Honors and Awards

Prize Fellowships

Amazon Fellows Program

The Amazon Fellows Program is the result of a partnership between Caltech and Amazon AWS around Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence. The program recognizes graduate students and postdoctoral scholars that have had a remarkable impact in these areas, and in their application to fields beyond computer science.

Year Winner Advisor
2018 Ehsan Abbasi Babak Hassibi
2018 Gautam Goel Adam Wierman
2018 Jonathan Kenny Thanos Siapas
2018 Palma London Adam Wierman
2018 Xiaobin Xiong Aaron Ames
2017 Navid Azizan Ruhi Babak Hassibi / Adam Wierman
2017 Ellen Feldman Joel Burdick
2017 Hoang Le Yisong Yue
2017 Florian Schaefer Houman Owhadi
2017 Srikanth Tenneti P.P. Vaidyanathan

Saul Kaplun Fellowship

The Kaplun Fellowship was established by Morris Kaplun in honor of his son, who was a senior research fellow at Caltech. The Fellowship funds graduate research in applied mathematics, the field in which Saul worked devotedly until his untimely passing in 1964.

Year Winner Advisor
2017-2018 Dmitry Burov Oscar Bruno
2016-2017 De Huang Thomas Hou
2015-2016 Agustin Fernandez Lado Oscar Bruno
2014-2015 Emmanuel Garza Gonzales Oscar Bruno
2014-2015 Max Budninskiy Mathieu Desbrun
2013-2014 Albert Chern Peter Schröder
2008-2009 John Bruer Joel Tropp
2007-2008 Patrick Sanan Peter Schröder
2004-2005 Chia-Chieh Chu Thomas Hou
2003-2004 Zhiyi Li Oscar Bruno
2002-2003 Lei Zhang Houman Owhadi
2001-2002 Lixiu Tian Kaushik Bhattacharya
2001-2002 Marco Latini Daniel Meiron
2000-2001 Xinwei Yu Thomas Hou
1999-2000 Razvan Fetecau Jerrold Marsden
1998-1999 Mario Chaubell Oscar Bruno
1998-1999 Andrew Westhead Thomas Hou
1997-1998 Andy Greenberg Oscar Bruno
1996-1997 Eugene Ingerman Herbert Keller
1995-1996 Yalchin Efendiev Thomas Hou
1995-1996 James Gleeson Philip Saffman
1995-1996 Russina Philippakos Gerald Whitham
1994-1995 Hui Si Thomas Hou
1994-1995 Maciej Dudek Joel Franklin
1993-1994 David Haroldsen Daniel Meiron / Thomas Hou
1992-1993 Patrick Lahey Daniel Meiron

Kortschak Scholars Program

The Kortschak Scholars Program was founded in 2017 with the objective of launching a new era of scholarship, inquiry, and innovation in computing and mathematical sciences at Caltech. Caltech trustee and venture capitalist Walter Kortschak (MS ’82), with his wife, Marcia, created the program through a $5 million gift for endowed graduate fellowships.

More information about the Kortschak Scholars Program can be found here.

Year Winner Advisor
2019 Berthy Feng Katie Bouman / Pietro Perona
2019 Wyatt Ubellacker Aaron Ames
2018 Yifan Chen Thomas Hou / Andrew Stuart / Houman Owhadi
2018 Hsin-Yuan (Robert) Huang Yisong Yue / Anima Anandkumar
2018 Yousuf Soliman Peter Schroeder / Andrew Stuart / Houman Owhadi
2018 Alexander Poremba Thomas Vidick
2017 Andrea Coladangelo Thomas Vidick
2017 Victor Dorobantu Soon-Jo Chung
2017 Jennifer Sun Aaron Ames

PIMCO Fellows

The PIMCO Fellows Program is the result of a partnership between Caltech and PIMCO around Data Science. The program recognizes graduate students and postdoctoral scholars that have had a remarkable impact in data science, broadly defined, and its application to fields beyond computer science.

Graduate Students

Year Winner Advisor
2018-2019 Juba Ziani Katrina Ligett
2018-2019 Navid Azizan Ruhi Babak Hassibi / Adam Wierman

Postdoctoral Scholars

Year Winner Advisor
2018-2019 Pathikrit Basu Federico Echenique / Adam Wierman
2018-2019 Yuxin Chen Yisong Yue

Simoudis Discovery Fund

The Simoudis Discovery Fund provides seed funds for emerging projects at the intersection of big data, machine learning, and autonomy. The funds are allocated yearly to a mix of student and faculty projects.

