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Time-tested: Computer scientist’s research honored for its impact after a decade

August 17, 2022

photo: Abdullah Mueen
Abdullah Mueen with his award in Washington, D.C.

It is every researcher’s goal to make a long-lasting impact with their work. And for one computer science professor at The University of New Mexico, that is exactly what he has accomplished.

Abdullah Mueen, an associate professor in the Department of Computer Science, received the ACM SIGKDD Test of Time Award, which honors work that has had the most influence since its publication.

He received the award at the 28th ACM SIGKDD Conference on Knowledge Discovery and Data Mining, held Aug. 14-18 in Washington, D.C.

ACM SIGKDD stands for the Association of Computing Machinery Special Interest Group in Knowledge Discovery in Data.

Mueen said this award is unique in that it honors research that is at least 10 years old and has been recognized as having a sustained influence over the years since its publication.

“This award is particularly important to me is because it shows that the work we are doing has impact,” he said. “In terms of my career, recognition is always good because it inspires you to do more good work.”

The award-winning work was part of his dissertation at the University of California, Riverside, before he joined UNM in 2013. The research introduced a more effective and efficient data mining algorithm for massive-scale time series data.

“Searching and mining millions of time series subsequences under dynamic time warping” was presented at the Proceedings of the 18th ACM SIGKDD in 2012 and was awarded with the best paper award at that conference. Since then, it has been cited in other research work more than 1,000 times. He also has video tutorials that explain the work, each one receiving thousands of views.

“In general, this means that the work was distinguishing, meaning that it was set apart from other work, which is why it was recognized two times, 10 years apart” he said.

Mueen has focused on various topics throughout his research career, including the role bots play in skewing reality on social media, how to catch fraudulent travel reviews, and current research into cryptocurrency. He is also currently funded through Air Force Research Laboratory on a project that collects data from sensors around the country and the world to detect seismic activity that could indicate secret underground nuclear testing that could be a threat to national security.

But he said the common thread in all of his work is attempting to understand what the data means.

“We collect large amounts of data that is mostly human-centric. It affects our lives,” Mueen said. “In computer science, we must make sure our work touches people’s lives.”

Additional information about Mueen’s work can be found on his website.