2017 Distinguished Educator Award

The CS @ ILLINOIS Distinguished Educator Award honors computer science alumni or faculty members who have made outstanding contributions to computer science education and research, and recognizes those who excel at motivating computer science students.

Nominations for the Distinguished Educator Award are solicited annually from alumni, faculty, and advisory board members. Nominate a fellow alumnus or faculty member today at my.cs.illinois.edu/submit.


Nikil D. Dutt
PhD CS '89
Chancellor's Professor of Computer Science, University of California, Irvine

A Chancellor's Professor of CS, Cognitive Sciences, and EECS at the University of California, Irvine (UCI), Nikil Dutt is well known for his work in embedded systems, electronic design automation, and computer architecture. 

His research projects have addressed topics in high-level synthesis of hardware from abstract behaviors, exploration of novel processor and memory architectures, cross-layer design of embedded systems, and neuromorphic computing.  His research has been recognized by multiple best paper awards at embedded systems and EDA conferences.

Dutt has taught a variety of courses in digital design and embedded systems. His informal teaching style, combined with the ability to explain difficult concepts using real-life examples, has students consistently ranking Dutt among the best teachers in his department. In fact, Dutt has received four UCI campus teaching and mentoring awards. Six of his doctoral students have received academic dissertation-related awards. 

Dutt is a Fellow of the ACM  and the IEEE , and currently serves on the ACM Publications Board, as well as on the advisory boards of several ACM and IEEE groups. He also serves as Associate Director for UCI’s Center for Cognitive Neuroscience & Engineering (CENCE). 

Last updated 2017


Svetlana Lazebnik
MS CS '02, PhD CS '06
Associate Professor, Computer Science, University of Illinois

An Associate Professor of Computer Science at Illinois, Svetlana Lazebnik explores research topics in computer vision, including the joint modeling of images and text, modeling and organizing large-scale photograph collections, object recognition, scene understanding, and machine learning techniques for visual recognition.

For this work, Lazebnik has won a number of prestigious awards, including a Sloan Research Fellowship, an NSF Early CAREER Award, a Microsoft Faculty Fellowship, and a DARPA Computer Science Study Group Award.  She has also received several recognitions at Illinois, including the CS @ ILLINOIS C.W. Gear Outstanding Junior Faculty Award in 2013 and the Dean’s Award for Excellence in Research from College of Engineering that same year.

Last year, Lazebnik was awarded the Longuet-Higgins Prize  for her 2006 IEEE CVPR paper, “Beyond Bags of Features: Spatial Pyramid Matching for Recognizing Natural Scene Categories,” due to its lasting impact on computer vision research, specifically, on scene categorization.  

Lazebnik has taught courses focused on computer vision and artificial intelligence, including deep learning as it is applied to computer vision and language.  She was recognized as an excellent teacher at the University of North Carolina, where she served as an assistant professor before returning to her alma mater in 2012.

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Steven Y. Ko
PhD CS '09
Associate Professor, University of Buffalo, The State University of New York

At the University of Buffalo (UB), Steven Y. Ko has focused much of his research on mobile devices, with a goal of making these devices, which have become so central to our lives, more transparent.

He has experimented with new permissions mechanisms for Android that are based around information flows rather than applications.  His flow analysis techniques also provide promise for better mobile malware detection systems for the platform. Ko’s RTDroid project is investigating the potential for adding real-time guarantees to Android.

In addition to his innovative research in distributed systems, networking, and operating systems, Ko is an excellent instructor. He has been recognized with UB’s Teaching Innovation Award, a campus level award for new methods and approaches to teaching, as well as the Early Career Teacher of the Year Award, given by UB’s School of Engineering and Applied Sciences .  He’s currently Interim Co-Director of Undergraduate Studies for UB’s CSE Department.

Ko’s has been honored for his research excellence with a 2014 National Science Foundation Early CAREER Award, as well as UB’s Young Investigator Award. Earlier this year, Ko co-chaired the 15th International Conference on Mobile Systems, Applications and Services (MobiSys 2017), a top systems conference. Prior to joining UB in 2010, Ko spent a year as a postdoctoral researcher at Princeton University.

