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Cathy Wu accepting her Best PhD Dissertation award at IEEE ITSS

Cathy Wu wins IEEE ITSS Best PhD Dissertation Award

November 12, 2019

Cathy Wu, Gilbert W. Winslow Career Development Assistant Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering and core faculty member of both IDSS and the Laboratory for Information and Decision Systems (LIDS), was awarded the Best PhD Dissertation Award first prize by the IEEE Intelligent Transportation Systems Society.

Wu was recognized for her dissertation titled ‘Learning and Optimization for Mixed Autonomy Systems – A Mobility Context.’ Wu developed machine learning and optimization techniques to address challenges in “the gradual and complex integration of automation and AI” into existing transportation and societal systems. Wu’s research demonstrated how deep reinforcement learning “can serve as a unifying framework for studying the behavior of disparate and complex scenarios common in mixed autonomy systems.” For this research, she developed an open source reinforcement learning platform called Flow “with the goal of easing the design and study of disparate traffic scenarios.”

Wu works at the intersection of machine learning, optimization, and large-scale urban systems and other societal systems. She is broadly interested in developing principled computational tools to enable reliable and complex decision-making for critical societal systems. She received her B.S. and M.Eng in EECS at MIT in 2012 and 2013, and a Ph.D. in EECS at UC Berkeley in 2018.

The IEEE ITS Best Dissertation Award is given annually for the best dissertation in any ITS area that is innovative and relevant to practice.


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