UMD News Releases

Communication Associate: Public Relations | Lori Melton | | (218) 726-8830

September 28, 2009
Susan Beasy Latto, Director, UMD Public Relations 218 726-8830

UMD Graduate and GOOGLE Web Search "Elite Engineer"
To Present Public Seminar

Friday, October 2nd at 2 p.m.
"Web Search: Challenges and Direction"

Dr. Amit Singhal, a 1991 UMD Master of Computer Science graduate and Google "Elite Engineer", will present a lecture titled "Web Search: Challenges and Direction". Friday, October 2 at 2 p.m. in Bohannon Hall 90 on the UMD campus. The presentation is free and the public is cordially invited.

Dr. Singhal is a Google Fellow, the designation Google reserves for its elite engineers. He is the master of what Google calls its "ranking algorithm"-- the formulas that decide which Web pages best answer each user's question. It is a crucial part of Google's "inner sanctum", a department called Search Quality. Google remains the most visited, most profitable and arguably the most powerful company on the Internet. It is the navigator for half a billion users.

Dr. Singhal will be at UMD to attend the annual Swenson College Academy of Science and Engineering Awards ceremony on Friday evening. He is one of six to be honored this year. Each honoree will present a public lecture. Times and locations are listed below.

The UMD Academy of Science and Engineering was established to give public recognition to distinguished alumni and special friends of the Swenson College of Science and Engineering who have brought distinction to themselves through their participation, commitment, and leadership in their chosen profession.

Dr. Amit Singhal

Master of Science - Computer Science 1991

Dr. Amit Singhal received a Bachelor of Engineering in Computer Science from IIT Roorkee in 1989. He continued his computer science studies in the Master's program at UMD where he was introduced to and conducted research in the field of information retrieval. Following his graduation in 1992, Amit was admitted to the Ph.D. program in computer science at Cornell University, studying under the direction of Professor Gerard Salton, the leading pioneer in the field of information retrieval.

In 2000, Dr. Singhal joined Google, and since that time has been working on Google ranking. Ranking is the end result of applying a search engine to a user's query. Ranking determines the order in which web pages considered relevant to a query are returned. The Google web-based search engine is the most widely known and used search engine. It consists of a collection of algorithms that are used to find the most relevant items for hundreds of millions of queries each day.

Dr. Singhal is a Google Fellow, the designation Google reserves for its elite engineers. He is in charge of Google's ranking team whose responsibility is to continuously monitor and improve the search engine's performance. His team typically makes 10 changes to the ranking algorithm each week. According to the New York Times, Amit is the master of the Google "ranking algorithm." Dr. Singhal is regarded by the publication India Abroad as one of the 50 most influential Indian Americans. Through his contributions to date, his work has permanently altered the world's technological, economic and social landscape.


October 2----2:00 pm - Seminar - "Web Search: Challenges and Direction" - BohH 90

Dr. Kurt Fausch

Bachelor of Science - Biology 1976

Dr. Kurt D. Fausch graduated from UMD in 1976 with a BS in Zoology, and has gone on to become an internationally recognized fisheries ecologist. After leaving UMD, Kurt began graduate studies at Michigan State University, where he worked with Dr. Ray White studying behavioral interactions among stream salmonids. He received his MS in 1978 and a PhD in 1981. During his years at Michigan State, Kurt developed a strong affection for trout streams and their inhabitants, and he decided to pursue those interests when he accepted a position as an assistant professor in the Department of Fishery and Wildlife Biology at Colorado State University in Fort Collins.

Kurt has been a very prolific contributor to the scientific literature, having published over 90 refereed articles, book chapters and edited volumes. His work as been funded by over $3 million in grants from the National Science Foundation, the U.S. Forest Service, the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, the U.S. Department of the Interior, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the National Park Service, the U.S. Army, the Japanese Society for the Promotion of Science, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and other organizations. In recognition for his work, Kurt was awarded the inaugural International Fisheries Science Prize by the World Council of Fisheries Societies in 2008. In presenting the award, the committee noted that, "Dr. Fausch's nomination included strong support from 11 eminent fisheries biologists across the world, providing extensive evidence of his international recognition and appreciation of the high level of his work"


October 2--3:15 pm - Seminar - 185 Life Science

Mr. Michael Hafeman

Bachelor of Arts - Mathematics and Economics 1974

Michael Hafeman is a 1974 graduate of UMD with degrees in mathematics and economics. He has assessed the insurance sectors of several countries for the International Monetary Fund and managed the development of comprehensive training materials on insurance supervision for the World Bank. He previously directed the Specialist Support Sector experts in Accounting and Financial Information, Actuarial, Capital, Capital Markets, Compliance, Credit Risk and Financial Services Technology, and oversaw the Office of the Chief Actuary at the Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions Canada.


