Rice CS PhD students win Ken Kennedy Institute graduate fellowships

Zhiwei Zhang awarded Andrew Ladd Fellowship and ZhaoZhuo Xu wins BP Fellowship

Rice CS PhD students win Ken Kennedy Institute graduate fellowships

The Ken Kennedy Institute’s (KKI) annual graduate fellowship program has awarded $65,000 to nine Rice graduate students, including computer science doctoral students Zhiwei Zhang and ZhaoZhuo Xu. 

Xu received KKI's BP Fellowship for $7,500. He works with CS Associate Professor Anshumali Shrivastava, and his research focuses on similarity search and large scale machine learning.

Zhang received $5000 with the The Andrew Ladd Memorial Excellence in Computer Science Fellowship. He works with University Professor Moshe Vardi and is co-advised by Noah Harding Assistant Professor Anastasios Kyrillidis. His research interests include SAT/MaxSAT solving, bridging discrete and continuous optimization as well as logic in AI.

Zhang's fellowship was made possible by the Andrew Ladd Memorial Excellence Fund in Computer Science. In honor of the late Dr. Andrew Ladd, this fund was established by his parents Mr. and Mrs. Stuart Ladd, his sister Ms. Kelly Ladd, and his widow Dr. Fumiko Chino. Ladd excelled in his studies at Rice University and received his M.S. and Ph.D. degree in Computer Science in 2003 and 2006, respectively.

Recipients use fellowship awards to further research pursuits, attend conferences, travel, and develop networking relationships in industry. Past recipients have spent summers as research interns with sponsoring companies.

An important aspect of the fellowships is presenting research at Ken Kennedy Institute’s annual Energy High Performance Computing Conference, a gathering of more than 500 leaders and experts in high performance computing, computational science and engineering, machine learning, and data science.

With the support of industry, the conference, and nominating departments (for recruiting fellowships), the Ken Kennedy Institute has awarded nearly $1.5 million to 172 students since 2001. The 2021-22 graduate fellowships are supported by BP, Schlumberger, Shell, the Energy High Performance Computing Conference, and the Andrew Ladd and Ken Kennedy-Cray endowments.

Other 2021-22 fellowship recipients include:


Read more about the Andrew Ladd Fellowship and Ladd's work.