Student Ashley Suh was awarded a $3,000 stipend for her research project, “Using Persistent Homology to Drive Interactive Graph Drawing,” from the Collaborative Research Experience for Undergraduates (CREU). In addition to this, she will receive up to $1,500 for student travel and/or research supplies. The proposal for funding was submitted by Dr. Paul Rosen, who will be Suh’s faculty mentor throughout her research.
Suh and Rosen’s project involves working to develop a new method for drawing and interacting with graphs, such as for a social network. The challenge with many graphs is that their highly interconnected nature causes them to look like a hairball when drawn. Their project uses a technique called “persistent homology” to identify important structures in the data. Those structures are then interactively selected and used to “pull apart” the hairball, enabling clearer analysis of the graph.
The CREU program is sponsored by the Computing Research Association Committee on the Status of Women in Computing Research (CRA-W). Its intention is, according to their website, “to increase the number of women and underrepresented groups enrolled undergraduate studies in the fields of computer science and computer engineering by exposing them to the joy and potential of research.” The criteria for choosing which projects are funded include the stipulation that the project must “enable student empowerment, leadership development, confidence building, and skill building.”