October 3---3:00 pm - Seminar- "Lessons Learned in My Career" - LSBE 118

Dr. James W. Rohlf

Bachelor of Arts - Physics and Mathematics 1973

James W. Rohlf was born in Cloquet, Minnesota and entered UMD in 1969 after graduating from Duluth's East High School. He completed a double major in Physics and Mathematics while at UMD. Heading west for graduate study in physics, Rohlf completed an M.S. degree at UCLA and then his Ph.D. at the California Institute of Technology in 1980. His subsequent career in experimental particle physics has included appointments at the Laboratory for Nuclear Studies at Cornell University, the European Center for Nuclear Research (CERN), and the faculty at Harvard University. In 1988 he joined Boston University as professor of physics.

Dr. Rohlf's research in high energy particle physics has involved participation in a series of large scale experiments that have provided key discoveries over the past three decades. These experiments study the constituent particles and interactions of matter at the shortest length-scales. Beginning with his Ph.D. work, an experiment at Fermilab which involved the early observation of jets of particles produced in collisions of nuclear matter, he has been engaged in untangling the large amount of data produced in

such experiments to identify the particles produced and their properties. His distinguished record with these large endeavors includes work on the experiments at CERN that discovered the W and Z bosons that are the intermediaries of the weak interaction, one of the four fundamental interactions in nature. Most recently, Dr. Rohlf has been working on the Compact Muon Solenoid at CERN, one of the key detectors at CERN's new Large Hadron Collider (LHC). He has also authored a text on modern physics and, along with his interest in particle physics, has contributed articles analyzing environmental issues in the Cape Cod area.


October 2---4:00 pm - Seminar - "The Quest for 10-20 Meters" MWAH 195

Dr. Roy Sanford

Bachelor of Arts - Chemistry and Mathematics 1968

Dr. Roy L. Sanford graduated magna cum laude with a BS in Chemistry and Mathematics from UMD in 1968. He continued his graduate studies at the University of Minnesota with a PhD in Biostatistics in 1973 and also earned an MBA from the Keller Graduate School of Management in 1980. Over the course of his business career, he worked as a professional statistician, educator, consultant and executive.

Dr. Sanford worked as a statistician on research projects in the environment, health and life sciences. He was part of product development and process improvement efforts in the industrial projects. Under his leadership, the Statistical Department at Baxter Healthcare developed into a designated company Center of Excellence. On a national level, he chaired annual meetings of pharmaceutical company statisticians, was a founding member of the Ball State Midwest Statistics Conference, and consulted on trade association projects. He is author of numerous technical reports and publications.


October 2---3:00 pm - Seminar - Life Science 175

Dr. Wanda Taylor

Bachelor of Science - Geology 1982

Dr. Wanda Taylor, Professor of Geology at the University of Nevada Las Vegas (UNLV), received her B.S. in geology with a minor in chemistry from the University of Minnesota Duluth in 1982. She earned her MS in structural geology from Syracuse University in 1984, where she worked on the Sevier orogenic belt in the Northern Mormon Mountains of Nevada. She received her PhD from the University of Utah in 1989, where she worked on the faulting and timing of extension in eastern Nevada and its relationship to volcanism. In 1989, she came to UMD to teach sedimentology, structural geology, and field methods as a one-year replacement. She left the Midwest to join the geoscience faculty at UNLV where she has been since 1991. From 2004 to 2007 she served as chair of the Department of Geoscience, and since 2007 she has served UNLV as Interim Dean of the College of Sciences.

Wanda is recognized as one of the leading authorities on the tectonic history of the Great Basin of western US. She, along with her students and colleagues, has made many contributions to our understanding of the geologic history of this region, from 250 million years ago up to the present time. Her research focuses on rocks that exhibit ductile deformation as well as brittle deformation: including both studies of very small-scale structural features as well as large-scale structural features that show the behavior of rock over vast regions. This has involved unraveling histories of folding, faulting, volcanism, and intrusion of igneous bodies. She has worked with geochemists and volcanologists in the careful reconstruction of the timing of geologic events. While some of this work has been on compressional deformation of older rocks in the Great Basin, much of what Wanda has been involved in has concentrated on extensional tectonics. It is in this latter realm that the contributions of Wanda, her students and co-workers, have gone well beyond simply understanding the geologic history of the Great Basin; rather, it has allowed them to extend our understanding of the processes involved when other areas of the earth undergo stretching (i.e. extensional tectonics).


October 1--3:30 pm - Seminar - "Cenozoic extension in eastern Nevada" Life Science 175

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