Google’s exploreCSR Award 2023/2024

Google’s exploreCSR Award supports universities hosting Computer Science Research (CSR) workshops to increase the number of students pursuing computer science graduate studies and research careers. In this regard, the Department of Computer Science at the University of Jaffna and the Faculty of Engineering and IT at the University of Melbourne are proud to partner with Google Research to offer exploreCSR for a rich research experience for undergraduate students in computing.  

Objectives

  • To Build Confidence: Self-efficacy to understand, contribute, and succeed in computing research
  • To Engage with Community: Sense of belonging among peers, mentors, and faculty in computing research
  • To Develop Skills: Actionable knowledge to conduct, publish, present, and pursue computing research professionally
  • To Inspire Motivation: Intention to pursue graduate school and research careers in computing

Writers of the Proposal and Recipients of the Research Grant

Prof. A. Ramanan (Department of Computer Science, University of Jaffna) and Prof. Saman Halgamuge (University of Melbourne), along with Ms. Rashindrie Divanka Perera (University of Melbourne) and Dr. Tamasha Malepathirana (University of Melbourne), collaborated to develop the above mentioned competitive research grant proposal and were successful in securing an amount of USD 24,000. The secured grant will be available from November 2023 to July 2024.

Prof. A. Ramanan

University of Jaffna

Prof. Saman Halgamuge

University of Melbourne

Ms. Rashindrie Perera

University of Melbourne

Dr. (Ms.) Tamasha Malepathirana

University of Melbourne

Proposed Activities
The grant will fund various activities, including TechTalks, research showcase workshops, practical training sessions, and a summer school in computational intelligence. These initiatives aim to help students gain insight into the research process, access mentorship opportunities from accomplished researchers at Google, prestigious academic institutions, and leading software companies, and discover opportunities for postgraduate studies. A portion of the funds is also designated for enabling students to utilise additional GPUs on Google Colab for conducting research works. Furthermore, one or possibly two exceptional students, selected based on their ongoing research achievements at the DCS, can embark on a research laboratory visit to the University of Melbourne in Australia. The exploreCSR award will offer essential financial support to organize the planned workshops, tech talks, and mentoring sessions, primarily targeting senior undergraduates in computer science. It may also extend participation to students in the same field from other state universities across the country.

Session 1: Research Methods in Computer Science: Theory and Ethics

The inaugural research session under the Google’s exploreCSR on “Research Methods in Computer Science: Theory and Ethics” held at the auditorium of the Department of Computer Science (DCS) on November 25, 2023, employing a hybrid format from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Distinguished speakers contributed to the success of the research session, covering crucial aspects of research methodology. The session was well attended by the final-year students from the DCS, as well as students from other universities, including University of Peradeniya’s Computer Engineering, University of Ruhuna’s Computer Science, Eastern University of Sri Lanka’s Computing, and Vavuniya University’s Computer Science & ICT. A total of 111 participants, including academic staff from DCS, engaged in the session. The speakers expressed their commitment to making the session remarkable by covering essential topics in preparing a research proposal and involving resource persons from various HEIs locally and internationally. They commended the opportunity given to final-year students from other state universities. All speakers and participants were honoured with certificates from Google Research.

The second research session under the Google exploreCSR award was on “AI Horizons: Exploring Real-world AI Applications” held at the auditorium of the DCS on January 25, 2024, employing a hybrid format from 9.00 a.m. to 2.00 p.m. Distinguished speakers including the  Co-Principal Investigators of the above Google’s exploreCSR award contributed to the success of the research session, covering crucial aspects of AI and its applications. Ms. Rashindrie Perera and Dr. Tamasha Malepathirana delivered their speeches in person, while the rest presented remotely. The session saw a strong turnout from third and fourth-year students of the DCS, with a total of 82 participants, including academic staff. The speakers were recognised with tokens of appreciation and participants were honoured with certificates from Google Research.

The third research session under the Google exploreCSR award was on “Current Trends in Cybersecurity, Machine Learning, Big Data Analytics, and Natural Language Processing ” held at the auditorium of the DCS on February 06, 2024, from 1.00 p.m. to 3.00 p.m. and on February 07, 2024 from 3.00 p.m. to 4.00 p.m. at the main laboratory of the DCS. Distinguished speakers from the School of Computer Science and Engineering, Vellore Institute of Technology (VIT), Chennai, India contributed to the success of the research session, covering the latest trends in computer science. The event was well-attended by third and fourth-year students of the DCS, totaling 65 participants, which also included a student from the University of Ruhuna and academic staff from the DCS. Tokens of appreciation were presented to the speakers in recognition of their contribution.