Aragon Wins Presidential Early Career Award

LOS ALAMITOS, Calif., 24 July – Cecilia Aragon, staff scientist in the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory’s Computational Research Division and chair of the IEEE Computer Society’s Computer Entrepreneur and Computer Pioneer Awards Committee, was honored with the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers.

The award recognized Aragon’s groundbreaking research in workflow management and visual analytics for data-intensive scientific research, including the development of the Fourier contour analysis algorithm and Sunfall, a collaborative visual analytics system developed for the Nearby Supernova Factory, an international astrophysics experiment and the largest data volume supernova search currently in operation.

Aragon was also praised for her dedication to community service. Over the years, she has led multiple efforts to advance diversity in computing both within the Berkeley Lab and in the broader community. She is a founding member of Latinas in Computing. She is a board member of the Computing Research Association’s Committee on the Status of Women in Computing Research, a member of Berkeley Lab’s Computing Sciences Diversity Working Group, and Women in Science Council. In her spare time, Aragon also volunteers to teach and mentor young mathematics, science and engineering students from eighth grade through graduate levels.

Established in 1996, the award honors the most promising researchers in the nation within their fields. Nine federal departments and agencies, including the DOE, annually nominate scientists and engineers who are at the start of their independent careers and whose work shows exceptional promise for leadership at the frontiers of scientific knowledge. Participating agencies award these talented scientists and engineers with up to five years of funding to further their research in support of critical government missions.

Aragon has been a staff scientist in the Computational Research Division since 2005, after earning her PhD in computer science from UC Berkeley in 2004. She earned a bachelor of science degree in mathematics from the California Institute of Technology. Her current research focuses on scientist-computer interaction, a subfield of human-computer interaction, and she is interested in how social media and new methods of computer-mediated communication are changing scientific practice.

She has developed novel visual interfaces for collaborative exploration of very large scientific data sets, and has authored or co-authored more than 30 peer-reviewed publications and more than 100 other publications in the areas of computer-supported cooperative work, human-computer interaction, visualization, visual analytics, image processing, machine learning, and astrophysics.

Aragon is currently leading efforts to create computing systems for the Particle Data Group’s Review of Particle Physics, the most cited publication in the field, as well as Deep Sky, an astronomical database covering the majority of the northern sky in unprecedented depth. Before coming to Berkeley Lab, Aragon was a computer scientist at the NASA Ames Research Center and CEO of Top Flight Aviation, where she was an air show and test pilot and aerobatic champion.

About the IEEE Computer Society

With nearly 85,000 members, the IEEE Computer Society is the world’s leading organization of computing professionals. Founded in 1946, and the largest of the 39 societies of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), the Computer Society is dedicated to advancing the theory and application of computer and information-processing technology. The Society serves the information and career-development needs of today’s computing researchers and practitioners with technical journals, magazines, conferences, books, conference publications, certifications, and online courses.

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