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Kishor S. Trivedi
MS CS '72, PhD CS '74
Fitzgerald Hudson Chair, Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Duke University

A member of the faculty at Duke since 1975, Kishor Trivedi has a led a distinguished career with significant research and education contributions to fault-tolerant and dependable computing. His research has focused on reliability, availability, performance and survivability of computer and communication systems, and on software dependability. 

Trivedi has also worked closely with industry in carrying out reliability and availability analyses, providing short courses on reliability, availability, performability modeling, as well as in the development and dissemination of software packages such as SHARPE, SPNP, and SREPT.  In fact, these tools form the core of Boeing's integrated reliability analysis package.

In 1982, Trivedi wrote the well-known and widely used textbook, Probability and Statistics with Reliability, Queuing and Computer Science Applications. He has since co-authored three more books, Performance and Reliability Analysis of Computer Systems, Queueing Networks and Markov Chains, and this year’s Reliability and Availability Engineering.

A prolific scholar and mentor, Trivedi has published more than 600 articles and has supervised 46 PhD dissertations.  Trivedi is a Life Fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers and the recipient of IEEE Computer Society’s Technical Achievement Award for his research on software aging and rejuvenation.

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Marianne Winslett
Professor Emerita, CS @ ILLINOIS

An Illinois Computer Science faculty member since 1987, Marianne Winslett is known for her information management, data security, and scientific database expertise. She was the co-leader of the TrustBuilder project that resulted in the development of new approaches to access control and authentication for use in open computing environments.

Winslett served as the director of the Advanced Digital Sciences Center (2009-13), a University of Illinois research center in Singapore addressing grand challenges in data analytics, health monitoring, smart grid, and interactive digital media. While overseeing ADSC’s educational focus, Winslett led research on ways to guarantee privacy in biomedical data analysis. 

Beyond supervising 24 PhD theses, for more than a decade, Winslett also served as an advisor for first year graduate students and a mentor for female graduate students. Her dedication to the students was recognized in 1999 with the College of Engineering’s Stanley H. Pierce Award.

Winslett was elected an ACM Fellow in 2006, and she received the NSF Presidential Young Investigator Award in 1989.  At Illinois, she was recognized as a University Scholar, one of the highest recognitions for a faculty member. Winslett earned her doctorate in computer science from Stanford University and worked as a member of the technical staff at Bell Labs for two years before coming to Illinois. 

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Martin D. F. Wong
MS Math '81, PhD CS '87
Executive Associate Dean, College of Engineering, University of Illinois

Martin Wong is a leading expert in Electronic Design Automation, or EDA, an indispensable technology for chip design, and he is the executive associate dean of the College of Engineering at the University of Illinois.

He has made significant contributions in the algorithmic aspects of the design of very-large scaled integrated (VLSI) circuits and systems. Those contributions date to his thesis for his 1987 PhD, “Algorithmic Aspects of VLSI Circuit Layout.”

Wong is a prolific scholar, publishing more than 450 papers. In fact, he was recognized in 2015 with the ASP-DAC conference’s Most Frequent Author Award for his contributions over the previous 20 years. He has won six best-paper awards, four for his work on chip floor plan design and wire routing.  

Wong also has an incredible legacy as a mentor, having advised 48 PhD students, three of whom have been recognized by the EDA research community with best PhD dissertation awards.  Because many of his students are now influencing industry, and due to his significant technological contributions to the field, Wong was recognized in 2015 with the inaugural EDA Research Award by Synopsys, a leading EDA company. 

Wong’s research has also been recognized by, among many others, the National Science Foundation, with its Research Initiation Award, and by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers. He is an IEEE Fellow and was an IEEE Circuits and Systems Society Distinguished Lecturer.  Wong has also been honored with ACM SIGDA’s Distinguished Service Award for helping to organize many EDA conferences.

Wong was a member of the faculty at the University of Texas at Austin from 1987 until he returned to Illinois in 2002, where he is currently the Edward C. Jordan Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering.  

Last updated 2017