Three CS students honored as outstanding undergraduate researchers by CRA

Andi Xu, Gaotang Li, and Chenhao Zheng were recognized by the CRA for their research achievements and potential.

Three undergraduate students at U-M majoring in CS have been included in the 2023-2024 Outstanding Undergraduate Researcher Awards, organized by the Computing Research Association (CRA). Andi Xu was selected as a runner-up, while Chenhao Zheng and Gaotang Li both received honorable mentions.

CRA selects only a handful of recipients for its selective undergraduate researcher awards each year, seeking to recognize students with exceptional research skills and potential as well as a demonstrated commitment to advancing the computing field. 

Out of hundreds of nominees, just four students were selected as award recipients, with an additional four students honored as runners up. Also announced were several finalists and honorable mentions for the awards.

According to the awards announcement, “CRA continues to be amazed and inspired by the talent that persists across the continent… collectively, [the nominees’] research demonstrated a commitment to theoretical advancements and real-world applications.”

Andi Xu

Andi Xu – Runner-Up

Andi Xu graduated from U-M in December 2023, majoring in computer science with minors in mathematics and Japanese. Her research at U-M focused on the development of AI-powered assistive applications for blind and visually impaired (BVI) individuals. Under the supervision of Prof. Anhong Guo, Andi designed user studies to understand the varied ways that BVI people customize technology, and used the findings to develop a design probe that allows users to understand elements of their physical environment. Andi also led the deployment studies for two mobile applications that BVI people can use to extract information from their environment. Her work has resulted in a paper at the 2023 Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI) as well as a demo at the 2023 International ACM SIGACCESS Conference on Computers and Accessibility. (ASSETS). In addition to her research, Andi served as an IA for EECS 493: User Interfaces and was a member of the Girls in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science (GEECS) student organization.

Gaotang Li

Gaotang Li – Honorable Mention

Gaotang Li is a senior majoring in CS and mathematics at U-M. He has performed research with Profs. Danai Koutra and Wei Hu on subjects related to reliable machine learning, graph neural networks, large language models, and AI for science. His work has resulted in three manuscripts, with one paper appearing at the 2023 ACM SIGKDD Conference on Knowledge Discovery and Data Mining (KDD).

Chenhao Zheng

Chenhao Zheng – Honorable Mention

Chenhao Zheng graduated with a BSE in computer science in Spring 2023, having participated in the dual degree program between U-M and Shanghai Jiao Tong University. During his time at U-M, he conducted research in the area of computer vision with Prof. Andrew Owens of the Electrical and Computer Engineering Division. His research interests include vision-language multimodality, video understanding, and human-AI interaction. His paper on cross-modal associations in EXIF metadata was selected as a highlight at the 2023 IEEE/CVF Conference on Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition (CVPR).