ACM SIGMOD Seattle, USA, 2023
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ACM SIGMOD 2023 New Researcher Symposium

Advice from Early PhD to Early Career: Academia and Industry

Time slot and date: Tuesday June 20 6:30 pm - 8:30 pm

Session Chair:

Jia Zou, Arizona State University, USA
Parth Nagarkar, New Mexico State University, USA


Every year, the SIGMOD Conference includes a symposium with advice on starting a career in data management. These symposia are both informative and entertaining; they are geared towards graduate students and junior researchers, but they often attract a broader audience. This year's SIGMOD New Researcher Symposium is on "Advice from Early PhD to Early Career: Academia and Industry". We have put together an exciting panel with diverse viewpoints and perspectives on how to effectively engage in such research.  The panel will begin by each panelist presenting their own experiences as well as advice from early PhD to early Career in academia and/or industry. Then there will be a moderate Q&A session followed by an open forum for the audience to ask their questions.


Leilani Battle is an Assistant Professor in the Paul G. Allen School of Computer Science and Engineering at the University of Washington and co-director of the UW Interactive Data Lab. Her research interests focus on developing interactive data-intensive systems that can aid analysts in performing complex data exploration and analysis. Her current research is anchored in the field of databases, but utilizes research methodology and techniques from HCI and visualization to integrate data processing (databases) with interactive interfaces (HCI, visualization). Prof. Battle was named one of the 35 Innovators Under 35 by the MIT Technology Review in 2020, and received the TCDE Rising Star Award for 2022. She is also an NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Recipient (2012), and her research has been supported by Adobe, VMWare, NSF (CRII and CAREER), and an ORAU Ralph E. Powe Junior Faculty Enhancement Award (2019-2020). In 2017, she completed a postdoc in the UW Interactive Data Lab. She holds an MS (2013) and PhD (2017) in Computer Science from MIT, where she was a member of the MIT Database Group, and a BS in Computer Engineering from UW (2011), where she was a member of the UW database group.

Chris Jermaine is the JS Abercrombie Professor of Engineering and Chair of the Department of Computer Science at Rice University.  He is the recipient of an Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Research Fellowship, a National Science Foundation CAREER award, and the George R. Brown School's Teaching & Research Excellence Award. He has received best paper/best paper runner-up awards from top journals/conferences in data mining and data management, including IEEE ICDE, ACM SIGMOD, ACM SIGKDD, and VLDB, as well as the IBM Pat Goldberg Award for the best IBM paper of 2008. He currently serves as the editor-in-chief of ACM Transactions on Database Systems, the ACM’s flagship journal for data management research.

Senjuti Basu Roy is the Panasonic Chair in Sustainability and an Associate Professor in the Department of Computer Science at the New Jersey Institute of Technology. Her research focus lies on the intersection of data management, data exploration, and AI, especially enabling human-AI analytics in scale. Senjuti has published more than 80  research papers in high impact data management and data mining conferences and journals. She is the tutorial co-chair of VLDB 2023, The Web Conference 2022, has served as the Mentorship co-chair of SIGMOD 2018, PhD workshop co-chair of VLDB 2018, and has been involved in organizing several international workshops and meetings. She is a recipient of the NSF CAREER Award, a PECASE nominee, and one of the 100 invited early career engineers to attend the National Academy of Engineering’s 2021 US Frontiers of Engineering Symposium.

Mo Sarwat is the Co-Founder and CEO of Wherobots (The data platform for geospatial analytics and AI). He is alo a computer science faculty member at Arizona State University. Dr. Sarwat is a recipient of the 2019 National Science Foundation CAREER award. His general research interest lies in developing robust and scalable data systems for spatial and spatiotemporal applications. The outcome of his research has been recognized by two best research paper awards. Besides impact through scientific publications, Mo is also the creator and architect of several software artifacts, which include Apache Sedona (a scalable system for processing big geospatial data) that is being used by major tech companies. In June 2019, Dr. Sarwat was named an Early Career Distinguished Lecturer by the IEEE Mobile Data Management community.

Erkang Zhu (Eric Zhu) is a Senior Researcher at Microsoft Research, where he works on developing data systems that allow users to easily discover, analyze, and visualize data. He has recently focused on improving query processing for row pattern recognition in SQL, known as MATCH_RECOGNIZE, as well as time series pattern search. Eric received his PhD in Computer Science from the University of Toronto, where he studied under Professor Rene'e J. Miller. He is also the creator of the datasketch open-source project, a popular Python library for data sketches.

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