Current students

Future PhD students

If you have sent me a long message with your CV or skills please read the following. I thank you for your interest in joining my group. Please avoid sending me a message with your CV or long explanations about your skills and job experience: I get too many messages from prospective students. Unfortunately, I cannot evaluate your qualifications and accept you directly; you must be evaluated by a committee, sorry. Instead, please apply to our PhD program or MS program: mention my name and "big data systems & systems programming" in the UH application and your statement (where you explain why you want to pursue a PhD or MS with my group). Your application will be given full consideration by a committee that will carefully evaluate your grades, reference letters and research goals. Notice the GRE is no longer required for PhD students. Let me emphasize all admitted PhD students at UH receive financial support (i.e. an assistantship position). Therefore, do not worry about paying tuition and living expenses. Instead choose a professor/area which can challenge your intellectual skills. Unfortunately, MS students cannot receive financial support (university policy, unless they transition and are admitted to the PhD program). It is important to understand that professors cannot override admission requirements, regardless of research area or academic credentials (please do not insist, no exceptions). But there is flexibility to help you achieve your goals: you can change PhD advisor during your first year, or even the 2nd year, in case my research (or some other professor research area) is not a good fit for you (for instance, too much math, complex C++ programming, weak OS knowledge OR some other area looks more exciting). Therefore, think well about your research area, compare publications, look at previous students and apply with the professor whose research looks more interesting and with better job prospect. Let me close stating I am always looking for motivated PhD and MS students (thesis option), willing to learn "systems" and "theory" to advance data science. I do not have any postdoc, undergraduate TA, or visiting scientist positions.
If you have already been conditionally accepted to our PhD program and you are looking for a PhD please send me a short message explaining specific topics you like (look at my recent papers). Even better, explain it in your statement letter when you apply.
It is desirable a future PhD student has background (at the college level) in most of the following topics:
  • C++ and C programming
  • Data science languages like Python, R
  • Basic knowledge of SQL to process queries and transactions
  • Machine Learning and Statistics
  • Graph Algorithms
  • Numerical methods, especially Linear Algebra
  • Search and Sort algorithms and external memory data structures
  • Operating systems, particularly Unix/Linux knowledge

Students who took a course with me

Reference letters: I feel honored to be contacted by previous students to get reference letters to apply for jobs or to some other CS program. Unfortunately, I get too many requests. Therefore, unless you have worked closely with me (research paper, thesis, honors project) or I know you well (exceptional class participation, top programming skills), please do not ask.

Past PhD and MS students who worked with me

The job prospect for students who have worked in my group is excellent, because such student has achieved strong programming skills, strong computer systems knowledge and understands the mathematical theory behind analytics. My past students end up working on big data or data science software development.

PhD students

  • Javier Garcia-Garcia, PhD, 2008; PhD UNAM (UNAM (Professor), Mexico)
  • Zhibo Chen, MS 2009, PhD, 2011 (Haliburton, Oil)
  • Carlos Garcia-Alvarado, MS, 2008, PhD 2012 (Ford Motor Co, Autonomics)
  • Yiqun Zhang, MS, 2016, PhD 2017 (VoltDB, transaction processing DBMS)
  • Wellington Cabrera, MS, 2015, PhD 2017 (Teradata, parallel DBMS)
  • Sikder Al-Amin, PhD 2022 (Oil)

MS students

  • Naveen Mohanam, MS, 2013 (TIBCO, Database software company)
  • Manish Limaye, MS, 2011 (Riversand Technologies, Business Software)
  • Anu Goyal, MS, 2009 (ABB, Energy)
  • Sasi Pitchaimalai, MS, 2008
  • Mario Navas, MS, 2009 (DBMS Consultant in Ecuador)
  • David Matusevich, MS, 2016 (Schlumberger)
  • Kai Zhao, MS, 2009 (China Reinsurance Asset Management Corp.)
  • Xiantian Zhou, MS, 2019 (Meta (formerly facebook) current PhD student)


MS students looking for an assistantship (RA,TA)

We cannot provide any form of financial support to MS students or students from other departments. Please avoid sending us spam messages with your attached resume. Instead, please look up UH resources for campus jobs.