Speakers Announced for College’s 2024 Graduate Commencement Ceremony

Alum Ana Maria Rey (Ph.D. ’04, physics), a Fellow of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and JILA, will be the keynote speaker at the University of Maryland’s College of Computer, Mathematical, and Natural Sciences 2024 Graduate Commencement Ceremony on May 20, 2024. Ph.D. graduate Tahseen Rabbani was selected as the student speaker for the ceremony. The ceremony will honor the college's August 2023, December 2023 and May 2024 graduates receiving doctoral and master's degrees and graduate certificates.

Ana Maria Rey, Keynote Speaker

Ana Maria Rey
Ana Maria Rey. Photo courtesy of same. Click image to download hi-res version.

Rey is a theoretical physicist and Fellow of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and JILA, a joint research institute of NIST and the University of Colorado Boulder, and an adjunct professor of physics at the University of Colorado Boulder.

She studies the scientific interface between atomic, molecular and optical physics; condensed matter physics; and quantum information science. Rey also develops new techniques for controlling quantum systems for applications ranging from quantum simulations/information to time and frequency standards. Her work has been fundamental in breakthroughs in physics, such as developing accurate atomic clocks and dark matter sensors using quantum crystals.

Rey earned her Ph.D. from UMD, where she trained under Charles Clark and Theodore Kirkpatrick. She was inducted into the National Academy of Sciences in 2023 and the Academia Colombiana de Ciencias Exactas, Físicas y Naturales (Colombian Academy of Exact, Physical and Natural Sciences) in her home country of Colombia in 2023.

She is a Fellow of the American Physical Society and has earned many awards for her research, including the MacArthur Fellowship, Blavatnik National Award for Young Scientists, Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers, Department of Defense Vannevar Bush Faculty Fellowship, Alexander M. Cruickshank Lectureship Award, Early Career National Hispanic Scientist of the Year, Maria Goeppert Mayer Award, and Great Minds in STEM Most Promising Scientist Award.

Rey participates in several quantum research initiatives, including the CUbit Quantum Initiative and the Quantum Systems through Entangled Science and Engineering (Q-SEnSE) center funded by the U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF). In 2023, she became co-director of the JILA Physics Frontiers Center, an NSF-funded science center within JILA to realize precise measurements and cutting-edge manipulations to harness increasingly complex quantum systems.

Tahseen Rabbani, Student Speaker

Tahseen Rabbani photo
Tahseen Rabbani. Credit: Mark Sherwood

Tahseen Rabbani will graduate in May 2024 with a Ph.D. in computer science. Advised by Assistant Professor Furong Huang, Rabbani’s dissertation focuses on efficient algorithms for machine learning (ML). His primary research interests are model compression, distributed learning, security and data privacy. He is a proponent of technological equity and environmentally friendly artificial intelligence (AI)/ML. In June, Rabbani will begin a postdoctoral position under Mary-Anne Hartley at Yale University’s LiGHT lab, which focuses on AI/ML for global health and humanitarian response technologies, where he will work on the deployment and training of large models in low-resource settings.

As a Ph.D. student, Rabbani was an RSAC National  Security Scholar and a National Science Foundation COMBINE Fellow and was nominated as an Apple Scholar in AI/ML. He published first-authored papers and served on the program committees of major AI/ML conferences including Neural Information Processing Systems (NeurIPS), the International Conference on Learning Representations (ICLR) and the International Conference on Machine Learning (ICML).

Rabbani began his doctoral career at UMD in mathematics in 2018, specializing in error correction and combinatorial group theory, before taking a keen interest in ML and transferring to computer science. As a math graduate student, he published research in the Journal of Algebra & Number Theory and Finite Fields and their Applications (FQ14) and was awarded a Monroe Martin & Seymour Goldberg Spotlight Award. In addition to his doctoral work, Rabbani is an adjunct lecturer of calculus at Georgetown University and a research scientist at the D.C.-based quantum startup Error Corp.

Before joining UMD, Rabbani was a mathematics master’s student at NYU and a software developer at Epic Systems. He completed his B.A. in mathematics at the University of Virginia where he was an Echols Scholar. He enjoys cooking, traveling and all things related to the NBA.

About the College of Computer, Mathematical, and Natural Sciences

The College of Computer, Mathematical, and Natural Sciences at the University of Maryland educates more than 8,000 future scientific leaders in its undergraduate and graduate programs each year. The college's 10 departments and nine interdisciplinary research centers foster scientific discovery with annual sponsored research funding exceeding $250 million.