Four New Faculty Join UChicago Computer Science for 2020-21

July 27, 2020

The Department of Computer Science is excited to welcome four new faculty members joining this fall and winter. The new arrivals bring further expertise in quantum computing, human-computer interaction, machine learning, high-performance computing, and natural language processing to the department, expanding our research and education strengths. This year’s hiring adds to the explosive growth of UChicago CS since 2017, with 25 faculty members added in the last four years

Meet the new faculty below, and watch for in-depth profiles of each individual in the coming months. Additional hires in the data science area will be announced soon.

Robert Rand joins UChicago CS this fall as an assistant professor, with a research specialty in quantum programming. Rand applies his expertise in programming languages and formal verification to quantum computation, creating tools for writing, testing, and running reliable software on the quantum computers of today and tomorrow. He co-developed QWIRE, a quantum circuit language, and VOQC, a verified optimizing compiler for quantum programs, and incorporates elements of both in his online textbook, Verified Quantum Computing. Rand was previously a Victor Basili Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Maryland and the Joint Center for Quantum Information and Computer Science, and earned his Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania.

Sarah Sebo starts at UChicago CS this fall as an assistant professor. Her work concentrates on human-robot interaction, developing robots that improve the performance of human-robot teams by shaping team dynamics to promote inclusion, trust, and cohesion. Sebo uses computational models that detect relevant verbal and nonverbal social cues, predict high-level social dynamics, and generate decision-making policies for robot actions. Her papers are among the first to demonstrate that robots can influence the behavior of human team members, finding that  robots expressing vulnerability and support can increase trust and positively influence conversational dynamics within a team (watch a video here). Sebo completed her Ph.D. at Yale University, where she worked in the Social Robotics Lab.

Chenhao Tan will be joining in January as an assistant professor in UChicago CS, and will also be affiliated with the Harris School of Public Policy. Tan combines natural language processing, artificial intelligence, and computational social science to study human-centered machine learning, using AI to empower humans and augment human intelligence. His research examines how machine learning can help humans detect deception, enhance creativity, and discover new knowledge from data. He has also studied how language influences social interaction, the ecosystem of ideas, and multi-community engagement. This year, Tan has received an NSF CAREER award, an Amazon Research award, an IBM faculty award, and an Salesforce research award. He comes to UChicago from the University of Colorado Boulder, and he received his Ph.D. from Cornell University. In a paper on life trajectories, he wrote "People, unlike trees, thrive by relocation.”

Hannah Morgan starts a new role as Assistant Instructional Professor with UChicago CS this fall. Morgan researches scientific computing, including the simulation of physical processes such as fluid motion and developing models for how these algorithms execute on high-performance computers and heterogeneous CPU-GPU architectures. Morgan graduated with a Ph.D. from UChicago CS in 2018, and worked as a postdoctoral researcher at Argonne National Laboratory, where she participated in the Exascale Computing Project. As a lecturer with the UChicago Masters Program in Computer Science, Morgan taught Python programming, and in her new role she will lead introductory computer science courses.