PhD Computer Science Student Profile: Xizhi Tan, Google Intern & Meta Fellowship Finalist

Photo of Xizhi TanIn a world of competitive coders and software languages, Xizhi Tan, a doctoral student in Drexel’s College of Computing and Informatics (CCI) PhD in Computer Science program, favors the simplicity of a pen or pencil over code. 

Tan — a fourth-year PhD student and a member of Drexel Economics and Computation (EconCS) research group — spent this past summer at Google as part of a 13-week long hybrid summer internship based at their Mountain View, California headquarters (also known as the Googleplex). Her internship allows her to work closely with Google’s Geo department which controls Google Maps. “I work on recommending routing to different people,” Tan said, “and we do back-end preprocessing of the maps, so it is fast.”

For the recommendation process, Tan does not write any code: “I just use pen and pencil and write equations.” Tan says she’s excited about working with the other interns and full-time researchers and learning more about their research.

Tan’s successful summer did not end there; she was also a finalist for the highly competitive Meta Research PhD fellowship, which recognizes PhD candidates conducting research on the cusp of emerging topics across computer science, engineering and behavioral science. More than 3,000 applications from over 100 universities worldwide were received, with only 21 fellows selected from 12 universities. Tan was selected as a finalist in the “Economics and Computation” track due to her research knowledge in game theory and learning augmented mechanism design, as well as math, economics, and algorithms.

Tan received her bachelor's degree in mathematics from Drexel University. During their undergraduate years, she worked as assistant product manager in Comcast and Digital Quality Operations Analyst in JPMorgan Chase & Co. Working with CCI faculty advisor Vasilis Gkatzelis, PhD, her research interests center around the intersection of economics and computer science, particularly in algorithmic game theory, mechanism design and fair division.

Preparing Tomorrow's Leaders: CCI's PhD in Computer Science Program

Drexel CCI's PhD in Computer Science program designed for students to ensure core knowledge of the fundamental computer science areas and to conduct bleeding edge research at the forefront of a selected area, such as: artificial intelligence, computer graphics, computer science education, computer vision, human-computer interaction, information assurance and security, networks, scientific computing, and software engineering. The PhD in Computer Science is designed to prepare students for leadership careers in research and education in computer science and interdisciplinary work using computer science.

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