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University of Dayton computer scientist recognized by Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers as outstanding young professional

By Allison Brace ’22

The Dayton section of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers honored Tam Nguyen with the 2021 Ravi PallerIa Memorial Award for Young Professionals for his technology-related contributions to artificial intelligence research.

Nguyen, a University of Dayton assistant professor of computer science, was one of eight professionals to receive awards from IEEE Dayton for 2021. His research topics include computer vision, applied machine learning and multimedia content analysis.

The PallerIa Memorial award is given annually to young professionals contributing to technology in engineering, business, management, marketing or law, within 15 years of their first graduate degree. Awardees receive a plaque and a monetary award from a fund donated by the family and friends of the late Ravi Pallerla and the Dayton IEEE section.

“It is a great honor to be the recipient of this award from IEEE Dayton,” Nguyen said. “This award means a lot to me because it has encouraged me to work harder and to achieve more in the near future.”

The Dayton section of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) is part of an international professional organization of electrical, electronic and computer engineers. It organizes technical, educational and scientific meetings and provides professional benefits to its members while contributing towards progress in the field.

Nguyen was nominated for the award by engineering professor Vijayan Asari, Ohio Research Scholars Endowed Chair in Wide Area Surveillance and director of the University’s Vision Lab. 

“Dr. Tam Nguyen is an outstanding faculty member with great perspectives in teaching, research and mentoring,” Asari said. “He has an amazing capability to inspire his students to think in the right path and succeed in accomplishing the course objectives. Dr. Nguyen is very active in publishing his research outcomes with his students and collaborating colleagues in high impact factor journals and conference proceedings.”

In 2020, the National Science Foundation awarded Nguyen $248,338 to use artificial intelligence to monitor motor vehicle traffic in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, and develop a simulation to help urban planners address traffic and infrastructure problems in the city of more than 8.9 million people.

Nguyen and his research team are using data from Ho Chi Minh City’s network of 10,000 traffic cameras for real-time analysis of traffic flow, congestion and accidents. The process — known as visual crowd-AI sensing — will provide city planners with actual data for simulating infrastructure changes, such as adding a new bridge or changing the direction of a traffic lane, to determine their potential impacts.

Last year, Lam Research Corporation awarded Nguyen and doctoral graduate Pengfei Guo $25,000 for fundamental research on artificial intelligence for silicon crystal growth.

The research team, which also includes master’s degree students Vatsa Patel and Shashi Adhikari, is using artificial intelligence (AI) to improve the Czochralski dislocation-free single crystal growth process for Lam subsidiary Silfex. Headquartered in Eaton, Ohio, about 26 miles west of Dayton, Silfex is the world’s largest custom silicon growing facility.

In addition to his research, Nguyen is an active member of the campus community. He has organized events for computer science students, including the University’s Hackathon event. Nguyen frequently collaborates with faculty from the School of Engineering and the College of Arts and Sciences. 

A member of IEEE since 2008, Nguyen has evolved within the organization through collegiate, professional and senior roles. 

Nguyen is the fifth recipient of the Pallerla Memorial Award since its inception in 2017. He received the award virtually in May 2021 during the annual IEEE Dayton Section Women in Engineering and Young Professionals Lecture and Awards Ceremony.

Feng Ye, assistant professor in the School of Engineering’s Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, was awarded the 2020 IPallerla Memorial Award.

“I hope I can work with students to conduct cutting-edge research in the field of computer science, to make computers smarter to better serve our life,” Nguyen said.

For more information, visit the Department of Computer Science website.

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