My research draws from the areas of machine learning,
probabilistic modeling of information, geometry of physical
and data spaces, the theory of
computational complexity, and notions important to
programming languages and software design:
I like to use these foundational ideas to solve interesting problems in sensor networks, robotics (including computer vision), and software engineering. Here are some of the key contributions my lab has made during the last five years:
With regard to sensor networks, I am as interested in the networking aspects of wireless cameras working together as I am in how distributed computations can be carried out in such networks. My interest in wireless sensor networks has also taken me into the domain of computer and network security because when you try to create wireless-based systems for distributed intelligence, you have no choice but to pay close attention to the security aspects of the communication between the nodes.
With regard to robotics and computer vision, I am particularly interested in issues related to object tracking and visual servoing.
I am also strongly interested in high-level programming languages and those aspects of software engineering that relate to lending organization to software so that it can be extended and maintained easily.
If you are a student and if you wish to work with me, there are a number of entry points into my research. I believe any research-minded student with a background in computer-related, signal-processing-related, or controls-related areas could do productive work along the lines of my research. At some point, the student would need to take our courses in networking, computer vision, machine learning, data mining, etc. The math courses that are useful for this kind of research are those that deal with graph theory, differential geometry, algebraic topology, etc.
Over the years I have noticed that the students who excel in the kinds of things I do are those who are intrigued by how humans think, by the mysteries of human perceptual faculties, and by the question of whether or not computers can be endowed with any of human sensori-motor capabilities, even at primitive levels.
Students who have finished their Ph.D under my supervision (fiftyfour so far) have gone on to occupy challenging positions in academia and industry. Universities where some of these students currently work include University of Illinois, Ohio State, University of California, KAIST, and others, and those who are in industry have gone to places like IBM, GE, AT&T, Interval, Apple, SRI International, Siemens Research, Adept Robotics, Analogic, Honeywell, Sandia Labs, ERIM, TASK, and others.
The RVL alumni who have attained the highest rank in academia include Kim Boyer, formerly a full Professor of ECE at Ohio-State University and now a Dean of the College of Engineering, State University of New York, Albany; Seth Hutchinson, used to be a professor at the University of Illinois and is now a distinguished professor at Georgia Tech; Chi-Ren Shyu, a distinguished professor in the College of Engineering of the University of Missouri; Mostafa Fatemi, full professor of biomedical engineering at the Mayo Clinic, and Hyun Yang, a full professor at KAIST in Korea. And, the RVL alumnus who has risen the highest in industry is Carl Crawford, formerly a Vice-President at Analogic Corporation and currently an independent consultant to industry and to the Department of Homeland Security.
For a fuller account of my former students who have become luminaries in their own right, you'd need to know about Charles Jakowatz, Carl Crawford, Malcolm Slaney, David Nahamoo, Mostafa Fatemi, Keith Andress, Hyun Yang, Akio Kosaka, Chi-Ren Shyu, Hyun Yang, Seth Hutchinson, Henry Medeiros, Bunyamin Sisman, Shivani Rao and several others. Charles "Jack" Jakowatz, my first Ph.D. student, has become one of the leading figures in the country in synthetic aperture imaging. An author of a well-known text on the topic of synthetic aperture imaging, Jack is currently a group leader at Sandia Nation Lab. Carl Crawford holds several key patents in CT imaging and is currently an Associate Editor of the IEEE Transactions on Medical Imaging. Besides being a co-author on one of my books, Mostafa Fatemi is a professor of biomedical engineerint at the Mayo Clinic and a key developer of several ultrasound based diagnostic toools. Malcolm Slaney was one of the key researchers at Interval Corporation, a new west-coast company that was established by the Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen as an incubator of new ideas in high technology. Malcolm is now with Google Research in California. David Nahamoo is the Head of the Human Languages Technologies Department at the IBM T. J. Watson Research Center, Yorktown Heights, NY. He was much in the news several years back when his 60-person group developed the much talked about ViaVoice and MedSpeak voice recognition IBM products. Keith Andress is currently the Director of Software Engineering at Seimens Medical Solutions, Nuclear Medicine Group. Hyun Yang, as a professor in the prestigious Korea Advanced Insitute of Technology, has emerged as one of the leading researchers in Korea in areas such as neural networks and robotics. Chi-Ren Shyu is a distinguished professor at the University of Missouri and the Director of the Informatics Institute there. Akio Kosaka, in his capacity as a member of the research staff of Olympus Corporation in Japan, is investigating new ways of combining computer image processing with digital imaging devices. Seth Hutchinson, now a distinguished professor at Georgia Tech, has made a name for himself by doing pioneering work in vision-guided servoing of robots. Johnny Park owns what is surely one of the most successful startups in Purdue Research Park --- the name of his company is Spensa. Henry Medeiros has joined the faculty at Marquette University. I tried very hard to keep Henry at Purdue, but he had what is now commonly called the two-body problem, meaning that he could only go to an organization that offered both him and his wife faculty positions.