UW News

May 26, 2021

Faculty/staff honors: Theoretical computer science award, early career faculty innovator in environmental studies, fellowship in Jewish history

Recent honors and achievements for University of Washington faculty include the 2021 Presburger award for theoretical computer science, an Early Career Faculty Innovator research grant for a collaboration in environmental studies with the Karuk Tribe in northern California, and a University of Pennsylvania fellowship to study war regulations among early Arabian Jewish communities.

Shayan Oveis Gharan receives 2021 Presburger Award for Young Scientists from the European Association for Theoretical Computer Science 

Shayan Oveis Gharan, UW associate professor in the Paul G. Allen School of Computer Science & Engineering, has received the 2021 Presburger Award for Young Scientists from the European Association for Theoretical Computer Science.

Shayan Oveis Gharan

The Presburger Award has been given each year since 2010, at the annual International Colloquium on Automata, Languages and Programming conference, to an individual or group of scientists, for outstanding contributions in theoretical computer science.

The association honored Oveis Gharan for his “creative, profound and ambitious” research on “The Traveling Salesperson Problem,” which asks how to find the shortest and most efficient route between multiple destinations and back to the starting point. Working with Oveis Gharan were Allen School faculty colleague Anna Karlin and doctoral student Nathan Klein.

The award is named for Polish Jewish mathematician, logician and philosopher Mojżesz Presburger (1904-1943). Read more on the Allen School news blog.

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National Center for Atmospheric research names Cleo Woelfle-Erskine to Early Career Faculty Innovator Program

Cleo Woelfle-Erskine

The National Center for Atmospheric Research has named Cleo Woelfle-Erskine, assistant professor in the UW School of Marine & Environmental Affairs, to its Early Career Faculty Innovator Program.

The designation comes with a $400,000 award and Woelfle-Erskine is among the new program’s second cohort, working with School of Environmental and Forest Sciences doctoral student Sofi Courtney.

The Faculty Innovator Program aims to support faculty researchers in the social, policy and behavioral sciences and graduate students for two years as they develop interdisciplinary research projects in partnership with the center. They will begin their work this summer.

Woelfle-Erskine is working with the Karuk Tribe Department of Natural Resources in northern California to study how cultural burning affects watershed hydrology such as snowpack, runoff and stream temperature. This is part of larger work to center floodplain restoration in Karuk science, culture and protocol.

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Hamza Zafer receives Katz fellowship for study at University of Pennsylvania for 2021-2022 year

Hamza Zafer

Hamza Zafer, UW associate professor of Near Eastern Languages and Civilization, has received a fellowship from the Herbert D. Katz Center for Advanced Judaic Studies at the University of Pennsylvania. Zafer is also an affiliate of the Stroum Center for Jewish Studies.

Zafer and others of the 22-member new cohort of scholars, will be in residence at the University of Pennsylvania for the 2021-2022 school year. He will research war regulations and raiding norms among Arabian Jewish communities of the sixth and seventh centuries CE.

Zafer’s is the Jody Ellant and Howard Reiter Family Fellowship; his research title is: “Conscription, Captives, and Spoils among Arabian Jews: The Quran and Early Muslim Sources as Evidence for Late Antique Jewish Legal Culture.”