Computer Science Students Win Honorable Mention from Computing Research Association

Two senior Rutgers–Camden computer science majors have been recognized by the Computing Research Association for outstanding research projects completed this year.

Brian Brubach of Philadelphia and Robert MacDavid of Collingswood received honorable mention for the prestigious 2014 CRA Outstanding Undergraduate Researcher Awards.  The CRA’s award program recognizes undergraduate students at North American universities who show outstanding research potential in computer science.  The Rutgers–Camden duo is among just 22 students to have received honorable mention awards this year.

“This award tells me I am able to perform research of real significance,” says MacDavid, a graduate of Collingswood High School. “It is amazing to me because it was only two years ago that I did not even know what research was. I have come a long way since my first semester at Rutgers, and I have wonderful faculty to thank for my intellectual growth.”

For his research project, MacDavid worked on an intractable scheduling problem and came up with algorithms that yield near-optimal solutions.  He says the research “is giving me critical experience for my first year of graduate studies. Because of my experiences in the past two years at Rutgers–Camden, I will soon be working on cutting edge of modern research. This is an achievement I previously thought I was not capable of.”

Brubach, a graduate of Liberty High School in Eldersburg, Md., worked on a two-dimensional packing problem until he improved the best known result for the problem.

“It’s encouraging to be recognized among such a talented group of people,” says Brubach, who is originally from Finksburg, Md. “I plan to get a Ph.D. in computer science so research experience is preparation for what I’ll be doing in graduate school.  More importantly though, I really enjoy doing research and it gives me a sense of purpose.  Professor Rajiv Gandhi has been an amazing guiding force and mentor to me. He gave me the tools I needed to pursue research and influenced my decision to go to graduate school.”

Gandhi, an associate professor of computer science at Rutgers–Camden, says the awards are a significant achievement for the students and for the Rutgers–Camden campus.

“Both Brian and Robert have done excellent research,” Gandhi says. “This award will serve them well in the future when they start their graduate studies.  It is also significant for Rutgers–Camden as other students may be motivated and may want to follow the footsteps of Brian and Robert.”

The mission of the Computing Research Association is to enhance innovation by joining with industry, government, and academia to strengthen research and advanced education in computing.

Students eligible for the organization’s Outstanding Undergraduate Researcher Award are nominated by two faculty members. No more than two male and two female candidates can be recommended for the honor by the same university in the same year.

The CRA recognizes one male and one female outstanding undergraduate researcher, and one male and one female runner-up.  This year, 15 male students and seven female students won honorable mention awards.

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