Milestones: December 17, 2018

Dec 17 2018

Recent awards, recognitions, and accomplishments from our students and faculty

Computer Science Professors Feiner and Misra Named ACM Fellows

ACM, the Association for Computing Machinery, has honored two Columbia Engineering computer science professors, Steve Feiner and Vishal Misra, for their accomplishments that “underpin the technologies that define the digital age and greatly impact our professional and personal lives.”

Feiner and his lab have been doing research on augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR), and wearable computing for more than 25 years. He has designed and evaluated novel 3D interaction and visualization techniques, created the first outdoor mobile AR system using a see-through head-worn display and GPS, and pioneered experimental applications of AR to a wide range of fields including tourism, journalism, maintenance, construction, and healthcare.

Misra, who has a joint appointment in electrical engineering, does research in the broad area of networking, where he develops mechanisms that make networks work better and faster. He also investigates the economic models that underpin the internet and their effect on public policy. He has played an active role in the public policy debates surrounding net neutrality, and the regulations passed in Canada and India, which have the strongest pro-consumer legislation, are in line with the definition of network neutrality that he proposed.

In all, 56 ACM members, hailing from universities, companies, and research centers around the world, were named Fellows. They will be formally recognized at an annual awards banquet to be held in June 2019 in San Francisco. 


Julia Hirschberg Receives Honorary Doctorate from Tilburg University

Julia Hirschberg, Percy K. and Vida L. W. Hudson Professor of Computer Science, received an eredoctoraat, or honorary doctorate degree, at Tilburg University in the Netherlands on November 15 for her “exceptional scientific accomplishments.” A pioneer in computational linguistics and natural language processing, Hirschberg studies the prosody—intonation and melody—of speech, with the goal of teaching computers to understand subtle variations and reproduce them in natural-sounding speech. She has analyzed the prosody of charismatic and deceptive speech and developed a computer system that is more successful than humans at detecting lies. Hirschberg also studies entrainment—the tendency of people to mirror back the spoken mannerisms of those who are speaking to them—in voice-response systems. In addition, her lab does research on emotional speech, code-switching, and text-to-speech synthesis. Hirschberg was presented with the honorary degree on the 91st birthday of the university.


National Academy of Inventors Elects Jingyue Ju a 2018 NAI Fellow

Jingyue Ju, Samuel-Ruben-Peter G. Viele Professor of Engineering in the Chemical Engineering Department, was elected by the Fellows Selection Committee and the Board of Directors of the National Academy of Inventors to be a 2018 NAI Fellow, an honor bestowed upon him for having demonstrated “a highly prolific spirit of innovation in creating or facilitating outstanding inventions that have made a tangible impact on the quality of life, economic development, and welfare of society.” Ju will be inducted in a ceremony on April 11, 2019, at the Space Center in Houston where Andrew Hirshfeld, U.S. Commissioner for Patents for the United States Patent and Trademark Office, will give the keynote address.  Ju’s research uses molecular science and engineering to create and develop new approaches for DNA sequencing and genetic analysis, an essential technology for precision medicine. He is Professor of Chemical Engineering and Pharmacology, Director of the Center for Genome Technology & Biomolecular Engineering at Columbia.


The American Association for the Advancement of Science Names Upmanu Lall an AAAS Fellow

Earth and Environmental Engineering Department Chair Upmanu Lall was recently named to the rank of Fellow in the American Association for the Advancement of Science.  Also the Alan and Carol Silberstein Professor of Earth and Environmental Engineering, with a joint appointment in Civil Engineering and Engineering Mechanics, Lall is now an AAAS Fellow in the Atmospheric and Hydrospheric Science section, recognized for his “efforts on behalf of the advancement of science or its applications.” He will be inducted on February 16, 2019, at a ceremony in Washington, DC.


Michal Lipson Receives Honorary Doctorate from Trinity College

Michal Lipson, Eugene Higgins Professor of Electrical Engineering and professor of applied physics, was awarded an honorary doctorate degree by Trinity College at the University of Dublin on December 7 for her “outstanding achievement in her field.” Renowned for her ground-breaking work in silicon photonics, Lipson works at the interface between physics and electrical engineering. Her research is focused on areas where nanophotonics has a big impact, both fundamentally and technologically, and she is especially well-known for enabling optics on a chip for processing and transmitting information with high capacity. The Lipson Nanophotonics Group works on novel photonic materials and fabrication, silicon photonics and non-reciprocity, nano-magnetism and thermal control, nanophotonics for neuroscience, optomechanics, nonlinear and quantum optics, and sensing and optofluidics. The honorary degree, which Lipson received at a ceremony in Dublin, is a significant honor—previous recipients include Joe Biden, Hillary Clinton, and Jane Goodall. 


Computer Science Professor Dan Rubenstein is Named IEEE Fellow

Associate Professor of Computer Science Dan Rubenstein is among the newly elected IEEE Fellows. The honor is effective as of January 1, 2019, and is conferred by the IEEE Board of Directors upon a person with an extraordinary record of accomplishments in any of the IEEE fields of interest. Rubenstein designs, builds, and analyzes computer networked systems, and was recognized by the IEEE for his contributions to massively distributed networked systems. His other significant contributions are in the areas of multimedia networks, peer-to-peer (P2P) networks, wireless systems, and ultra-low power networked systems. He works closely with theorists as well as with systems-building colleagues. He holds several patents and co-founded Infinio Systems, whose core technology was developed in his research lab.