CSE Launches Unique Postdoctoral Fellowship Program

Jan 21, 2021
New CSE Fellows (l to r): (First Row) Samira Mirbagher Ajorpaz, Daniel Moghimi, (Second Row) Grant Ho, Jane E

By Josh Baxt

To help give newly minted Ph.D.s more opportunities during the coronavirus-fueled economic downturn, the UC San Diego Computer Science and Engineering (CSE) department has established the CSE Fellows program.

“We wanted to create a bridge for graduating Ph.D. students while the research job market was heavily impacted by the pandemic,” said CSE Professor Stefan Savage, who helped launch the program. “It’s also a great opportunity to bring in highly talented researchers to work with our students and faculty.”

Based on the Computer Research Association’s CI Fellows, the program will recruit between two and three postdocs a year for two years, with each fellow serving a two-year term. They will conduct cutting-edge research, expanding CSE’s world-class portfolio.

“We’re one of the few campuses funding these special postdoc positions,” said CSE Department Chair Sorin Lerner. “It’s a great way to increase the intellectual diversity at CSE, support great research and help gifted Ph.D.s during a crisis. We have a stellar first cohort of postdocs, and we are excited to see how they will change the world.”

2020 CSE Fellows

Samira Mirbagher Ajorpaz

Faculty Mentor: Dean Tullsen
Ph.D., Texas A&M

Mirbagher Ajorpaz studies computer architecture, machine learning and computer system security. She works on designing prediction units into processors to increase efficiency; exploring machine learning technologies to fit into microprocessors’ small scale and tight timing margins; and developing more secure processor designs. In winter 2021, Ajorpaz is teaching CSE 240C, Advanced Microarchitecture.


Jane E

Faculty Mentor: Scott Klemmer
Ph.D., Stanford University

Jane E studies the intersection between human-computer interaction, computer graphics and photography. Creative endeavors can be intimidating and sometimes it’s hard to get expert advice. The solution may be building coaching directly into the creative tool. These embedded insights could help photographers understand lighting, composition, etc. During her thesis work, she focused on designing camera guidance tools that could help novice photographers assess their artistic choices. Now, she wants to extend this coaching to other creative areas.


Grant Ho

Faculty Mentors: Geoff Voelker and Stefan Savage
Ph.D. candidate, UC Berkeley

Grant Ho studies computer security with a special focus on the intersection between data and security. He develops algorithms, systems and empirical insights to help organizations thwart sophisticated attacks. At CSE, he will study new defenses against targeted enterprise attacks, which have generated billions in losses, developing approaches that identify and mitigate attacks to make organizations more resilient and secure.


Daniel Moghimi

Faculty Mentors: Deian Stefan and Nadia Heninger
Ph.D.: Worcester Polytechnic Institute

Daniel Moghimi studies computer security, focusing on side-channel cryptanalysis, microarchitectural security and hardware-based trusted computing. At CSE, he will leverage algorithmic approaches and compiler-based techniques to build automated analysis tools and architectural security primitives, automatically testing the security of trusted applications and defining new execution models to support data privacy.