Qian Wins International Technology Competition

Qian Wins International Technology Competition

DALLAS, Texas -- Simmons University senior crew member Peizhu Pam Qian (Beijing, China/Developing Virtue Secondary Girls School (Calif.)) was part of a four-person group chosen from universities throughout the world, that won the top prize in the Computing4Change competition hosted by the Association for Computing Machinery's Special Interest Group on High Performance Computing at The International Conference for High Performance Computing, Networking, Storage and Analysis (SC18) at the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center in Dallas, Texas in mid-November.

This competition was about using technology to make social changes and it was open to any undergraduate students regardless of their majors. Students were able to apply for the competition in March by composing an essay about the most pressing social issues in the world and how data analytics and data visualization can be utilized to improve social wellbeing.

"I wrote about education because I am always passionate about educational technology," explained Qian, who is a Mathematics and Computer Science major at Simmons.

Qian was one of just 16 students selected in June out of 250-plus applicants. 

Between June and October, the competition committee organized six webinars about data analytics, public speaking, teamwork, etc. The teams had about two days to work on their data with the charge to deliver a presentation by the end.
 
"It was stressful and I had almost no sleep but it was rewarding," said Qian. "My group consisted of four people and we all came from different parts of the world. We focused on how some forms of violence are more socially accepted in different cultures and technological intervention to violence. In details, we talked about domestic violence in Hawaii, self-inflicted in Guam, and mass shooting in the US. For my individual part, I provided three technological interventions: implementing GPS receivers in guns so we can disable any firearm detected in school zooms; implementing biometrics in guns to prevent stolen guns shooting and underage shooting; and AI therapists."
 
Qian was joined by Nilo Jayr Rivera Espinoza from University of Guam, Claire Fiorino from San Diego State University and Hoano Rosario from Chaminade University of Honolulu.
 
Not to be outdone, Qian flew from Dallas to New Orleans, La. for a conference, where she was named the runner-up for the Castellan Award for the best student presentation with special recognition at the 48th Annual Meeting of The Society for Computers in Psychology. The Society had never bestowed a runner-up award prior to this conference. In Qian's paper, entitled "Life in the Semantic Space: Structures of the Language Network", she used her research to construct a language network using natural language processing techniques and utilized this language network to simulate human social behavior as well as other real networks. 
 
On the same day, Qian conducted presentations at the Psychonomic Society's 59th Annual Meeting in New Orleans in the morning and afternoon, entitled "How long does it take to meet everyone on Earth? — A natural-language simulation of the small world".
 
Qian has been a member of the Simmons crew team for the past three seasons and will graduate a year ahead of schedule this May.