Doctoral students Rodrigo Ulloa and Sarath Sreedharan have been honored among the 2022 Dean’s Dissertation Award winners in the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering. The award recognizes the contributions of Fulton Schools doctoral students in their dissertation work and highlights original and innovative outcomes.

Selected from a highly competitive group of nominees, the Dean’s Dissertation Award is presented to up to five percent of the number of the prior year’s doctoral graduates in the Fulton Schools. The best submission from each program may be recognized with a Certificate of Recognition.

Ulloa was advised by Rene Villalobos, an associate professor of industrial engineering, for his dissertation titled “Development of Tools for Planning and Coordinating the Production of Small Farmers as a Response to Market Opportunities.” His work centered around agriculture, developing a set of tools that allow small growers to coordinate their growing activities and act as a coalition. Ulloa hypothesized that the growers would be more successful in distributing their produce as a coalition to allow them to reach the critical mass required to participate in better market opportunities.

Sreedharan was advised by Subbarao Kambhampati, a professor of computer science and engineering, on his dissertation titled “Foundations of Human-Aware Explanations for Sequential Decision-Making Problems.” For his work, Sreedharan focused on the problem of generating explanations for decisions made by AI systems, providing explanations in complex sequential decision-making settings, where each decision made by the system could influence future decisions and be influenced by previous ones. He developed a generalized framework for understanding explanatory dialogue between humans and AI systems.