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Nandi receives five-year $498,000 NSF CAREER award

Arnab NandiAssistant Professor of Computer Science and Engineering Arnab Nandi received a five-year, $498,000 NSF Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) award for his research in gesture-driven querying of databases.

The CAREER award is the National Science Foundation’s most prestigious award in support of junior faculty who exemplify the role of teacher-scholars through outstanding research, excellent education and the integration of both.

Nandi became interested in the issues surrounding gestural querying of databases after observing the growing popularity of computing devices—such as tablets and smartphones—that use non-traditional methods like gestures to interact with data. Applications and user interfaces for such devices pose a fundamentally different set of expectations that traditional databases are not well-suited for, he explained.

His work aims to rethink the traditional database query paradigm to support gestural interaction, making data interaction accessible to an entirely new category of devices and users. Together with his team, Nandi has created a database architecture for next-generation interfaces called GestureDB. Its interaction-focused design is expected to have a transformative impact for users with disabilities and in environments such as factory floors and laboratories, where data access is key, but keyboards are not available. It also has implications in data-driven fields such as bioinformatics and big data analytics.

An Ohio State College of Engineering faculty member since 2012, Nandi is also a founder of The STEAM Factory, a collaborative interdisciplinary research and public outreach initiative, and faculty director of Ohio State’s OHI/O Hackathon.