Kevin Xu, doctoral student in the Electrical Engineering:Systems program, received a highly-competitive fellowship from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) for his research on the topic “Inference in Dynamic Networks for Prediction of Epidemics.” Xu works with Prof. Alfred O. Hero
“My current research focuses on discovering structure in time-varying networks,” explains Xu. “Many real-world networks contain communities of tightly connected individuals, and as these networks change with time, their community structure often changes as well. I am developing methods for tracking these communities over time, with applications to email spam networks, online social networks, and epidemiological contact networks.”
Xu’s main research interests are in machine learning. In particular, he is interested in methods for learning from time-varying data; that is, identifying patterns in data that is collected over time where the underlying processes generating the data may be non-stationary. This situation occurs especially often in unsupervised learning, with applications such as community detection in dynamic social networks. He is also interested in network theory.
About the Award
The Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada has several programs for graduate fellowships. Xu’s award, from the Postgraduate Scholarship (PGS) program, provides 2 years of financial support to Canadian citizens at the doctoral level pursuing a degree in science or engineering.