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Han named Bliss Professor

4/28/2011 2:02:00 PM

University of Illinois computer science professor Jiawei Han was among six College of Engineering faculty members to be recognized with Bliss Professorships.  Han joins Stephen A. Boppart and Kent D. Choquette, electrical and computer engineering; Philippe H. Geubelle, aerospace engineering; David Ruzic, nuclear, plasma and radiological engineering; and Albert J. Valocchi, civil and environmental engineering in this honor.

Jiawei Han
Jiawei Han
Illinois computer science professor Jiawei Han

The generous Bliss bequest, established by Helen Eva Bliss in memory of Abel Bliss Jr., is used to advance scholarly activities in the College of Engineering. Holders of college professorships are nominated by the dean upon recommendation of the College Advisory Committee on Endowed Appointments and approval of the Provost. Faculty members with named professorships are bestowed to recognize leaders who are among the most talented and accomplished on our faculty.

Han’s groundbreaking and highly influential research has made him one of the top computer scientists in the world. With a focus on knowledge discovery and data mining, data warehousing, and database systems, he is recognized as a pioneer in the field. Han was the first to introduce a pattern-growth methodology for mining frequent, sequential, and structured patterns, as well as the first to develop a set of important algorithms for mining such patterns. These methodologies have been extremely influential in subsequent research and are widely used. Google Scholar lists Han as the second most cited author in the field of data mining with his FP growth algorithm cited more than 3,700 times. This algorithm or its variations have been introduced in most data mining textbooks and has been used at various companies such as Google and Microsoft.

He is the current director of the Informational Network Academic Research Center funded by the Army Research Lab, and he is the project leader or member for research funded by NASA, NSF, MURI (AFSOR), DHS, and Boeing. Since joining the Department of Computer Science in 2001, Han has graduated 23 PhD students and currently advises 18 graduate students. He has published 575 research publications, and his textbook, Data Mining: Concepts and Techniques, is used worldwide in undergraduate and graduate-level data mining courses. This spring, Han was honored with the College’s Tau Beta Pi/Daniel C. Drucker Eminent Faculty Award.

About the Bliss Professorship in Engineering
The Bliss Professor of Engineering is the result of a bequest from the late Helen Eva Bliss in memory of her father, Abel Bliss Jr. Miss Bliss graduated from the University of Illinois in 1911 with a degree in Liberal Arts and Sciences. Early in her career, she taught engineering at a Shreveport, Louisiana, high school, and later did clerical work with the Bureau of Aircraft Production in Washington, D.C. From 1936 until her retirement in 1962, she worked for the Washington law firm of Ivins, Phillips & Barker as an executive secretary.

Her father, Abel Bliss Jr., entered the University in 1872 to study civil engineering, but was forced to leave the University before completing his degree. In June of 1874, the University granted him a partial certificate in civil engineering. His business ventures included agriculture and real estate, and by 1929, he was a partner in the land development and oil production company of Bliss & Wetherbee. Mr. Bliss died in the mid-1930s. A portion of the Bliss bequest went to support the Grainger Engineering Library and Information Center Endowment as well as other projects for “advancing the scholastic activities of the School of Engineering.”