Google Announces Research Award Winners

By Todd R. Weiss  |  Posted 2013-08-14

Google Announces Research Award Winners

Google has revealed the winners of 105 Google Research Awards for computer science projects that will be conducted by graduate students around the world, and also introduced a first-time, postgraduate Computer Science Teaching Fellows program aimed at K-12 teachers.

The 105 winners of the summer 2013 Google Research Awards were named in an Aug. 12 post by Maggie Johnson, director of education and university relations, on the Google Research Blog. The biannual Google Research Awards are presented for winning proposals on computer science-related topics including machine learning and structured data, policy, human computer interaction and geo/maps, according to Johnson's post. The grants cover tuition for a graduate student and will allow faculty and students to collaborate directly with Google scientists and engineers on their projects.

Google received 550 proposals from 50 nations around the world for the awards, and from those 105 projects were funded. "The subject areas that received the highest level of support were human-computer interaction, systems and machine learning," according to Johnson's post. "We noticed some new areas emerging in this round of proposals. In particular, an increase of interest in neural networks, accessibility-related projects and some innovative ideas in robotics."

Among the most intriguing proposals is a project that features the use of Android-based multi-robot systems, which are "significantly more complex than single robot systems," according to Johnson. Another project will explore novel indoor navigation system for blind users as a potential application for Google Glass, as well as how the eyewear device can bring about social interactions, she wrote.

The submission deadline for the next round of the Google Research Awards is Oct. 15. Google Research Awards are one-year awards structured as unrestricted gifts to universities to support the work of world-class full-time faculty members at top universities around the world, according to Google. Faculty members can apply for up to $150,000 in eligible expenses, but most awards are funded at the amount needed to support basic expenses for one graduate student for one year, according to Google. The awards are aimed at supporting innovative research in Computer Science, Engineering and related fields.

Meanwhile, Google's new Computer Science Teaching Fellowship program aims to spark deeper interest for K-12 students in science, mathematics and related subjects by improving training for teachers in those fields, according to an Aug. 7 post by Cameron Fadjo, program lead for the Google's Computer Science Teaching Fellows program, on the Google Research Blog.

Google Announces Research Award Winners

"Located in our South Carolina data center, the Computer Science Teaching Fellows is a two-year postgraduate fellowship for new [Science, Technology, Engineering and Math] STEM teachers and [Computer Science] CS graduates," wrote Fadjo. "The goal is to bring computer science and computational thinking to all children, especially under-represented minorities and girls, and close the gap between the ever-increasing demand in CS and the inadequate supply. We hope to learn what really works and scale those best practices regionally and then nationally."

One problem the program seeks to address is a deficiency in the number of CS students in U.S. colleges and universities, he wrote. "This prompted the development of several programs and activities to start raising awareness about the demand and opportunities for computer scientists, and to spark the interest of K-12 students in CS."

The Google teaching Fellows "will be testing after-school programs, classroom curriculum and online CS programs to determine what works and why," wrote Fadjo. "They'll start in the local Charleston (South Carolina) area and then spread the best programs and curriculum to South Carolina, Georgia, [and] North Carolina (where we also have large data centers). They are currently preparing programs for the fall semester."

Google has made a point of creating programs that foster innovation and ideas in technology around the world.

In June, Google announced the recipients of its 2013 Ph.D. Fellowship program, which the search giant promotes as a way to gain new insights and innovations from some of the best minds in colleges and universities around the world. Google launched its Ph.D. Fellowship Program in 2009 as a way of recognizing and supporting outstanding graduate students who were pursuing work in computer science, related disciplines or promising research areas.

In February, Google sought applicants for its sixth-annual Google Policy Fellowship Program, which brings interested college and university students together to spend their summers immersed in the world of Internet policy as Google Policy Fellows.

Also in February, Google awarded its first-ever Google App Engine Research Awards to seven projects that will use the App Engine platform's abilities to work with large data sets for academic and scientific research. The new program, which was announced in the spring of 2012, brought in many proposals for a wide variety of scientific research in subject areas such as mathematics, computer vision, bioinformatics, climate and computer science.

Google's Summer of Code contest is in its ninth year this summer. The program has involved some 6,000 college and university students from more than 100 countries since its start in 2005.

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