The Malcolm Chaikin Prize for Research Excellence in Engineering

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Muhammad Aamir Cheema, a research fellow at School of Computer Science and Engineering, has received The 2012 Malcolm Chaikin Prize for Research Excellence in Engineering. This prestigious prize carries with it a Medal and $10,000 and is given each year to the doctoral student in the Faculty of Engineering who is judged to have produced the best PhD thesis, in the broadest sense, within the calendar year.

The purpose of the Award reflects the commitment of the University and the Malcolm Chaikin Foundation to encourage, reward and celebrate outstanding achievement in research by doctoral students in any area of research within the Faculty of Engineering.

Aamir obtained his PhD from School of Computer Science and Engineering under the primary supervision of Prof. Xuemin Lin and the joint supervision of Dr. Wei Wang. Aamir's research focuses on efficiently processing location-based queries and has significant impact on various domains such as in Location-Based Services (LBS), Geographic Information Systems (GIS), Computer Aided Design (CAD), Surveying, Very-Large-Scale Integration (VLSI), Mutli-media Information Systems, and medicine and biological research etc. His PhD thesis proposes state-of-the-art techniques for several important location-based queries such as reverse k nearest neighbor queries, range queries and k-closest pairs queries that have many interesting applications such as finding the nearest facilities (e.g., ATMs, restaurants), navigation and location-based SMS advertisement etc.

During his PhD, Aamir published 17 research papers 12 of which appeared in top-tier conferences and journals. His PhD thesis titled "Efficiently Processing Proximity Based Spatial Queries" is a collection of eight of his best publications including four top-tier conference papers and four top-tier journal papers. His publications won him several awards including two best paper nominations in ICDE 2010 and ICDE 2012, the best poster award in ICDE 2011, the best paper award in ADC 2010, and two CiSRA best research paper awards in 2009 and 2010, consecutively.

Aamir's PhD thesis was highly appreciated by the examiners. One of the examiners stated "This is the best thesis I ever reviewed, in terms of research quality". Another examiner recommended the thesis for best thesis award by stating "Based on the candidate's research achievement, I strongly recommend the candidate for thesis award in your university if any".