Featured Research Assistant for April 2017: Sasan Tavakkol

Kaela BerryBlog, Research Assistant

Sasan Tavakkol is a PhD Candidate advised by Prof. Patrick Lynett. His research topic lies at the intersection of computer science and coastal engineering. As part of his PhD, Sasan has developed a revolutionary GPU-accelerated software, called Celeris, to simulate nearshore waves. Celeris is currently employed by hundreds of coastal engineers in academia and industry for analyzing wave propagation in harbors and coastal areas. It is available on www.celeria.org. Sasan is also a research assistant at the Integrated Media System Center (IMSC), working with Prof. Cyrus Shahabi and Dr. Seon Ho Kim. At IMSC, Sasan works on acquisition and prioritization of post-disaster crowdsourced data. He has developed a framework to rank the raw data according to the expected amount of information contained in each message to maximize the information gain under limited interpretation power.

Sasan was born and raised in mountainous Azerbaijan province of Iran, and thus, he speaks Azeri Turkish and Persian other than English. He joined USC in 2013, upon receiving the Viterbi PhD Fellowship, and is expected to graduate in 2018. He received his B.Sc. in civil engineering and M.Sc. in computational hydraulics from Amirkabir University of Technology (Tehran Polytechnic), both ranking 1st among 70 and 15 students, respectively. Sasan earned a second M.Sc. in computer science from USC in 2016, and is going to join Google for a summer internship in 2017. He is also interested in entrepreneurship and is pursuing the technology commercialization graduate certificate at USC Marshall School of Business.

In his spare time, Sasan loves playing indoor soccer and cycling. He is a hobbyist game developer and occasionally tackles data science challenges on Kaggle website. Sasan enjoys mentoring undergraduate and high school students and was elected twice as the senator of the CEE department in the Viterbi Graduate Student Association (VGSA).