Robotics Institute faculty member Howie Choset is among four Carnegie Mellon University faculty members appointed to new Kavčić-Moura Professorships — designed to provide sustained, long-term support for scholars across the university whose breakthroughs and discoveries have the potential to impact the world where human life and technology meet.
Choset joins Irene Fonseca, Radu Marculescu and Michael J. Tarr as the first recipients of this recognition. The professorships honor inventors José M. F. Moura and Aleksandar Kavčić, whose scientific research and technological innovations have had a transformative impact on the computing industry for more than a decade and a half.
“We are delighted to honor José and Alek for their groundbreaking work and passionate commitment to advancing research and education at Carnegie Mellon,” said Interim President Farnam Jahanian. “The Kavčić-Moura Professorships will allow us to attract and retain outstanding scholars across a broad spectrum of disciplines, providing the funds for brilliant minds to make innovative advances in their research.”
Moura, the Philip L. and Marsha Dowd University Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering, and Kavčić, a former doctoral student of Moura who is an adjunct faculty member at CMU, developed and patented systems and methods that fundamentally increased the accuracy with which hard disk drive circuits read data from high-speed magnetic disks.
The four faculty members are among the recipients of a series of professorships funded by the university’s proceeds from the 2016 settlement of the patent infringement lawsuit against Marvell Technology Group Ltd. and Marvell Semiconductor Inc. As outlined in 2016, the majority of those proceeds were put into endowment, for the perpetual support of undergraduate financial aid, graduate student fellowships, endowed faculty chairs and cross-campus research initiatives.
A separate set of professorships created by the Kavčić-Moura Endowment Fund set up with funding provided by Moura; Kavčić; Manuela Veloso, the Herbert A. Simon University Professor of Computer Science and head of the Machine Learning Department at CMU; and Sofia Kavčić will be announced in months to come.
Howie Choset, Kavčić-Moura Professor of Computer Science
Choset is a faculty member in the School of Computer Science’s Robotics Institute, where he serves as the co-director of the Biorobotics Lab and as director of the undergraduate robotics major. He also holds courtesy appointments in Electrical and Computer Engineering, Mechanical Engineering and Biomedical Engineering. Choset has made significant contributions to solving challenging and strategic problems in areas such as surgery, manufacturing, infrastructure inspection, and search and rescue with his research program in modular, high degree-of-freedom and multi-robot systems. Choset holds 15 patents and launched several companies with his students, including Medrobotics, Hebi Robotics and Bito Robotics. He also co-led the formation of the Advanced Robotics for Manufacturing Institute, a $250 million public-private collaborative catalyzed by CMU that puts new technologies to work for industry, and serves as its chief technology officer.
Irene Fonseca, Kavčić-Moura University Professor of Mathematics
Fonseca has been a faculty member in the Mellon College of Science since 1987 and is the director of the university’s Center for Nonlinear Analysis. One of the world’s leading researchers in the field of applied mathematics, Fonseca’s research lies at the interface of applied analysis with materials and imaging sciences. In 2012, she became the second woman to be elected president of the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics (SIAM). She is a Fellow of the American Mathematical Society and SIAM. She is a Grand Officer of the Military Order of Saint James of the Sword (Grande Oficial da Ordem Militar de Santiago da Espada, Portuguese Decoration). In 2014, she was named a University Professor, the highest distinction that can be bestowed on a professor at CMU.
Radu Marculescu, Kavčić-Moura Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering
Marculescu, a faculty member in the College of Engineering, received his Ph.D. in electrical engineering from the University of Southern California in 1998. He has received several best paper awards in the area of design automation and embedded systems design. Marculescu has been involved in organizing several international symposia, conferences and workshops, as well as being guest editor of special issues in archival journals and magazines. His research focuses on modelling and optimization of embedded systems, cyber-physical systems and biological systems. Nowadays, he is particularly interested in data and network science approaches that can bring science, engineering and humanities closer together. Marculescu is a fellow of IEEE.
Michael J. Tarr, Kavčić-Moura Professor of Cognitive and Brain Science
Tarr is the head of the Department of Psychology and a member of the Center for the Neural Basis of Cognition (CNBC), both in the Dietrich College of Humanities and Social Sciences, and an affiliated faculty member in the Machine Learning Department in the School of Computer Science. Tarr is the co-founder of Neon Labs. He is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), the American Psychological Society and the Society of Experimental Psychologists, and was a Guggenheim Fellow in 2008. He studies the neural, cognitive and computational mechanisms underlying visual perception and cognition in both humans and machines with a particular emphasis on high-level visual processes such as object, scene and face recognition.
These four professors, as well as Moura and Kavčić, will be honored at a ceremony in March.