Carnegie Mellon University

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October 16, 2023

Cen Receives J.P. Morgan AI Ph.D. Fellowship

Krista Burns

Shicong Cen, a fourth-year Ph.D. student in electrical and computer engineering, received a J.P. Morgan AI Ph.D. Fellowship for his research on the learning process in data-driven decision making. His work, advised by electrical and computer engineering professor Yuejie Chi, aims to develop provably efficient optimization methods for new algorithms that achieve fast convergence.

The J.P. Morgan AI Ph.D. Fellowship is awarded to university faculty members and Ph.D. students from around the world who show great promise in AI advancements. The innovative solutions they propose have the potential to completely change financial services for both clients and the firm itself. 

Cen’s research in reinforcement learning (RL) will help improve the way machines learn from prior experiences and solve complicated sequential decision problems. Policy optimization methods are critical for training RL models, for which Cen has significantly improved time complexity, making training faster and more efficient.

This competitive fellowship opportunity not only allows students like Cen to receive financial support for academic projects, but also opens up career opportunities and broadens their experiences in the industry. “Even the application process provides good experience towards grant and proposal writing, which is incredibly helpful for future academic careers,” Cen says. Alongside the fellowship, recipients are extended with potential summer internship opportunities with J.P. Morgan Chase in summer 2024, offering valuable experience in the financial field.

Cen credits part of his success to the outstanding mentorship from his advisor. “I was fortunate to do undergraduate research with Professor Chi. She directed my initial foray into academic research and has constantly offered invaluable advice on my research development, presentation and writing skills, and even my personal career planning,” he says.