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June 19, 2017

Fellowship supports undergraduate student’s machine learning research

Written By: Adam Malecek

Interdisciplinary student Aidan Combs has won a Hilldale Undergraduate Research Fellowship from UW-Madison.

The fellowship supports undergraduate research done in collaboration with UW–Madison faculty or research/instructional academic staff. Combs, a fourth-year student majoring in nuclear engineering and engineering physics and mathematics, is working with Dane Morgan, Harvey D. Spangler Professor in materials science and engineering (MS&E), and MS&E Professor and Chair Paul Voyles, to develop machine-learning methods to accelerate scanning tunneling electron microscopy (STEM) simulations of nanoparticles. This will improve researchers’ ability to determine a nanoparticle’s structure, down to where each individual atom is placed. Having this information will make it easier for engineers to develop new technologies that use nanoparticles. The research has potential applications in medicine, electronics, sensing, solar energy, and other fields.

Combs is a member of Morgan’s Informatics Skunkworks group, which teaches undergraduate engineering students how to use machine learning tools to extract information from vast pools of data.