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Microsoft Cortana Co-Founder Gifts Fellowship to Machine Learning Student

Atlanta, GA

When Larry Heck was an engineering Ph.D. student at Georgia Tech, he was often the recipient of grants and fellowships but never understood why someone would give that kind of gift.

Now, as the senior vice president of artificial intelligence research at Samsung, Heck has come full circle and is honored to have the opportunity to give back to the place that helped get him to where he is today.

Georgia Tech Ph.D. student Coleman DeLude was recently awarded the 2018-2019 Dr. Larry P. Heck and Gaye Nell Heck Fellowship for Ph.D. Students in the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering. The fellowship was created to reward promising machine learning Ph.D. students whose home school is Georgia Tech's School of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Heck’s alma mater.

DeLude arrived on Georgia Tech’s campus in Fall 2018 where he is currently working in the lab of Schlumberger Professor Justin Romberg, the Machine Learning Center’s associate director. His research interests lie in machine learning applications in communication and radar. He is particularly interested in compressed sensing.

After graduation, DeLude hopes to do post-doc research at a national lab. His end goal is to work in research and development in the private sector where he hopes to progress through the ranks to one day have his own research group.

“I am very thankful to have been chosen for this award. As I am relatively new to Georgia Tech, it is exciting to see the support that the machine learning program receives. This award has helped ease  financial concerns I had about graduate school, and has allowed me to concentrate more on my classes and getting acclimated to Georgia Tech,” said DeLude of the award.

An ad hoc committee selects fellowship recipients based on undergraduate academic records and industry experience.

“I wanted to give back to Georgia Tech because of the strong community that I found during my time as a student and afterward as an alum. By giving back, I feel like I’m giving back to my family. Machine learning is a foundational area, and I want Georgia Tech to be a leader in that area because I think that will complement the many strengths that Georgia Tech already has,” said Heck.

Heck is best known for his work as co-founder of Microsoft’s personal assistant, Cortana, and his early work in deep learning concerning speech processing. Heck also holds over 50 United States patents and has had more than 150 of his papers published.

Last revised May 15, 2020