In recognition of Professor Jonathan S. Turner's many achievements and research contributions, the Department of Computer Science & Engineering established the Turner Dissertation Award upon his retirement in 2014. Through the generous support of alumni, faculty, staff, and friends, the award will be presented annually to the author of the best doctoral dissertation. A committee selects awardees based on dissertation nominations from the previous calendar year.

2018 Award

Abigail Stylianou

Title: "Learning about Large Scale Image Search: Lessons from Global Scale Hotel Recognition to Fight Sex Trafficking"
Abstract: Hotel recognition is a sub-domain of scene recognition that involves determining what hotel is seen in a photograph taken in a hotel. The hotel recognition task is a challenging computer vision task due to the properties of hotel rooms, including low visual similarity between rooms in the same hotel and high visual similarity between rooms in different hotels, particularly those from the same chain. Building accurate approaches for hotel recognition is important to investigations of human trafficking. Images of human trafficking victims are often shared by traffickers among criminal networks and posted in online advertisements. These images are often taken in hotels. Using hotel recognition approaches to determine the hotel a victim was photographed in can assist in investigations and prosecutions of human traffickers. In this dissertation, I present an application for the ongoing capture of hotel imagery by the public, a large-scale curated dataset of hotel room imagery, deep learning approaches to hotel recognition based on this imagery, a visualization approach that provides insight into what networks trained on image similarity are learning, and an approach to image search focused on specific objects in scenes. Taken together, these contributions have resulted in a first in the world system that offers a solution to answering the question, ‘What hotel was this photograph taken in?’ at a global scale.

2017 Award

Jing Li

"Parallel Real-Time Scheduling for Latency-Critical Applications"

The 2017 Turner Dissertation Award was awarded to Jing Li for fundamental contributions in theory and practice of scheduling tasks under timing constraints. Her work addresses the design and analysis of schedulers for parallel jobs, optimizing for criteria such as response time, profit, and deadlines. Li's work also articulates the commonality and differences in adapting online schedulers for sequential jobs to parallel ones. For real-time scheduling, she has pioneered the analysis of models for representing parallel real-time recurrent workloads. The quality of Li's work has been recognized by the awarding of two outstanding paper awards.

Jonathan S. Turner Biography

Professor Turner was one of WashU's first students to earn a 3-2 dual degree in both computer science and electrical engineering in 1977, and continued his education to earn his MS and PhD in computer science from Northwestern University in 1979 and 1982. He returned to WashU in 1983 as an assistant professor, and served as Chair of the Department of Computer Science & Engineering from 1992-1997 and again from 2007-2008. He established the Advanced Networks Group and co-founded the WashU Applied Research Laboratory. The lab's research led to the development of the start-up company Growth Networks, which was acquired by Cisco System in 2000.

Professor Turner has been awarded 30 patents for his work on switching systems and has many widely-cited publications. In 2007, he was elected to membership in the National Academy of Engineering. He is a fellow of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) as well as the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE). In 1994, he was awarded the IEEE Koji Kobayashi Computers and Communications Award, and in 2000, the IEEE Millennium Medal. Washington University has awarded him two of its highest honors: the Founder's Day Distinguished Faculty Award, and the Arthur Holly Compton Faculty Achievement Award. Professor Turner has also received two Engineering Alumni Achievement Awards from the School of Engineering & Applied Science. Professor Turner retired from the full-time faculty in 2014, but continues to work on selected research projects.