CSC News

March 04, 2024

Spring 2024 Carla Savage Award Winners Announced

Congratulations to Dr. Zhishan Guo, associate professor, Dr. Dongkuan (DK) Xu, assistant professor, and Parvez Rashid, PhD student, on being named the Spring 2024 winners of “The Carla Savage Awards.”  Named after the incomparable department icon Dr. Carla Savage, The Carla Savage Awards are an intra-departmental initiative to recognize outstanding achievement and special people within the department.


Dr. Zhishan Guo is a co-founder and the co-lead of the CPS Focus Group. He is also a faculty member in the Operations Research (OR) Graduate Program at NC State. He received his BE (Computer Science and Technology) with honors from Tsinghua University (China) in 2009, MPhil (Mechanical and Automation Engineering) from Chinese University of Hong Kong in 2011, and PhD (Computer Science) from UNC Chapel Hill in 2016. His research interests lie in real-time scheduling theory, machine learning theory, and their applications to Cyber-Physical Systems.


Guo's nominators spoke highly of his substantial contributions across multiple fronts, exemplifying excellence in teaching, mentoring, leadership in project execution, and pioneering research efforts. His commitment to education is reflected in the establishment of the undergraduate algorithms course at NC State, and his innovative teaching methods, which have profoundly impacted students' learning experiences. As a mentor, Guo has guided numerous students, fostering their academic and professional growth. They say Guo's research has not only contributed to the academic community (he recently won a best paper award at RTSS, the premier international real-time and embedded systems conference, and the ACM SIGBED CAREER award that is presented to only one person a year) but has also had a tangible impact on real-world applications; e.g. the establishment of the CPS@NCSU group that has significantly expanded the community focused on Cyber-Physical Systems at NC State.


Dr. Dongkuan (DK) Xu leads the NC State Generative Intelligent Computing Lab, and he is working on machine learning, natural language processing, and computer vision. He received his PhD from Penn State and received his MS and BE from the University of Chinese Academy of Sciences and Renmin University of China, respectively.  He co-organized the NC State ChatGPT Workshops: Integrating ChatGPT into K-12 Classrooms ( and is an active undergraduate mentor at NSF Socially-Relevant Computing and Analytics (SRCA) REU Site at NC State ( He also serves as the Column Editor for the ACM SIGAI Newsletter and will be chairing the 1st Workshop on Dataset Distillation for Computer Vision at CVPR 2024. In the past, he chaired the 1st Workshop on Deep Learning-Hardware Co-Design for AI Acceleration at AAAI 2023, and the Resource Efficient Learning for Knowledge Discovery Workshop at KDD 2023.


In their text, his nominators describe Xu as engaging, fun, respectful, and hard-working. They spoke of his innovative ideas (about how to democratize artificial intelligence) and the way he offers consistent and useful feedback and support for everyone else on his team. Also mentioned by his nominators was his exemplary publication record - most of the publications are from top conferences, such as NeurIPS, ICLR, CVPR, ICCV, ACL, EMNLP, NAACL, DAC, AAAI, AISTATS, KDD, etc. Xu has been honored with the Microsoft Accelerating Foundation Models Research Award 2024 and the Best Paper Award of ICCCN 2023.


Parvez Rashid is a PhD candidate in Computer Science at NC State University. His research area is on Learning Analytics and Educational Data Mining, where he aims to enhance the efficiency and accuracy of peer assessments in open-ended responses using AI and Natural Language Processing (NLP). Rashid's research has far-reaching implications, as he seeks to apply data science to provide an enhanced learning experience, as well as address social issues and real-life problems. 


In their text, his nominators describe Rashid as a kind individual with both personal and professional achievements during his PhD which are worth recognition. He has fostered collaborative and interdisciplinary work, such as with the University of Queensland, the Statistics Department, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture. His work has been published in top-tier venues, one of which received the Best Paper Award, and another one received Best Paper Nomination.  Rashid not only excels in his own work but goes on to help lift others up by providing mentorship and encouragement to fellow peers and graduate students. He is a strong advocate for mental health by sponsoring a Senior Design Project with the goal of addressing this issue alongside Computer Science Department Head Dr. Gregg Rothermel and the Counseling Center. Rashid continues to demonstrate that he is an outstanding PhD student and embodies NC State’s mantra of "Think and Do."


For a complete list of past winners of The Carla Savage Awards, please click here.



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