Year Winner Advisor
2018-19 Karena X. Cai Soon-Jo Chung
2017-18 Xiaobin Xiong Aaron Ames

Dissertation Awards

Amori Doctoral Prize in CMS

The Amori Prize was established in 2017 by Michael Amori (MS 2007) to honor outstanding dissertations in the computing and mathematical sciences during the current academic year. Awardees are selected by a committee of computing and mathematical sciences faculty each spring.

Year Winner Advisor
2019 John Pang Adam Wierman
2017 Rachel Cummings Katrina Ligett

Bhansali Family Doctoral Prize in Computer Science

The Bhansali Family Doctoral Prize in Computer Science was established in 2018 by Vineer Bhansali (B.S. ’87, M.S. ’87) in memory of his grandfather, Mag Raj Bhansali. The prize and honorarium are given to honor outstanding dissertations in computer science, broadly defined, during the current academic year. Awardees are selected by a committee of computer science faculty each spring.

Year Winner Advisor
2019 Juba Ziani Adam Wierman / Katrina Ligett
2018 Xiaoqi Ren Adam Wierman

W. P. Carey & Co. Prize in Applied Mathematics

The Carey & Co. Prize was established by William P. Carey and W. P. Carey & Co., Inc. The prize and honorarium are awarded to outstanding doctoral dissertations in applied mathematics in the current academic year. Awardees are selected by a committee of applied mathematics faculty.

Year Winner Advisor
2019 Yong Sheng Soh Venkat Chandrasekaran
2017 Albert Chern Peter Schröder
2017 Pengchuan Zhang Tom Hou
2016 Eldar Akhmetgaliyev Oscar Bruno
2015 Max A. Cubillos-Moraga Oscar Bruno
2014 Faisal Amlani Oscar Bruno
2014 Peyman Tavallali Thomas Hou
2013 Mulin Chang Thomas Hou
2013 Michael McCoy Joel Tropp
2012 Xin Hu Thomas Hou
2012 Stephane Lintner Oscar Bruno
2011 Stephen Becker Emmanuel Candes
2011 Yaniv Plan Emmanuel Candes
2011 Molei Tao Houman Owhadi / Jerrold Marsden
2010 Chia-Chieh (Jay) Chu Thomas Hou
2009 Ari Joshua Stern Jerrold Marsden / Mathieu Desbrun
2008 Hannes Helgason Emmanuel Candes
2008 David Hoch Oscar Bruno
2007 Lei Zhang Houman Owhadi
2006 Laurent Demanet Emmanuel Candes
2006 David Goulet Donald Cohen
2006 Wuan Luo Thomas Hou
2005 Xinwei Yu Thomas Hou
2004 Jay Bartroff Gary Lorden
2003 E. McKay Hyde Oscar Bruno
2003 Razvan Fetecau Jerrold Marsden
2002 Bogdan Craciun Kaushik Bhattacharya
2001 Mayya Tokman Dan Meiron
2001 Gang Hu Thomas Hou
2000 Philip Love Herbert Keller
1999 Yalchin Efendiev Thomas Hou
1999 James P. Gleeson Philip Saffman
1998 No prize awarded -
1997 Alexander Kiselev Barry Simon
1996 No prize awarded -
1995 Slawomir J. Solecki Alexander Kechris
1994 Alexander Lesin Dinakar Ramakrishnan
1992 Ramin Naimi David Gabai
1988 Robert Cox Donald Cohen
1988 Michael J. Ward Donald Cohen
1987 Juan Zufiria Philip Saffman
1985 Michael E. Henderson Herbert Keller
1985 Wiliam Henshaw Heinz-Otto Kreiss
1983 Luis Guillermo M. Reyna Heinz-Otto Kreiss
1982 John Wilson Barker Heinz-Otto Kreiss
1981 William L. Kath Donald Cohen

Ben P.C. Chou Doctoral Prize in IST

The Ben P.C. Chou Doctoral Prize recognizes outstanding doctoral dissertations in the broad area of information science and technology. The Prize was established by his wife, June, and his son, Scott (BS 1986), as a lasting tribute for Ben's lifetime dedication to the pursuit of scholarly research and foregoing personal gain in favor of always doing the right thing for society.

