Dinoj Surendran

3523 167th Ct NE #CC202, Redmond WA 98052, USA
dinoj@cs.uchicago.edu Tel: +1-773-7888287


Dec 2007 Ph.D. Computer Science University of Chicago
Dec 2003 M.S. Computer Science University of Chicago
Dec 1999 M.Sc. Mathematics University of Zimbabwe
Dec 1997 B.Sc. Mathematics (Honours) University of Zimbabwe


Applied Machine LearningScalable implementation of classification algorithms, Support Vector Machines, Max-Margin Structured Learning for sequential data.
Computational LinguisticsRecognition of intonational patterns from acoustic features of speech,
Determining the importance of phonemic contrasts and features in languages.
Information Visualization Visualization of astronomical data
Investigating different methods of visually representing the performance of machine learning algorithms for classification, dimensionality reduction, and clustering.
Creation of informative glyphs.
Public Communication of ScienceCreating animations and interactive visualization demos for researchers in different domains (machine learning, networking, astrophysics) to use in presentations.
Science Writing


C/C++, C#, Perl, Matlab, Scheme, Partiview, HTML, LaTeX, GNU/Linux.


Can Voice Quality help Mandarin Tone Recognition? by Dinoj Surendran and Gina-Anne Levow, Proceedings of ICASSP 2008.

"Dialog Act tagging with Support Vector Machines and Hidden Markov Models", Dinoj Surendran and Gina-Anne Levow (Computer Science Department, University of Chicago), Proceedings of Interspeech 2006.

"Classification of statement and question intonations in Mandarin", Fang Liu (Linguistics Department, University of Chicago), Dinoj Surendran, and Yi Xu (Phonetics Department, University College London). Proceedings of Speech Prosody 2006, Dresden, Germany.

Interactive glyph-supplemented scatterplots for visualizing algorithm results. Dinoj Surendran. Companion Volume to the Proceedings of HLT-NAACL 2006.

"Quantifying the functional load of phonemic oppositions, distinctive features, and suprasegmentals", Dinoj Surendran and Partha Niyogi (Computer Science and Statistics Departments, University of Chicago), book chapter in Nedergaard Thomsen, Ole (ed. fc.) Current trends in the theory of linguistic change. In commemoration of Eugenio Coseriu (1921-2002). Amsterdam & Philadelphia: Benjamins.

Estimation of stellar atmospheric parameters from SDSS Ugriz Photometry. Young Lee, Timothy Beers (Astronomy Department, Michigan State University), Coryn Bailer-Jones (Max-Planck-Institut fur Astronomie), Heidii Newberg (Astronomy and Applied Physics Departments, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute), Mark Subbarao (Astronomy Department, University of Chicago), D. Surendran. Proceedings of the 207th Meeting of the Astrononomical Association of America, Washington DC, January 2006.

Tone Recognition in Mandarin using Focus. Dinoj Surendran, Gina-Anne Levow, Yi Xu, Proceedings of the 9th European Conference of Speech Communication and Technology (Interspeech/ICSLP 2005)

Articulatory complexity, ambient frequency and functional load as predictors of consonant development in children.. Stephanie Stokes (Dept of Psychology, University of Reading) and Dinoj Surendran. Journal of Speech and Hearing Research 48(3): 577-91, June 2005.

Visualizing high dimensional datasets with Partiview. Dinoj Surendran and Stuart Levy (NCSA). Poster Proceedings of the Tenth IEEE Conference on Information Visualization, Austin, TX, 2004.

The functional load of tone in Mandarin is as high as that of vowels. Dinoj Surendran and Gina-Anne Levow. Proceedings of Speech Prosody 2004, Nara, Japan, pp. 99-102.


May 2005 Automating Visualization, "Visualization of Astrophysical Data: Bringing Together Science, Art & Education" Workshop, Kavli Institute for Cosmological Physics, Chicago IL.
Jan 2005 "3d Visualizations of current Astrophysical research for public explorations and classrooms". Demo with Randy Landsberg and Mark SubbaRao at "Gadgets and Gizmos" Workshop, American Astronomical Society Meeting, San Diego, CA.
Dec 2004 "Partiview: a tool to visually analyze the perfomance of Dimensionality Reduction and Clustering algorithms". Demo with Stuart Levy at Neural Information Processing Systems 2004, Vancouver, BC.
Oct 2004 Demo: "Stereo visualization of astronomical data" with Randy Landsberg at the Great Lakes Planetarium Association Conference, Detroit MI.
Sep 2004 "Making pretty pictures for machine learning", Student session lecture Machine Learning Summer School, Berder Island, France.
Jun 2004 "Visualizing the Sloan Digital Sky Survey in 3d Stereo" with Mark SubbaRao at the Physics Education and Outreach Workshop, Aspen Center for Physics, Aspen, CO.
Mar 2002 "Language does not have to evolve optimally" with Partha Niyogi at the Evolution of Language: Fourth International Conference, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA.


