Abdelzaher, Lazebnik and Rosu Named 2021 IEEE Fellows

12/11/2020 Laura Schmitt, Illinois CS

Three CS faculty were selected as Fellows of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers in recognition for their extraordinary contributions to any of the organization’s fields of interest.

Written by Laura Schmitt, Illinois CS

Three CS faculty were selected as Fellows of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) in recognition for their extraordinary contributions to any of the organization’s fields of interest. In all, 282 men and women were selected as 2021 IEEE Fellows.

Tarek Abdelzaher
Tarek Abdelzaher

Tarek Abdelzaher, the Sohaib and Sara Abbasi Professor in Computer Science, was selected for contributions to cyber-physical systems and real-time computing. A prolific researcher with more than 350 publications, Abdelzaher is also known for his work on social sensing, which involves analyzing and measuring media where social signals interact with complex physical and information environments.

His work has applications where computer-driven devices interact with unpredictable, dynamic environments or remote ecosystems.

He also developed theory and tools for understanding systems that feature collaboration between human networks and embedded devices, such as sensors.

Abdelzaher is currently the academic leader of a $25 million Army Research Lab (ARL-funded) project that is developing the scientific foundations of next-generation Internet of Battlefield Things (IoBT) technology. The initiative, which includes university, industry, and ARL researchers, will produce new predictive battlefield analytics and services.

In another area of inquiry, Abdelzaher has studied how information propagates through social media. This past spring, he and his students repurposed their information propagation models to predict COVID-19 spread.

Abdelzaher received the IEEE Outstanding Technical Achievement and Leadership Award in Real-time Systems in 2012, and he was elected an ACM Fellow in 2019. He received a Grainger College of Engineering Xerox Award for Faculty Research in 2011.

Svetlana Lazebnik
Svetlana Lazebnik

CS Professor and Willett Faculty Scholar Svetlana Lazebnik was selected for contributions to computer vision. Her research explores ways to understand images by recognizing and describing their content.

From robotics to human-computer interaction, there are many real-world tasks that would benefit from practical, large-scale systems that can identify objects in scenes based on language and understand language based on visual context. Her research group develops neural models for specific image-language scenarios, from grounding of natural language phrases in image regions to automatic image captioning, visual question answering, and visual dialogue.

She introduced one of the first benchmarks and standard datasets for visual grounding—Flickr30K Entities—which she co-developed with professor Julia Hockenmaier and has become standard in the community.

She and her students have also developed systems for advanced applications such as automatic image captioning, visual question answering, and visual dialog.

Among her other accolades, Lazebnik has received a 2008 NSF CAREER award, 2009 Microsoft Research Faculty Fellowship, 2013 Sloan Research Fellowship, 2016 Longuet-Higgins Prize at the Conference on Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition, and 2020 Grainger Engineering Dean’s Award for Excellence in Research by an associate professor.

Grigore Rosu
Grigore Rosu

Grigore Rosu was selected for contributions to runtime verification and programming language semantics. Early in his career, he and a research colleague at NASA coined the term runtime verification, which is an approach for analyzing software programs as they execute and using that analysis to find bugs. Rosu has played a key role in advancing runtime verification as a formal verification and software engineering technique.

He is also the creator of the K framework, which enables language developers to mathematically define any programming language. The K framework can formally verify the accuracy of smart contracts used in cryptocurrency transactions, making it harder for hackers to steal the virtual currency.

Rosu has commercialized these technologies through his startup company, Runtime Verification Inc., which makes tools that improve the safety, reliability, and correctness of software systems. Boeing, Denso, NASA, and Toyota are among the organizations that have adopted Runtime Verification products.

In addition to the IEEE Fellow honor, Rosu is the recipient of a 2005 NSF CAREER award, Illinois CS department’s 2005 C.W. Gear Outstanding Junior Faculty Award, 2014 Grainger College of Engineering Dean’s Award for Excellence in Research, and several of his papers have received highest honors from major conferences.

About IEEE and IEEE Fellows

The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineering (IEEE) is the world’s largest technical professional organization dedicated to advancing technology for the benefit of humanity. Through its highly cited publications, conferences, technology standards, and professional and educational activities, IEEE is the trusted voice in a wide variety of areas ranging from aerospace systems, computers, and telecommunications to biomedical engineering, electric power, and consumer electronics. IEEE Fellow is a distinction reserved for select IEEE members whose extraordinary accomplishments in any of the IEEE fields of interest are deemed fitting of this prestigious grade elevation. 

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This story was published December 11, 2020.