Ben P.C Chou

Professor Pen-chu “Ben” Chou was born in China and suffered a childhood disrupted by a revolutionary war that ultimately took his father. At the age of 13, his mother took him and his two younger sisters to Taiwan as war refugees where she raised the three of them on her own. Prof Chou went on to complete his undergraduate at Tunghai University, his master’s degree at the University of Missouri, and his doctorate at the University of Oklahoma. He spent the bulk of his career doing research and teaching at The Texas Center for Superconductivity at the University of Houston and Jilin University in Changchun, China. Prof Chou is noted for his pioneering contributions in developing photoreactivity for thin film superconductors and helping establish OCEF, an international charitable foundation headquartered in Houston, Texas.

Year Winner Advisor
2019 Yong Sheng Soh Venkat Chandrasekaran
2018 Chun-Lin Liu Paighat P. Vaidyanathan
2017 Albert Chern Peter Schröder

UG Academic & Research Awards

Bhansali Family Prize in Computer Science

The Bhansali Family Prize was established in 2001 by Vineer Bhansali (B.S. ’87, M.S. ’87) in memory of his grandfather, Mag Raj Bhansali. The prize and honorarium are awarded to an undergraduate student for outstanding research in computer science in the current academic year. Awardees are selected by a committee of computer science faculty.

Year Winner Advisor
2019 Zachary Chase Xinwen Zhu
2019 Siddharth Prasad Eric Rains
2018 Ching-Yun (Chloe) Hsu Chris Umans
2018 Jacob (Jalex) Stark Thomas Vidick
2017 Joon Sik Kim Yisong Yue
2016 Nicholas Schiefer Erik Winfree
2015 Bryan He Yisong Yue
2015 William Hoza Leonard Schulman
2015 Nicholas Schiefer with honorable mention Erik Winfree
2014 Iris Zhengzheng Liu Adam Wierman
2013 EunJee Lee Michelle Effros
2012 No prize awarded
2011 Karthik Sarma Mani Chandy
2010 Isaac Jushiang Chao Peter Schröder
2009 Robert Barish Erik Winfree
2008 Fedor Manin Chris Umans
2007 Siddharth Patel Mani Chandy
2006 Matthew Fisher Mathieu Desbrun
2005 Shaun Lee Erik Winfree
2004 Elliott Karpilovsky Steven Low
2003 Jeffrey Bolz David Wales
2002 Miroslav Dudik Peter Schröder

Henry Ford II Scholar Award

The Henry Ford II Scholar Award is funded under an endowment provided by the Ford Motor Company Fund. The award is made annually to the engineering student with the best academic record at the end of the third year of undergraduate study.

Year Winner Advisor
2017 Ching-Yun (Chloe) Hsu Chris Umans
2016 Nand Kishore Adam Wierman
2016 Kushal Agarwal Mathieu Desbrun
2015 Taokun Zheng Alan Barr & Adam Wierman
2014 Dae Hyun Kim Adam Wierman
2013 Kevin Chen Alain Martin
2012 Judy Mou Peter Schröder
2012 Michael Hirshleifer Adam Wierman
2011 Ye Lu Chris Umans

Frederick J. Zeigler Memorial Award

The Fredrick J. Zeigler Memorial Award was established in 1989 to honor Fredrick J. Zeigler, a member of the class of 1976 and an applied mathematics major. The award recognizes excellence in scholarship as demonstrated in class activities or in the preparation of an original paper or essay in any subject area within mathematics or applied mathematics.

Year Winner Advisor
2017 Ayya Alieva Houman Owhadi
2016 Celia Zhang Thomas Hou
2014 William Hoza Leonard Schulman

Teaching Awards

Northrop Grumman Prize for Excellence in Teaching

The Northrop Grumman Prize for Excellence in Teaching is awarded to an EAS professor or lecturer who demonstrates, in the broadest sense, unusual ability, creativity, and innovation in undergraduate and graduate classroom or laboratory teaching.

Year Winner
2019 Konstantin Zuev
2017 Chris Umans

Thomas A. Tisch Prize for Graduate Teaching in Computing and Mathematical Sciences

The Graduate Teaching in CMS Award was established in 2016 with a gift from Microsoft and then endowed through the generosity of Thomas A. Tisch (BS '61). The prize and honorarium are awarded to a graduate student for outstanding teaching and course development in computing and mathematical sciences. Awardees are selected by a committee of CMS faculty members.

