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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    UA honors student wins prestigious scholarship

    Grace Pierson
    Grace Pierson/ The Daily Wildcat Daniel Fried, an Honors College senior triple majoring in mathematics, computer science, and information science and technology, will be studying in Cambridge in October as a recepient of the Winston Churchill Award.

    The Winston Churchill Foundation of the United States selected Daniel Fried, a UA Honors College student, as one of at least 14 Churchill Scholars for the next school year. The scholarship provides between $45,000-$50,000 for one year of graduate studies at the University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom.

    Fried, who is triple-majoring in mathematics, computer science and information science and technology, is the second student from the UA to receive the award. After his undergraduate education is complete, Fried will be pursuing a master of philosophy in computer science.

    “Cambridge has a fantastic computer science program. They have a number of professors who are doing work in computational semantics — learning meaning from text — so it’s a really good fit,” Fried said.

    Fried’s academic interests include natural language processing and machine learning. Machine learning is applying statistical methods to try to find patterns and make predictions from data; natural language processing focuses on developing better methods for using machine learning to process text or speech, Fried explained.

    “The Internet consists of a lot of plain text, things that people have written. There’s a lot of information, and it’s difficult for us to process. My main focus is coming up with ways to extract representation of meanings from text,” Fried said.

    After he finishes his research at the University of Cambridge, Fried said that he plans on pursuing a Ph.D. in computer science and a career in research.

    “Dan is a very innovative researcher who is very accomplished but also very down to earth. He’s made the most of his opportunities to do research here at the UA. He will be set up really well for his experience at Cambridge,” said Karna Walter, assistant dean for student engagement in the Honors College.

    In addition to receiving the Churchill Scholarship, Fried also received the Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship in 2013. The scholarship is awarded to high-achieving college students that intend to pursue careers in science, mathematics or engineering. It is awarded to approximately 300 undergraduates each year throughout the U.S. by the Board of Trustees of The Barry Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Foundation.

    During his time at the UA, Fried has worked with UA professors Paul Cohen, Stephen Kobourov and Kobus Barnard, in addition to doing research abroad in Japan and Germany.
    Within the past couple of years, Fried has worked on several research projects, the results of which were all published, Kobourov said.

    “This is hard to do, even for experienced professors,” Korbourov said. “In the age of grade inflation and easy superlatives, Daniel is truly outstanding.”
    However, research is not Fried’s only focus as a student. He has participated in Model United Nations conferences at the UA and is also a student ambassador for the College of Science.

    “There are so many great opportunities here at the UA. They go beyond just taking classes. If you have an interest in research, talk to your professors. They’re always looking for good students to get involved,” Fried said.

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