Ben Rosenzweig, a Ph.D. candidate in computer science at the Luddy School of Informatics, Computing, and Engineering, has been awarded a Science, Mathematics, and Research for Transformation Scholarship by the United States Department of Defense.
The SMART Scholarship-for-Service Program was established as a concentrated effort to enhance the Department of Defense workforce with talented, innovative, and brilliant scientists, engineers and researchers. Rosenzweig’s two-year scholarship includes tuition, a stipend, and health insurance, as well as a 10-12 week summer internship at a DoD facility.
“I am honored to have been selected for this program and excited to have the opportunity to pursue my research with DoD funding and support,” Rosenzweig said. “The SMART scholarship includes a post-graduation service commitment, and I look forward to continuing my basic and applied machine learning research in ways that directly contribute to the safety and well-being of our country.”
Rosenzweig’s research focuses on identifying phylogenetic trees from genomic sequence data. He is addressing three broad topics of broad interest in machine learning, including the use of simulation and reinforcement learning to train parameter estimators, symmetry invariant deep neural networks, and statistical interpretability of DNNs.
“As the primary audience of my research consists of evolutionary biologists, interpretability is a major focus of my work,” Rosenzweig said. “The RL exploration of parameter space provides a direct way to quantify the performance of the model across all parameter values. This is an important feature of the technique, which allows us to make accurate predictions about the behavior of an estimator while avoiding the high computational costs of most feature importance assays.”
Fewer than 20 percent of applicants are awarded a SMART scholarship. The scholarship requires students to have a minimum cumulative grade point average of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale, and applicants must be pursuing a degree in, or closely related to, one of the approved STEM disciplines with interest in research.
“This is a fantastic endorsement of the potential impact of Ben's work on both science and national security,” said David Crandall, an associate professor of informatics and computing, and an academic advisor for Rosenzweig. “I am so proud of Ben for earning this recognition and grateful to the Department of Defense for investing in the next generation of promising scientists.”