interests span multiple areas and include information literacy, academic libraries, computer-supported collaborative learning and critical librarianship. She obtained her EdD from Duquesne University and has several recent publications. Rapchak is the 2018 recipient of the Routledge Distance Learning Librarianship Conference Sponsorship Award.
  • Erin Walker, associate professor. Walker completed in PhD in 2010 at Carnegie Mellon University in Human-Computer interaction. Her research uses interdisciplinary methods to improve the design and implementation of educational technology and then to understand when and why it is effective.