Year Winner Advisor
2019 Riley Murray Adam Wierman
2018 Ellen Feldman Novoseller Joel Burdick
2017 Albert Chern Peter Schröder

Thomas A. Tisch Prize for Undergraduate Teaching in Computing and Mathematical Sciences

The Undergraduate Teaching in CMS Award was established in 2016 with a gift from Microsoft and then endowed through the generosity of Thomas A. Tisch (BS '61). The prize and honorarium are awarded to a undergraduate student for outstanding teaching and course development in computing and mathematical sciences. Awardees are selected by a committee of CMS faculty members.

Year Winner Advisor
2019 Aadyot Bhatnagar Yisong Yue
2019 Ethan Pronovost John Doyle
2018 Maitreyi Ashok Jehoshua (Shuki) Bruck
2018 Zachary Domanico Fernando Brandao
2017 Chinmay Nirkhe Nets Katz

Richard P. Feynman Prize for Excellence in Teaching

The Richard P. Feynman Prize for Excellence in Teaching was established in 1993 to honor annually a professor who demonstrates, in the broadest sense, unusual ability, creativity, and innovation in undergraduate and graduate classroom or laboratory teaching.

The Richard P. Feynman Prize for Excellence in Teaching is awarded campus-wide and the following CMS professors have been recipients of the award. The full list of recipients can be found here.

Year Winner
2005-2006 Richard Murray, Control and Dynamical Systems
2002-2003 Niles Pierce, Applied and Computational Mathematics
1999-2000 Donald Cohen, Applied Mathematics
1995-1996 Yaser Abu-Mostafa, Electrical Engineering and Computer Science

ASCIT Teaching Award

These awards are presented once a year by the Associated Students of the California Institute of Technology (ASCIT) to faculty members and teaching assistants who have been nominated by the students for their ability to inspire and motivate students through teaching.

The ASCIT Teaching Award is awarded campus-wide and the following CMS professors have been recipients of the award. The full list of recipients can be found here.

Year Winner
2018-2019 Adam Blank
2017-2018 Thomas Vidick, Kostantin Zuev
2016-2017 Adam Wierman
2014-2015 Dan Meiron
2010-2011 Donnie Pinkston
2009-2010 Adam Wierman
2008-2009 Chris Umans
2007-2008 Mani Chandy, Mathieu Desbrun, Joel Tropp
2005-2006 Niles Pierce
2004-2005 Richard Murray
2003-2004 Mani Chandy
2001-2002 John Preskill
2000-2001 Oscar Bruno
1998-1999 Dan Meiron
1997-1998 Don Cohen
1990-1991 Yaser Abu-Mostafa, John Preskill
1989-1990 Joel Burdick
1988-1989 Yaser Abu-Mostafa
1986-1987 Don Cohen
1985-1986 Yaser Abu-Mostafa
1977-1978 Don Cohen

Mentoring Awards

Department of Computing and Mathematical Sciences Award for Excellence in Mentoring

The Department of Computing and Mathematical Sciences Award for Excellence in Mentoring is given to outstanding alumni mentors who consistently provide invaluable advice, time, and connections to undergraduate and graduate students and postdoctoral researchers. These mentors are able to connect with a diverse group of young scientists and engineers, promoting opportunity for all, and supporting an informed, confident community.

Philip Naecker

2019

Philip Naecker

Phil is an engineer, graduating in 1976 as with a degree in Environmental Science. He is currently on his fifth career, this one as a the CTO for a quantitative finance firm. Previously, he worked as an environmental engineer leading an environmental modeling group, director of IT for a national consulting firm, consultant in High Performance Computing, and Chief Scientist for a software startup, plus a few other jobs along the way. Phil has served on the Boards of the Caltech Y, the Gnome Club and the Caltech Alumni Association. Phil lives in Altadena with his wife of 40 years, Nancy, a Pasadena native whom he met at a Fleming House dance in Dabney Hall while she was a nursing student. They have two kids, one who just left a professorship in Behavioral and Experimental Economics to join the behavioral science team at a major tech firm, and the other a neuroscientist who is at a startup working on a breakthrough medical imaging technology. Phil says he very much enjoys the opportunity to work with the CMS students and the dedicated alums that are helping them. All of the alums agree: anything that helps students understand the world beyond Caltech is going to help them and help the world!

Philip Naecker

2019

Michael Walsh