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Meet Eduardo Ponce!


Eduardo Ponce is a 3rd year PEER scholar in the Computer Science program at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. Eduardo obtained his bachelor’s & master’s degrees in Computer and Electrical Engineering from the Polytechnic University of Puerto Rico and participated in a long stint of internships at Oak Ridge National Laboratory. While there, Eduardo was encouraged to pursue his PhD by his current advisor, Dr. Greg Peterson. Dr. Peterson recommended the PEER program in conjunction with the Interdisciplinary Graduate Minor in Computational Science at UT.


Upon being accepted into UT, Eduardo chose the goal of “doing science that helps the world”. However, he had no idea what his research could be until he was awarded a PEER fellowship that allowed him to meet other scholars in the life sciences who noted the difficulty of handling large amounts of data. As he notes “I felt a lot of pressure figuring out what sort of research I wanted to pursue and it wasn’t until I met other students and researchers from a variety of disciplines that I found an interesting problem I could tackle.”


His research addresses the issue of managing big data in bioinformatics by porting and enhancing codes for emerging computing technologies. Currently, he explores how to optimize software to efficiently manage and analyze data obtained from biology laboratories resulting in faster report findings. In doing this, Eduardo hopes the software he and his colleagues develop can further bridge the worlds of computer science and biomedical research.


Additionally, Eduardo notes about PEER, “The graduate salary  from PEER is competitive and the PEER discourse meetings have helped me improve personal, academic, and professional skills. For example, it has really taught me time management, communication techniques, presentational tips, and a variety of interpersonal skills via the discourse meetings and guest lectures. Also, the mentors and staff in PEER really care. They certainly care about me as a scholar, but they also care about me as a person.”


Eduardo’s major goal is to become a better computer scientist by mastering hardware design and meshing that with his mastery of software development to benefit future computing trends.


Eduardo’s story is Progress, Made by PEER.