Announcing recipientS of the 2024 Mark O. Robbins PrizE

Advanced Research Computing at Hopkins (ARCH) is delighted to announce the 2024 Mark O. Robbins Prize recipients in high-performance computing.

We congratulate Kuan-Hao Chao, Yifan Du, Noga Mudrik, Dr. Maitreyee Sharma Priyadarshini, and Dr. Benjamin Fernando for being this year’s PhD and Future Faculty award recipients.

PhD Award recipients

Headshot of Kuan-Hao Chao

Kuan-Hao Chao

Kuan Hao-Chao is pursuing a PhD in Computer Science and is advised by Steven Salzberg and Mihaela Pertea.

“My research intersects deep learning with genomics and transcriptomics, focusing on building language models to decode DNA patterns in understanding splice sites, gene expression, and transcriptional regulatory networks. My research also extends to the broader field of genomics, including genome assembly, genome annotation, and pangenome indexing. I am an advocate for open-source software, and I adhere to the philosophy of “build what you need, use what you build”. Learn more about me at”

– Kuan-Hao Chao

Yifan Du

Yifan Du is pursuing a PhD in Mechanical Engineering and is advised by Tamer Zaki.

Yifan’s research focuses on the study of fluid turbulence through both theoretical and numerical approaches. He developed Evolutional Deep Neural Networks (EDNN), a novel AI-based computational method for solving nonlinear partial differential equations (PDEs). His work delves into the origin of turbulence by solving the forward and dual governing equations of fluid flows using high-performance computing.

Noga Mudrik

Noga Mudrik is pursuing a PhD in Biomedical Engineering and is advised by Adam Charles.

Mudrik is working on the development of advanced computational and mathematical tools for analyzing multi-way neural data. Her work extensively employs high-performance computing to handle complex high-dimensional neural data. She focuses on revealing hidden neural interactions through the application of dynamical systems and graph-driven techniques.

Future faculty award recipientS

Dr. Maitreyee Sharma Priyadarshini

Sharma holds a PhD in Aerospace Engineering and is advised by Paulette Clancy.

“Today we face several global challenges such as climate change, food and water scarcity, and global health pandemics. A major bottleneck to enabling next-generation technologies is the lack of efficient discovery tools for advanced functional materials that are synthesizable and practically usable. This inefficiency often results from the overwhelmingly large space of candidate materials and their processing conditions, which are sparsely observed. Conventional trial-and-error-based search approaches are frequently biased by our chemical intuition and tend to identify new materials similar to those already known to perform well, potentially leading to the discovery of suboptimal materials. As a result, my research focuses on developing computational materials discovery and multi-scale material modeling techniques to accelerate “out-of-the-box” discovery and innovation. I am currently focused on the design of metal halide perovskites, which is a promising class to materials for solar cell applications. The performance of materials is highly sensitive to the composition and processing conditions that the material undergoes. My work is aimed at finding the optimal compositions and processing conditions to achieve high-performing and long-lasting solar cell devices”.

– Dr. Maitreyee Sharma Priyadarshini

Dr. Benjamin Fernando

Fernando holds a PhD in Enviromental Science and is advised by Kevin Lewis. 

Dr. Fernando works on simulating the propagation of seismic waves (from earthquakes), but on other planets. Studying the seismology of other worlds can help us understand how they evolved and what processes are active within them today. Being able to run simulations on high-performance computing facilities is an integral part of this, and helps us to understand the data we record. 

As we celebrate the accomplishments of the Robbins Prize recipients, we want to thank all the talented research nominees as well as their advisors. We also want to show our appreciation towards the faculty judges for their hard work in the award selection process. 

Finally, please join us in extending a congratulations to this year’s recipients for their past contributions to the High Performance Computing community. We wish them great success in all their research and professional endeavors.

About the Robbins Prize:  Mark O. Robbins received BA and MA degrees from Harvard University. He was a Churchill Fellow at Cambridge University, U.K., and received his PhD from the University of California, Berkeley. Dr. Robbins was a professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy at Johns Hopkins from 1986 until his untimely death in 2020. He was a renowned condensed matter and statistical physicist who played a key role in supporting the development of computational facilities at Johns Hopkins, through his leadership for the Maryland Advanced Research Computing Center in the Institute for Data-Intensive Engineering and Science.