Alumni Corner: Amr Magdy

Magdy’s work innovates scalable computational techniques that enable social scientists to push the limits of their existing data analysis and create new boundaries for new analysis capabilities. He is an assistant professor of Computer Science and Engineering and a co-founding faculty member of the Center for Geospatial Sciences at UC Riverside. 

Congratulations on winning the NSF Career Award! Can you tell us more about your work?

This research project is a 5-year extended project specifically for a systems professor to develop their career in an academic institution. Specifically, the topic that I submitted to the NSF career program is about spatial data science. I'm working from a statistical perspective. I combine statistical analysis with data analysis in the context of a special lead. I work with other domain experts that are scientists from other disciplines. For example, my job is providing computational tools that enable other scientists to analyze spatial data at scale. We are trying to provide scalable algorithms and computational tools to enable them to do analysis. You can give executives decision-making tools that they would use to form such decisions.

What are your main roles and responsibilities?

I am the main investigator of the project. I work with my students and other scientists who will utilize my research. I'm trying to understand the needs of these scientists. We are identifying research gaps to determine what needs to be tackled. We are working with an algorithm to solve this problem. We document their research and publish papers based on that. I go through all the pipeline of research from identifying the problem up to publishing.

What is your main takeaway from receiving this award?

It’s just great to be recognized within the community and within your department. This award means a great deal to me personally.

What are your next steps with this research?

We will continue working on the different aspects of the project with my students. The award started last month. So, we are working now. This year, I'm putting in my application for 10 years. After the evaluation, we continue the next step of getting recommendations. So the next milestone in my academic career is being in academia for 10 years. That's a lifetime milestone. And we'll always have research to do so. This is an endless cycle. I sent a proposal last week to Google. I'm trying to also get the industrial perspective in the work, because it's always useful to have a practical view and in academic work. 

Is there anything else you would like to highlight?

I would like to thank you for the recognition. This is a great honor to be recognized on the matter. It’s a proud moment for me. The University of Minnesota is a very special place to me. I have fond memories of my time in Minnesota, with good friends, good advice, and a wonderful department.