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Iris Cong, a junior-year computer science student in HSSEAS, was recently named a 2016 Goldwater Scholar by the Barry Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Foundation (Goldwater was a former five-term U. S. Senator from Arizona). This award is presented to undergraduates who have demonstrated outstandng potential and who plan to pursue research careers in mathematics, the natural sciences, or engineering.

Iris’s research interests include quantum computing and quantum machine-learning algorithms. While serving a summer internship at the Institute for Interdisciplinary Information Sciences at Tsinghua University in Beijing, she developed an algorithm to exponentially speed up the performance of some machine applications, such as feature extraction and classification, on quantum computing.

Her research was performed under the guidance of Andrew Chi-Chih Yao, winner of the 2000 A. M. Turing Award for excellence in computer science, and Luming Duan, the Enrico Fermi professor of physics at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.

This year, Iris also received the 2016 UCLA Engineering Boeing Scholarship in Computer Science. She currently serves as a high school instructor for UCLA’s weekly math circle.