DSP PhD student AmirAli Aghazadeh, DSP PhD alum Mona Sheikh, Bioengineering professor Rebekah Drezek, Bioengineering alums Allen Chen and Adam Yuh Lin, and DSP professor Richard Baraniuk have been awarded the 2017 Hershel M. Rich Invention Award for their development of Universal Microbial Diagnostics (UMD).  UMD is a radically new way to detect and classify bacteria and other microbials that is fast (minutes rather than days) and efficient. (Double congratulations to Dr. Aghazadeh, who defended his PhD thesis today!)

Rice and Baylor College of Medicine Assistant Professor Xaq Pitkow has received an NSF CAREER award for his project "Distributed Nonlinear Neural Computation." The project will develop new quantitative theories that explain brain function as distributed nonlinear neural computations that implement principles of statistical reasoning. To test these theories, he is collaborating with experimentalists to design and interpret neuroscience experiments that quantify both what information about naturalistic tasks is encoded in neural populations and what aspects of that information are actually decoded.

DSP faculty member Richard Baraniuk is one of 13 Vannevar Bush Faculty Fellows announced today by the U.S. Defense Department.  The fellows program provides extensive, long-term financial support for distinguished university scientists and engineers to pursue “blue sky” basic research that could produce revolutionary new technologies.  The program was launched in 2008 as the National Security Science and Engineering Faculty Fellowship (NSSEFF) program and renamed this year in honor of Vannevar Bush, the famed American engineer and inventor who headed U.S. scientific research during World War II and later helped found the National Science Foundation.  Baraniuk, Rice's Victor E. Cameron Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering, is a leading expert on compressive sensing, a branch of signal processing that enables engineers to glean useful information from far fewer data samples than would typically be required.

DOD press release
Rice University press release

Rice Assistant Professor Anshumali Shrivastava has received an NSF CAREER award for his project "Hashing and Sketching Algorithms for Resource-Frugal Machine Learning." The project will develop new probabilistic hashing techniques to advance state-of-the-art machine learning algorithms. Apart from being exponentially cheaper, the new algorithms will also be massively parallelizable. The project capitalizes on several recent ideas, including asymmetric hashing, hash-based kernels, densified hashing schemes, sub-linear adaptive sampling, and adaptive sketching, to push learning algorithms to the extreme-scale.

Rice Assistant Professor Ashok Veeraraghavan has received an NSF CAREER award for his project "A Signal Processing Framework for Computational Imaging: From Theory to Applications." The project will develop a signal processing framework to develop new imaging systems that see deeper into nature with enhanced microscopes and farther out through consumer cameras for bio-medical, remote sensing, machine vision, and surveillance applications. Since joining Rice from MERL in 2010, Ashok has made his mark at the university through his lab’s development of mobileVision, a simple device to monitor eye health, and FlatCam, a lens-less camera platform project with colleague Richard Baraniuk. Ashok has also been promoted to Associate Professor with tenure, effective July 2017.

Richard Baraniuk, Rice University's Victor E. Cameron Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering, has been elected a Fellow of the National Academy of Inventors.  He is one of 175 academic inventors named this year, and is now among 757 fellows representing 229 research universities and governmental and nonprofit research institutes.  NAI Fellows have demonstrated a prolific spirit of innovation to create or facilitate inventions that have made a tangible impact on quality of life, economic development and the welfare of society.  Combined, they are named inventors on more than 26,000 U.S. patents.

Press release

DSP alum Christoph Studer (postdoc 2010-2012, Assistant Professor at Cornell University) has received an NSF CAREER award for his project "Hardware Accelerated Bayesian Inference via Approximate Message Passing: A Bottom-Up Approach." The project will bridge the ever-growing gap between theory and practice in Bayesian signal processing using a holistic approach that spans the circuit design, algorithm, and theory levels. In addition to improving the efficiency and quality of Bayesian inference in real-time applications, the project will advance future wireless systems through collaboration with the telecommunications industry, along with the development of new tools that are accessible to experts on all levels.

DSP group alum Aswin Sankaranarayanan (Postdoc 2009-2012, Assistant Professor at CMU) has received an NSF CAREER Award for his project "Plenoptic Signal Processing — A Framework for Sampling, Detection, and Estimation using Plenoptic Functions." He will be exploring how light interacts with objects in a scene by studying characterizations of light that go beyond images. A key objective is to study light-object interactions at unprecedented space and time resolutions, thereby advancing research in many disciplines including computer vision, graphics as well as 3D acquisition and printing. Congratulations!

DSP group alums Mark Davenport (PhD 2010, Assistant Professor at Georgia Tech) and Tom Goldstein (Postdoc 2012-14, Assistant Professor at the University of Maryland) have been named 2017 Sloan Research Fellows. The 2017 class of fellows comprises 126 early-career scholars representing the most promising scientific researchers working today (not all have beards). Their achievements and potential place them among the next generation of scientific leaders in the U.S. and Canada. Since 1955, Sloan Research Fellows have gone on to win 43 Nobel Prizes, 16 Fields Medals, 69 National Medals of Science, 16 John Bates Clark Medals, and numerous other distinguished awards. Congratulations!