Kia Wins NSF CAREER Award

March 2, 2017 - The Samueli School’s Solmaz Kia has won a five-year, $500,000 National Science Foundation CAREER award. Kia, mechanical and aerospace engineering assistant professor, researches networked control systems and cooperative robotics. She received the NSF funding for her project, “Control theoretic approaches for dynamic and privacy-preserving distributed optimization algorithms.”

This work seeks to design, develop and analyze efficient, distributed, optimization algorithms, which can improve networked decision-making in many cyberphysical applications, including smart grids, sensor networks and smart transportation. The project will expand knowledge about these algorithms in three categories: design technique, efficient communication and transparent privacy preservation. Kia also will develop a multitiered education, mentoring and outreach plan to train the next generation of networked-systems professionals.

Kia says her research is unique in its attempt to use ideas from control theory to tackle problems such as optimization, privacy preservation, asynchronous communications and distributed estimation in networked systems. Her work highlights deep-rooted connections and similarities between concepts in control theory and problems in computer science, and introduces an alternative set of tools to tackle these problems over physical systems networks.

A member of the UC Irvine faculty since 2014, Kia received her doctorate in mechanical and aerospace engineering at UCI in 2009 after earning bachelor’s and master’s degrees at Sharif University of Technology in Iran. She was a UC Presidential Postdoctoral Fellow and won a UCI Graduate Dean’s Dissertation Fellowship as well. She is also the recipient of the Samueli Faculty Career Development Professorship Award.

“I am very honored to receive an NSF CAREER Award,” Kia said. “I have an excellent team of grad students, and I am glad that I can use this award to support my group and focus on realizing my ideas with them.” 

The Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) award is one of the NSF’s most prestigious, supporting early career-development for faculty with the potential to serve as academic role models in research and education and who could lead advances in their organization’s mission.

- Anna Lynn Spitzer




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