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Forsyth Named ACM Fellow

CS Professor David Forsyth has been named a Fellow by the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM). He is one of 50 so honored for 2013, and he was recognized “for contributions to computer vision,” according to the ACM press release.

David Forsyth
David Forsyth

The ACM Fellows Program celebrates the exceptional contributions of the leading members in the computing field. These individuals have helped to enlighten researchers, developers, practitioners and end-users of information technology throughout the world. These new ACM Fellows join a distinguished list of colleagues to whom ACM and its members look for guidance and leadership in computing and information technology.

Forsyth is well-known for his research in geometric methods in object recognition, interpreting color images, the interaction of words and pictures in an image, shading and reconstruction, among other topics. “If it’s got a picture in it, I’m interested in it,” said Forsyth.

Some recent work Forsyth has done with his student Kevin Karsh has developed methods for embedding computer generated objects into legacy photographs. Forsyth sees applications for this work in such fields as real estate, in which potential home buyers can place images of furniture into photos of empty rooms, or for furniture companies to allow customers to see what a new piece of furniture would look like in a photo of their home. 

Forsyth first became interested in computer vision as an undergraduate at the University of Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, South Africa. There he did an undergraduate final project on particle sized distribution analysis using photographs. This was an important project for local gold mining companies, and set Forsyth off on his career in computer vision. “I got involved in that, and I found it interesting,” said Forsyth.

He then went to the UK to complete his graduate work. From there, he went on to positions at the University of Iowa and the University of California, Berkeley. Forsyth has been at the University of Illinois since 2004.

Forsyth finds the mystery of vision to be compelling. “One of the biggest mysteries about how people work is how they see, which is still extremely poorly understood,” he said. “I think what I like the most about this work is we understand it so poorly and it’s so fundamental a mystery.”

Forsyth is co-author of Computer Vision: A Modern Approach (Prentice Hall), now in its second edition. In 1992 he received a both a Research Initiative Award and a Young Investigator Award from the National Science Foundation. He received the IEEE Technical Achievement Award in 2006 and was named an IEEE Fellow in 2009.

The 2013 class of ACM Fellows will be formally recognized in June at the association’s annual awards banquet held in San Francisco.