Mohit Bansal and Cynthia Sturton were promoted to the rank of associate professor with tenure, effective July 1, 2020. These promotions are given only to faculty members who demonstrate service to the academic community, potential for future contribution, commitment to the welfare of the university and professional competence, including commitment to effective teaching, research, and public service.
“In addition to being leaders in their research areas, Mohit and Cynthia are excellent mentors and teachers and have impacted the department for the better in different ways,” said Department Chair Kevin Jeffay. “Their promotions are well deserved, and they will continue to strengthen the department and university moving forward.”
Bansal leads the Multimodal Understanding, Reasoning, and Generation for Language (MURGe) Lab, as part of the larger UNC Natural Language Processing and Machine Learning (UNC-NLP) Group. His research merges natural language processing with computer vision and robotics, with a focus on processing across several modalities, generating human-like language and dialogue, and creating deep learning models that are robust, interpretable, and generalizable.
Bansal joined the Department of Computer Science in 2016 and also holds a John R. and Louise S. Parker distinguished professorship conferred by the university. He has received prestigious research awards from both government and industry organizations, including the U.S. Army Research Office’s Young Investigator Award, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency’s Young Faculty Award and Director’s Fellowship, and the National Science Foundation’s CAREER Award, plus the Google Focused Award and Microsoft Investigator Fellowship. His publications have garnered several outstanding paper and best paper honorable mention/nomination awards. He served as the program co-chair for the SIGNLL Conference on Computational Natural Language Learning, and as senior area chair/associate editor for primary NLP conferences and journals.
Sturton leads the Hardware Security @ UNC research group investigating the question of how to validate the security of hardware designs. Her research brings together formal verification, computer security, and computer architecture to develop methods and tools to find, analyze, and correct exploitable vulnerabilities in the chips we use everyday.
Sturton joined the Department of Computer Science in 2013 and holds a Peter Thacher Grauer Fellowship at UNC-Chapel Hill. Her research is funded by both government and industry awards, including a Frontier award from the National Science Foundation and a Google Faculty Research Award. Additional funding has come from the Semiconductor Research Corporation, Intel, and a Junior Faculty Development Award from UNC-Chapel Hill. Sturton’s work has been nominated for Best Paper and Top Pick awards in leading architectural conferences, and she has twice served as area program chair for DAC, the leading venue for hardware design automation. In 2018 she was awarded the Department of Computer Science’s Award for Excellence in Teaching.