Sofia Drozd, a first-year master's student of the Department of Mathematical Modeling and Data Analysis (MMAD), won first place at the Student Research Competition (SRC), organized by the ACM, the oldest and largest international organization in the field of computer science.


The MMAD Department is deservedly proud of its student. As part of the annual international ACM Symposium on Applied Computing (SAC2024), her work, performed under the scientific supervision of the Head of the Department, Professor Natalia Kussul, was recognized as the best and Sofia was awarded a gold medal and a cash prize.
The master's student's research is about detecting damage to agricultural fields using free satellite data and machine learning "Detection of War-Caused Agricultural Field Damages Using Sentinel-2 Satellite Data with Machine Learning and Anomaly Detection".
The SAC2024 symposium was held on April 8-12 in Avila, Spain. A total of 281 scientific papers were presented to the participants with the participation of about 500 scientists from all over the world. They discussed cutting-edge research and innovations in computer science, emphasizing the importance of scientific meetings for the exchange of ideas and development of the international scientific community.

According to Sofia Drozd, the path to victory was not easy, as the competition consisted of several stages. The first one was an offline selection of 20% of the best abstracts from all the submitted ones. According to the organizers, this year SAC2024 received 36 abstracts of student research papers, and after careful consideration, only 7 authors were invited to participate in the conference.

So the second stage was the poster session. "The authors presented their research during the symposium to other conference participants and jury members," Sofia recalls. "The jury consisted of 15 highly qualified experts from around the world (USA, Spain, Poland, Korea) specializing in various fields of computer science. The jury evaluated the value of the research itself, as well as the appearance of the poster and the author's ability to present his or her work. As a result, three finalists were selected."

And finally, the final third stage was the presentation session. Young researchers had to demonstrate their work in a short 10-minute presentation to the audience and jury members. After each presentation, the experts held a short 5-minute Q&A session and evaluated the participant. The evaluations, which were expected by the last day of the symposium, were based on the speaker's knowledge of their research area, the contribution of the research, and the quality of the oral and visual presentation.

International events of this level usually end with a gala dinner, to which the finalists were also invited. The chandeliers shine dazzlingly, the glasses sparkle, the waiters demonstrate their skills, and the audience demonstrates their "creative black tie". Eyes dart around and breath is taken away. Finally, the results are announced and the winners are awarded: bronze, silver, and gold medals. In addition, the finalists received $500, $300, and $200 in prize money, depending on their place.

In a conversation with a KP correspondent, Professor Natalia Kussul once again emphasized how long and hard the path to her student's victory was: "Initially, Sofia's work was among the seven best, which gave her the opportunity to present her work at the poster session. After the evaluation, Sofia's poster was among the top three, which allowed her to make it to the final. In the finals, Sofia demonstrated her research in a presentation format to the jury and the audience, which brought her victory."

Summarizing, the head of the department added: "It is worth noting that the SRC competition is held annually and provides young participants with a unique opportunity to share their ideas and receive feedback from leading industry experts. We are proud that Sofia Drozd, representing our department, was able to prove herself at such a prestigious international forum and demonstrated the high level of scientific training provided by our department."

Nadiia Libert

For reference:

The Association for Computing Machinery (ACM)

is the oldest and largest international organization in the field of computer science, uniting about 100,000 specialists. The headquarters is located in New York. The Student Research Competition (SRC) is held annually and consists of two main rounds (held several times during the year at different ACM conferences) and a grand final at the end of the year. The grand finals are attended by students who have won first place at SRCs held during the year. Another jury evaluates these winners to select the best of the best.

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