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2023 new faculty cohort collage
August 21, 2023

The Department of Computer Science is excited to announce the addition of several new faculty members in 2023 and 2024. Six faculty members have already begun their work for the Fall 2023 semester, and another will join for Fall 2024.

Connor McMahon and Kevin Sun joined the department as teaching faculty members, bringing experience in undergraduate computer science education at other universities. Two tenure-track appointments, Andrew Kwong and Huaxiu Yao, are already contributing to the department’s dual focus on research and teaching, and a third, Praneeth Chakravarthula, will join them in January 2024. Finally, Richard Marks joined the School of Data Science and Society as a professor of the practice, coming to UNC after many years at Sony and Google. Given his work on augmented and virtual reality and the long tradition that the Department of Computer Science has in working on these topics, Marks will have a close connection with the department and will hold an adjunct professorship in computer science, teaching many computer science students and collaborating closely with UNC CS faculty members.

The 2024-2025 academic year will see the further addition of Tianlong Chen as a tenure-track faculty member, following a year of postdoctoral work at the Eli and Edythe L. Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard.

“Our newest faculty members bring expertise in teaching and research from multiple areas of computer science — spanning across algorithms, security, and machine learning, all the way to graphics and computational optics — that will maintain the standard of excellence here in the Department of Computer Science,” said Department Chair Samarjit Chakraborty. “I am excited to see the impact they will have as they continue to build their own careers, train the next generation of computer scientists, and forge research collaborations that solve problems in computer science and many other disciplines.”

Praneeth ChakravarthulaPraneeth Chakravarthula

Praneeth Chakravarthula will join the department as an assistant professor in the spring of 2024. Since completing a doctorate here at UNC in 2021 (and earning the IEEE VR Best Dissertation Award), he has served as a research fellow at Princeton University and a research assistant professor at UNC. His research interests lie at the intersection of optics, computer vision and graphics, machine learning and optimization, and human perception.

Tianlong ChenTianlong Chen

Tianlong Chen will join for the 2024-2025 academic year as an assistant professor. He received a doctorate from the University of Texas at Austin in 2023 and will spend the 2023-2024 academic year as a postdoctoral researcher at the Eli and Edythe L. Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard. His research focuses on building accurate, trustworthy, and efficient machine learning systems.

Andrew KwongAndrew Kwong

Andrew Kwong joined the department as an assistant professor, beginning in the 2023-2024 academic year. He recently completed a doctorate from the Computer Science and Engineering Division at the University of Michigan, and his primary research focus is in hardware security at the intersection of software, hardware, and applied cryptography.

Richard MarksRichard Marks

Richard Marks began at UNC in 2023 as a professor of the practice in the School of Data Science and Society and an adjunct professor in the Department of Computer Science. His research interests include augmented and virtual reality, machine learning, and context-aware systems. He was most recently a director and technical project lead for Google’s Advanced Technology and Projects group, and before that was at PlayStation R&D, where he founded the PlayStation Magic Lab. He received a doctorate from Stanford University in 1996.

Connor "Cece" McMahonConnor McMahon

Connor “Cece” McMahon joined the department as a teaching assistant professor at the beginning of the 2023-2024 academic year. McMahon completed a master’s degree in computer science from the University of California, Berkeley in 2022, where she taught as a lecturer prior to coming to UNC. In 2022, she received the Outstanding Graduate Student Instructor Award from UC Berkeley.

Kevin SunKevin Sun

Kevin Sun began as a teaching assistant professor in the department in 2023. He received a bachelor’s from Rutgers University and a doctorate from Duke University, where his research focused on designing online algorithms that incorporate predictions. Before joining the department, he taught computer science at Elon University for one year. He writes a newsletter called Teaching CS, which explores pedagogical ideas with a focus on computer science in higher education.

Huaxiu YaoHuaxiu Yao

Huaxiu Yao came to UNC in 2023 as an assistant professor jointly appointed between the Department of Computer Science and the School of Data Science and Society. Since receiving a doctorate from Pennsylvania State University in 2021, he has worked as a postdoctoral scholar in the IRIS Lab at Stanford University. His research focuses on both the theoretical and applied aspects of building reliable and responsible large-scale AI models, also known as foundation models, with applications in healthcare, drug discovery, genomics, transportation, and ecology.