CCI Doctoral Student Linge Bai Receives 2014 Jay Modi Memorial Award

In celebration of the late Drexel computer science professor, Dr. Pragnesh Jay Modi, the College of Computing & Informatics presented computer science doctoral candidate Linge Bai with the 2014 Jay Modi Award, as part of the 6th annual Jay Modi Memorial Lecture at Berakhis Grand Hall on Monday, March 10, 2014. The Jay Modi Award is presented annually to a graduate student in recognition of academic excellence and the potential to become a leader in the computing field.

As a doctoral student in Drexel’s Geometric Biomedical Computing Group, Linge’s research focuses on modeling and simulating self-organizing shape primitives whose behavior is inspired by cell biology. Linge's additional research interests include computational modeling, data analysis and machine learning. She holds an M.S. in computer science and a B.Eng. in computer science and technology.

Linge recently spent eight months at Germany's Max Plank Institute for the Physics of Complex Systems as a visiting scientist (with advisor and CCI associate professor Dr. David Breen) where she worked with physicists, mathematicians and biologists to model the development of drosophila (commonly known as the fruit fly) wings. In particular, she was involved in reconstruction and visualization of 3D drosophila wing discs at the cellular level, from 2D confocal microscopy images.

This year’s invited Jay Modi Memorial speaker, Dr. Peter Stone, presented his lecture titled “Learning and Multiagent Reasoning for Autonomous Robots,” which focused on the two essential capabilities for robust autonomous intelligent robot—namely, online learning from experience and the ability to interact with other robots and with people. Watch the complete lecture on CCI’s YouTube Channel.

Stone—an Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellow, Guggenheim Fellow, AAAI Fellow, Fulbright Scholar—is a professor in the Department of Computer Science at the University of Texas at Austin. He received his Ph.D. in computer science in 1998 from Carnegie Mellon University. From 1999 to 2002 he was a senior technical staff member in the Artificial Intelligence Principles Research Department at AT&T Labs - Research.

Stone’s research interests include machine learning, multiagent systems, robotics, and e-commerce. In 2003, he won a CAREER award from the National Science Foundation for his research on learning agents in dynamic, collaborative, and adversarial multiagent environments. In 2004, he was named an ONR Young Investigator for his research on machine learning on physical robots. In 2007, he was awarded the prestigious IJCAI 2007 Computers and Thought award, given once every two years to the top AI researcher under the age of 35.

About the Jay Modi Memorial Lecture and Award

Pragnesh Jay Modi (1975-2007) joined Drexel’s Computer Science Department as an assistant professor in 2005 upon completing his Ph.D. from the University of Southern California and a post-doctoral research position at Carnegie Mellon University. Professor Modi was an outstanding teacher and a rising star in the Artificial Intelligence (AI) community. He was selected as one of the top ten young AI researchers by the IEEE Intelligent Systems Advisory Board and received the prestigious NSF CAREER award.

His dissertation, “Distributed Constraint Optimization for Multiagent Systems,” made several fundamental contributions to the field and is widely cited in the multiagent community. In recognition of his impact, the International Foundation for Autonomous Agents and Multiagent Systems has named its outstanding student paper after him.

In the relatively short time Jay spent at Drexel, he was instrumental in building the Ph.D. program and the prestige of the department, college and Drexel University. In addition to his technical accomplishments, Jay was a valuable member of the Computer Science Department, the College of Engineering, Drexel University and his research community. He was a great friend and will be missed.

Previous Award Winners

  • 2012-13: Stephen Lombardi
  • 2011-12: Michael Brennan
  • 2010-11: Maxim Shevertalov
  • 2009-10: Louis Kratz
  • 2008: Evan Sultanik

Previous Jay Modi Lecturers

  • 2012-13: Balachander Krishnamurthy - Internet Privacy: Towards More Transparency
  • 2011-12: Robert Sedgewick - Algorithms for the Masses
  • 2010-11: Sven Koenig - Keeping Up with a Changing World
  • 2009-10: Manuela Veloso - Planning, Execution, and Learning for Autonomous Robots in Uncertain Dynamic Environments
  • 2008: Milind Tambe - Multiagent Systems: Lessons Learned From Putting Theory Into Practice

Those wishing to make a contribution to the Jay Modi Memorial Fund may do so by contacting Tuyet Sithiphavong by email at or by phone at 215-895-6385.

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