DURHAM,Amin Vahdat and Ronald Parr, assistant professors at Duke University, have received 2003 Sloan Research Fellowships from the Alfred P. Sloan foundation.

Only 16 people were selected for the honor in computer science. The Sloan fellowships recognize young scientists who are making fundamental contributions to new knowledge in chemistry, physics, mathematics, computer science, economics and neuroscience.

In all, 112 people are selected each year.

Twenty-six Sloan Fellows went on to become Nobel Laureates.

Vahdat is researching ways to improve the performance and reliability of Internet related systems. “The Sloan Fellowship will enable me to further my work on building Internet systems that self-organize to achieve maximum performance, availability and security under highly variable conditions,” he said.

Parr is working on basic algorithms for decision making under uncertainty, which could potentially have applications in many areas, including medicine. A particular interest of Parr is robotics. “I’ve been branching out into robotics recently, and I expect the Sloan fellowship will help me ramp up,” he said. “Robots have the potential to reduce the risk to human life in dangerous situations such as space exploration, defense and emergency work.”

The Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, a philanthropic nonprofit institution, was established in 1934 by Alfred Pritchard Sloan, Jr., then President and Chief Executive Officer of the General Motors Corporation.

Duke University: www.duke.edu

Sloan Foundation: www.sloan.org