Laleh Boroujerdi-Rad

1. What is your specific area of research (include the name of your faculty and/or laboratory)?

My research is at the intersection of distributed computing and ubiquitous computing. We are trying to bring the ideas and advances that have been made in distributed systems, especially in the areas of scalability and reliability, to ubiquitous computing spaces. The project is part of the VizClass project, which is one of the projects in the VizGroup under Falko Kuester and Tara Hutchinson.

2. When and how did you first get involved in research?

I was interested in research from the start; one of the reasons I came to UCI was its reputation as a research university. During my freshman year, I started looking around for a research job for the summer. I toured a few labs on campus and talked to a number of different professors; when Professor Kuester showed me VizClass and described the project, I was immediately fascinated.

3. How has research enhanced your education?

First of all, there are all the advantages that are easy to quantify, like gaining experience, transferring classroom knowledge into application, graduating with honors, and so on. The far greater advantage is the exposure to the scientific community, both globally and at UCI. The personal contacts with professors and graduate students are extremely valuable, not only because they can help in getting positions in industry or academia, or make you aware of other opportunities, but also because they plunge you into an environment in which values like determination, competence and creativity are much more favored and supported than they are in any other component of an undergraduate education.

4. What has been your favorite experience with research (include any interesting stories or specific events)?

There are many highlights of the last two-and-a-half years of research in the VizGroup-having the chance to go to international conferences to present the project and getting the first research paper published. One of my personal highlights was when I spent an entire night porting the ancient game of Pong to our distributed environment, and drove home at 7:00 a.m. after having played the game, my game, on a screen that was more than one meter high and almost five meters wide, using the system I had developed in the weeks and months before.

5. What are your future plans and how has being involved in research helped to prepare you to meet your goals?

I am in the process of applying to various graduate schools, most of them very prestigious. I am hoping that the experience I gained in the VisGroup will not only give me the credentials to get accepted into these schools, but also give me a running start into my career as a graduate student.

6. What advice would you give to a student interested in pursuing a faculty-mentored undergraduate research project or creative activity?

Don't stop at being interested! There are many exciting projects on campus, and almost all professors I talked to were very receptive. Don't let shyness get in the way. Find a fun project, and get yourself involved.

Past Researchers of the Month
Dec. '05 Erin Curtis
Nov. '05 Elizabeth Black
Oct. '05 Chao Li
Sept. '05 Neil Saigal
Aug. '05 Evan Brown
Jul. '05 Dirk Groeneveld
Jun. '05 Alpay Dermenci
May '05 Eva Maria Rodriguez
Apr. '05 Christine Nyholm
Mar. '05 Erin Conn
Feb. '05 Nhu Vuong
Jan. '05 Jennifer Channual
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