Five Grainger Engineering faculty members elevated to IEEE Fellows

12/8/2023 Michael O'Boyle

Written by Michael O'Boyle

Left to right: Prashant Mehta (MechSE), Mark Anastasio (BioE), Matthew Caesar (CS), Dušan Stipanović (ISE) and Rakesh Kumar (ECE)

Five faculty members in The Grainger College of Engineering, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign have been elevated to IEEE Fellows in the Class of 2024. One of the most selective and prestigious honors in engineering, fellowship is reserved designation reserved for IEEE members who have “contributed significantly to the advancement of engineering, science, technology, and society-at-large.” No more than 0.1% of the IEEE voting membership may be elevated to Fellows each year.

Associate Dean for Research Harley Johnson said, “We are proud to recognize our faculty members recently elevated to Fellow status in IEEE, a significant honor bestowed by one of the most important professional societies in engineering. IEEE has a broad footprint, like The Grainger College of Engineering, and we are especially pleased to note that our five new fellows represent five different academic departments in our college.”

Mark Anastasio, a Donald Biggar Willett Professor in Engineering and the head of the department of bioengineering, was elevated “for contributions to advanced computed imaging.” He is an expert in image reconstruction from biomedical sensor data. His lab pioneered the technique of photoacoustic computed tomography, or PACT, in which optical and ultrasound imaging are combined to compensate for the limitations of each and data incompleteness. In addition to inventing fundamental algorithms for processing the dual data, they have applied the technique to imaging neurons in humans. He continues to study advanced image reconstruction techniques and how machine learning can assist them.

Anastasio earned a doctorate in medical physics from the University of Chicago in 2001. He was a professor of biomedical engineering at Washington University in St. Louis before he came to the U. of I. in 2019. He is also affiliated with the departments of computer science and electrical & computer engineering, the Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology and the Carle-Illinois College of Medicine at the U. of I.

Matthew Caesar, a professor of computer science, was elevated “for contributions to computer network verification and routing.” He performed foundational work in network verification, or determining whether a computer network has technical flaws or security holes. His work on mathematically modelling networks and developing tools for fast verification is being adopted by Cisco, Google, Microsoft and VMware. He has now turned his attention to “network synthesis,” which aims to construct computer networks that are fundamentally immune to certain kinds of errors.

Caesar earned a doctorate in computer science from the University of California, Berkley in 2007. He co-founded Veriflow, which was sold to VMware in 2019. At AT&T, he co-developed the Routing Control Platform, a route management technology which remains in daily use in their North American IP backbone. He is a member of the DARPA Computer Science Study Group, and he has received the “Test of Time Award” from the USENIX Symposium on Networked Systems Design and Implementation. He is also affiliated with the department of electrical & computer engineering, the Coordinated Science Laboratory and the Information Trust Institute at the U. of I.

Rakesh Kumar, a professor of electrical & computer engineering and a John Bardeen Faculty Scholar, was elevated “for contributions to energy-efficient processor architecture and design.” He has made multiple contributions to the design of efficient computing systems, including the recognition that efficient processing units be heterogeneous multi-core, meaning that they must blend large, powerful cores and small, energy-efficient cores on the same chip. Recently, he and his collaborators invented the first commercially viable microprocessor chip made of flexible plastic.

Kumar earned a doctorate in computer engineering from the University of California, San Diego in 2007. His research has been recognized through an ISCA Influential Paper Award, a MICRO Test-of-Time Award, an ICCAD Ten Year Retrospective Most Influential Paper Award, an ASPDAC 10 Year Retrospective Most Influential Paper Award, and three selections to ISCA-50 Retrospective. His work on plastic chips was chosen as an IEEE Spectrum “biggest semiconductor headline of 2022.”

Prashant Mehta, a professor of mechanical science & engineering, was elevated “for contributions to nonlinear filtering.” Broadly speaking, nonlinear filtering is a mathematical subject concerned with extracting information from noisy data or information. Mehta’s research group invented the feedback particle filter, or FPF algorithm that can operate in the context of simulations when a mathematical model is not available. It has found applications in unmanned aerial vehicle tracking, satellite tracking and re-entry, speech enhancement and human neuron dynamics. His group continues to work on mathematical issues related to nonlinear filtering.

Mehta earned a doctorate in applied mathematics from Cornell University in 2004. Prior to joining the U. of I. in 2005, he worked at United Technologies Research Center where he co-invented the symmetry-breaking solution to suppress combustion instabilities. This solution is widely deployed in jet engines and afterburners sold by Pratt & Whitney. He currently serves as an associate editor for IEEE Transactions on Automatic Control. He is also affiliated with the department of electrical & computer engineering and the Coordinated Science Laboratory.

Dušan Stipanović, a professor of industrial & enterprise systems engineering, has been elevated “for contributions to control of complex systems.” He made seminal contributions to the control of “multi-agent systems” that involve multiple intelligences, like the AI systems that control autonomous vehicles. For the problem of collision avoidance, he provided a mathematical guarantee that it is possible to satisfy multiple objectives simultaneously. He is currently working to implement such “multi-objective controls” in autonomous vehicles and integrate their controls with traffic optimization principles.

Stipanović earned a doctorate in electrical engineering from Santa Clara University in 2000. He was a research associate at Santa Clara University and Stanford University before joining the faculty at the U. of I. in 2004. He is a recipient of the Bessel Award in Mathematics from the Humboldt Foundation and 1,000 Talents Award from the People’s Republic of China. He is also affiliated with the Coordinated Science Laboratory.

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This story was published December 8, 2023.