Henry Carscadden broadens his horizons, both as a member of the US Space Force and as a computer scientist.
Carscadden, who graduated from the University of Virginia in May, received a Louis T. Rader Undergraduate Research Award, from the Department of Computer Science at the School of Engineering, for his work at UVA’s Biocomplexity Institute, where scientists use mathematical and computer sciences to solve problems. These awards are given to undergraduate students based on their academic performance, ability to get along with people, and demonstrated ability to work hard.
Carscadden, from Goochland, has more than research in its future. While a ROTC Air Force cadet at University, Carscadden, who earned degrees in computer science and math, is now a member of the US Space Force.
“Last summer, all Air Force cadets except those headed for flight were given the opportunity to apply to serve in the Space Force instead of the Air Force,” he said. he declared. “Prior to this opportunity, I had been very interested in operations research work in the Air Force due to its research style environment.”
Carscadden, who was one of five members of his ROTC class to opt for the Space Force, believes the potential of space is to transform the Earth’s economy.
“For example, the launch of initiatives such as Starlink [a satellite internet system being built by SpaceX] could provide high-speed, high-availability Internet access to rural communities, which could promote more uniform economic development, ”said Carscadden. “That being said, I see no real use for humans in space at this point outside of scientific progress. As far as I know, the current value of space to humanity consists of spacecraft without pilot providing a certain service. “
Carscadden conducts research in network science at the Biocomplexity Institute and his work on complex networks has won him the Rader Prize.
“The idea of network science is that you can divide a system into atomic units and define local interactions between the units to understand the system as a whole,” Carscadden said. “Many systems work this way, the spread of contagion is one of them. “
Carscadden’s research focused on finding a way to efficiently allocate resources to block two contagions spreading simultaneously in a population.
“Multiple contagion is a newer area and we have focused on a simpler type of contagion model than disease,” he said. “We worked on blocking the spread of social contagions, like a certain type of fashion, on a network. This is important because we can try to extend these tools to real diseases to decide how to allocate scarce resources when multiple contagions spread through a population. “
Carscadden and his work are greatly appreciated at the institute.
“In general, the quality of the students in the computer science department is excellent and many of them participate in research with faculty members,” SS Ravi, lecturer-researcher at the Biocomplexity Institute. “The price is very competitive. We proposed Henry since his distinguished major project resulted in a conference publication and was subsequently invited to a journal. Henry is the co-author of several other articles which discuss certain software subsystems within a cyber infrastructure for network science. We were delighted that Henry was chosen as one of the winners.
Ravi said that Chris Kuhlman, Associate Research Professor, and Dustin Machi, Senior Software Architect, both at the Biocomplexity Institute, have worked closely with Carscadden and are very impressed with his analytical and programming skills.
“Henry is also a very sincere and humble person,” Ravi said. “He has the ability to quickly understand difficult concepts and algorithms. With a strong background in computer science and math, he also has the ability to quickly think through different approaches to solving a problem and identify which one is most appropriate for a given situation. He needs very little supervision. I have enjoyed working with him for the past two years.
Carscadden is also working on another project at the institute.
“As part of a project funded by the National Science Foundation, we are developing a scalable and ubiquitous cyber infrastructure that can be used by researchers around the world to study problems related to the science and engineering of networks.” said Madhav Marathe, professor emeritus in biocomplexity. and the Carscadden thesis director. “Henry is part of the project and has supported the development of a number of innovative software modules; some of this work will be published at the next Winter Simulation conference.
Carscadden will continue his research at the Biocomplexity Institute, where he has worked since 2019, while waiting to enter active service. He plans to start working on a master’s program at the Air Force Institute of Technology at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Ohio.
“I chose to work at the Biocomplexity Institute because I wanted to learn more about data science,” he said. “Before entering active service, I was working on a web application to allow researchers to work on complex network problems without writing a lot of code.”
Marathe describes Carscadden as “conscientious, brilliant and hardworking”.
“He is diligent and takes the work entrusted to him seriously,” said Marathe. “I believe he has a bright future and I have no doubts that he will carry out all of the duties assigned to him in a very thoughtful manner and exceed the expectations of his mentors and supervisors. Henry has already published three articles, which is no small feat for an undergraduate student. He also supported ongoing projects and did all of this while majoring in computer science and math while serving at ROTC. It is an exceptional achievement. “
Marathe said Carscadden receiving the Rader Undergraduate Research Award was a first for the institute.
“It’s a very prestigious award and we’re delighted to see Henry get it,” said Marathe. “… We are a young institute and personally believe that this will motivate other students to work hard and achieve academic excellence as well. “
Marathe said the price is also important because of its subject matter.
“Our institute is one of the leaders in the field of network science,” he said. “The award then shows how young researchers can participate in ongoing collaborative research on cutting-edge topics. In addition, our institute carries out transdisciplinary team science. Henry worked as a team, was advised by several faculty members and researchers, and collaborated with a number of students. This way of doing research at a university is unique. We believe that this way of doing science on large, complex problems is the way of the future. “
Carscadden’s life is about more than research. Self-taught guitarist, he learned some country tunes. Echols Fellow and Intermediate Award Recipient, he was a member of the UVA Climbing Club and St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Church. He has also volunteered locally, including with the Catholic Hoos Homelessness Ministry and planning and attending service events for the Air Force ROTC unit.