Sep 2006 Finalist, NSF Science and Engineering Visualization Challenge. Mark SubbaRao, Dinoj Surendran, Toshiyuki Takahei, for "Cosmic Ray Shower Visualizations"
Feb 2005 Awarded Travel and Accommodation grant by the organizers to attend the NASA Explorer Institute Focus Group on "Seeing the Universe: Visualizing Space for Informal Science Education Audiences" at the AMNH/Hayden Planetarium, New York.
Aug 2004 Semi-finalist for "Clustering Patterns of Handwritten Digits" in the NSF's Science and Engineering Visualization Challenge.
Jul 2004 Awarded Travel and Accommodation grant by the organizers to attend the two-week invitation-only Education and Outreach Workshop at the Aspen Center for Physics, Aspen, CO.
May 2004 Awarded Doolittle-Harrison Travel Grant to attend the International Conference on Speech Prosody in Nara, Japan.
2001-2 Awarded two quarter-long Fellowships by the University of Chicago Computer Science Department.
1994 Gold Medal Winner, Zimbabwe Mathematics Olympiad.


Winter 2004 Lecturer, University of Chicago, Programming II (C++)
Spring 2003 Lecturer, University of Chicago. Programming III (C++ and Data Structures)
Summer 2002 Lecturer, University of Chicago. Programming I (Scheme).
2001-3 Teaching Assistant : Discrete Mathematics, Artificial Intelligence, Programming.


Oct 2007 - Intern, Next Media Lab, Microsoft Research Redmond. Working on the WorldWide Telescope project, processing terapixel astronomical images and data for global perusal.
Winter 2007 Visualization Developer, Adler Planetarium and Astronomy Museum. Creating Python/Perl libraries for developing movie flight paths in Partiview and using them to create full-dome and 3d stereo movies of astronomical phenomena.
Fall 2004 - Fall 2006 Research Assistant, Department of Computer Science, University of Chicago. Working in Gina Levow's NSF-funded Tone and Intonation project. Applying information theoretic and machine learning methods such as Support Vector Machines and Max-Margin Structured Learning to large data sets of sequential prosodic information. Typically use C++, Matlab, Perl and Praat.
Summer 2005 Summer Intern, Empirical Inference Department, Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics. Worked with Gunnar Raetsch and Alexander Zien on Max-Margin Generalized Hidden Markov Models. Sped up C++ implementation of existing Hidden Markov Model subroutine by over 20% in a gene-splicing algorithm by modifying Viterbi code to store less intermediate information.
Spring 2005 Local Organizer, Chicago '05 Machine Learning Summer School. Worked with John Langford, Yasemin Altun and others to arrange housing and practical tutorial sessions, maintained website and Wiki.
Summer 2002 Volunteer, Annual Computational Neuroscience Meeting, Chicago, IL. Compiled the Proceedings book.
Summer 2001 Research Assistant, Mathematics and Computer Science Division, Argonne National Lab, Argonne, IL. Implemented a linear SVM in library-free C as part of a larger signal processing project.
1996-9 Member of the Board of Examiners, Zimbabwe Mathematics Olympiad. Worked with Erica Keogh (Statistics Department, University of Zimbabwe) to set questions for the nationwide competition for senior high-school students.


2004-6 Volunteer, Cosmus Group. Created, documented, and freely distributed images, movies, and interactive stereoscopic 3D animations for researchers and educators, mostly in the astronomical sciences.
Dec 2005 Volunteer, Adler Planetarium. Helped create an interactive planetarium dome show with Sky Skan Inc.
Jun 2005 Visualized time-varying data for the Markerless Motion Capture project for Stefano Corazza (Mechanical Engineering Department, Stanford University) using Matlab and Partiview.
Sep 2004 Created a visualization demo using Matlab and Partiview for Dimitri Achlioptas (Microsoft Research) to use at his invited talk at the European Conference for Machine Learning.
Aug 2004 Created a visualization tool in Perl and Partiview to help Matei Ripeanu (now faculty at University of British Columbia) visualize experiments on the PlanetLab network. Images from this project are being used for an NSF Computing and Networking Sciences 2006 internal report.
Summer 2004 Visualization Assistant, NSF-funded Kavli Institute for Cosmological Physics. Worked with KICP Outreach Director Randy Landsberg astrophysicists Maximo Ave and Tokonatsu Yamamoto in the Pierre Auger Observatory to create movies and interactive animations of cosmic ray showers using AIRES (an existing simulation package), Perl, and Partiview. These have been used by researchers and educators in conferences, classrooms, an upcoming documentary, and in Astronomy magazine and the Pierre Auger website itself.
Spring 2004 Visualized clustering patterns of handwritten digits produced by the dimensionality reduction algorithm Laplacian Eigenmaps of Mikhail Belkin (Ohio State) and Partha Niyogi.
Mar 2004 Volunteer, Adler Planetarium and Astronomy Museum. Aided Mark SubbaRao (University of Chicago and Adler) and Doug Roberts (Northwestern University and Adler) with some Scheme/GIMP programming to automate the colorization of hundreds of stereo images from the NASA/JPL Mars Exploration Rovers to use in a stereoscopic 3D Mars exhibit at Adler.
2003-4 Intern, NSF-funded Museum Presentation in Science program. Worked in a group of six graduatate students and two outreach professionals to create stereoscopic 3D astronomy-based exhibits for visitors to SciTech Hands-on Children's Museum in Aurora, IL. Worked with Mark SubbaRao to create data for an interactive model of the universe with data of hundreds of thousands of galaxies surveyed by the Sloan Digital Sky Survey created using Perl, Matlab, and Partiview. Installed this and other Stereo 3d exhibits at SciTech.
1997-9 Co-Founder and Vice Editor, Zimaths magazine, Mathematics Department, University of Zimbabwe. Authored, edited, typesetted, and placed on web articles for a magazine aimed at high school math students and teachers.