Two professors from the UCLA Samueli School of Engineering have received the 2020 Amazon Research Award. Suhas Diggavi, professor of electrical and computer engineering, was recognized for his research on compressed private and secure distributed edge learning. Yizhou Sun, associate professor of computer science, was recognized for her research on accelerating graph neural network training.

Diggavi’s research aims to address issues in machine learning — more specifically that of privacy, efficiency and protection from malicious actors in collaborative learning. These issues apply to many information and sensing networks, several of which are used in everyday contexts. Among his many honors, Diggavi was recently awarded the Guggenheim Fellowship and was a recipient of the 2019 Google Faculty Research Award. At UCLA, he leads the Information Theory and Systems Laboratory, where he conducts research related to information theory and its applications to learning, cyber-physical systems, security and privacy, wireless networks, bioinformatics and neuroscience.

Sun’s primary research is in large-scale information and social networks, and more generally in data mining, database systems, statistics, machine learning, information retrieval and network science. She also works on modeling novel problems and proposing scalable algorithms for large-scale, real-world applications, including social computing, social media, business intelligence, medical and health informatics, and cyber-physical systems. Her research group is currently exploring data from different domains, such as online social networks, online discussion boards, digital government and game data.

The Amazon Research Awards help fund outstanding, innovative research proposals across machine learning, robotics, operations research and more, while strengthening connections between Amazon research teams, academic researchers and their affiliated institutions. The grant program provides $80,000 in cash and $20,000 in Amazon Web Services promotional credits to academic researchers.