The notion of a database search without a keyword sounds paradoxical. How can you search for something you can’t name? TDA affiliate Arnab Nandi, PhD, Assistant Professor in Computer Science and Engineering, has been developing a means to make exploring data possible without keyboards. Called GestureDB, it’s a sifting and sorting of information that uses gestures with which mobile device users are familiar: tap, swipe, stretch. Nandi describes it as a process of “poking” and “playing with the data.” The experience is especially engaging for users, and it requires lightning-fast speeds in processing times, as those users typically expect immediate responses.
Projects such as GestureDB have earned Nandi the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Technical Committee on Data Engineering Early Career Award. The prestigious international award recognizes one standout scholar each year for the body of work they have achieved in their first five years after earning a PhD. Nandi was presented with the 2016 prize in May in Helsinki, Finland.
The National Science Foundation has also recognized Nandi’s achievements, providing research support through its CAREER program. For any researcher, the foundation’s support has a dramatic effect on scholarly activities, and Nandi is particularly grateful for the doors it has opened.
More than anything else, Nandi attributes his success to collaboration, especially within his group at Ohio State, whose areas of focus range across disciplines, including database systems, data analytics, human-computer interaction, and statistics. “This does not happen with me alone on an island,” he says. “Students and collaborators play a huge role; I give credit to them for these successes.”