Students working in my lab (contact them if you have questions about UH application or research projects)

Students looking for RA/TA positions

If you are a student in another department please do not send requests for TA or RA positions. It is disrespectful to be bothered with these persistent messages with CV attached: they clog our mailboxes. RA/TA positions are reserved for accepted PhD students. If you want a position in the CS department then apply to our PhD: your application will be give full and fair consideration.

Prospective PhD students

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: All professors get too many messages from prospective students; we know you send the same message to multiple professors and universities. Unfortunately, we cannot evaluate your qualifications and accept you directly; you must be evaluated by a committee, sorry. Moreover, we do not have time to meet with you online or by phone and this would be unfair to other students who are applying, following the rules. Instead, please apply to our PhD program or MS program: mention my name and "big data systems and data science systems programming" in the UH application and your statement letter (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. If you are approved by the committee, professors who you named will see your approved application.
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; there are plenty of job opportunities. 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, visit professors web pages, 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.

Accepted PhD students (conditionally)

If you have already been conditionally accepted to our PhD program by our grad committee and you are looking for a PhD advisor please send me a short message explaining specific topics you like (look at my recent papers, identify how you could help, explain programming aspects). Even better, explain these aspects in your statement letter when you apply (OK to resubmit it if you change your mind!).
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

Letters and references

*I feel honored to be contacted by previous students to be listed as a reference or get reference letters to apply for jobs or to some other CS program. Unfortunately, I get too many requests and some letters take too much time to write. Therefore, unless you have worked closely with me (research paper, thesis, honors project) or I know you well (exceptional class participation, I told you have top programming skills), please do not ask.
*If you took a course with me, you got A- or A and you need a ``certification'' letter stating meet knowledge objectives contact the CS department and ask them to cc me for approval.
*If you worked on a research project with me and you need a letter keep in mind I can only write a short letter (1-2 short paragraphs) emphasizing your knowledge (programming and theory) and character (diligent, team player, punctual, and so on).

Jobs of past PhD and MS students in my group

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)