Electrical Engineering and Computer Science

Alfred O. Hero Receives CoE Stephen S. Attwood Award

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Al Hero

Al Hero, John H. Holland Distinguished University Professor and R. Jamison and Betty Williams Professor of Engineering, received the 2016-2017 Stephen S. Attwood Award, which is the highest honor awarded to a faculty member by the College of Engineering. It recognizes “extraordinary achievement in teaching, research, service, and other activities that have brought distinction to the College and University.”

Prof. Hero is an internationally recognized expert in the field of signal and image processing. He has made fundamental contributions to both the theory and practice of signal processing and data science, while serving in high profile leadership roles and positively impacting the lives of his students.

His recent research interests are data science, bioinformatics and personalized health, statistical signal processing and imaging, correlation mining, statistical machine learning and pattern recognition, wearable wireless sensors, sensor networks, and sensor management.

Prof. Hero and his research group build foundational theory and methodology for data science and engineering. Their projects develop theory and algorithms for data collection, analysis, and visualization that use statistical machine learning and distributed optimization. These findings are then applied to a variety of problems, including network data analysis, personalized health, data-driven physical simulation, materials science, dynamic social media, and database indexing and retrieval.

As co-director of the Michigan Institute for Data Science (MIDAS), Prof. Hero oversees research from a broad array of disciplines, which is a natural fit for his interdisciplinary approach to research.

In addition to his primary appointment in the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, he holds appointments in the Department of Biomedical Engineering and the Department of Statistics. He is also affiliated with the Center for Computational Medicine and Bioinformatics (CCMB), the Graduate Program in Applied and Interdisciplinary Mathematics (AIM), and the Program in Applied Physics.

Hero is also director of the seven-institution MURI called Value-centered Information Theory for Adaptive Learning, Inference, Tracking, and Exploitation. The program aims to lay the foundations for a new systems theory that will be applied especially to sensor data acquisition, processing, control, and management.

An outstanding leader in his profession, Prof. Hero is general co-chair of the 2019 IEEE International Symposium on Information Theory and is the co-chair of the 2016-2017 National Academies Study on Envisioning Data Science Education. He also served as co-chair of the 2016 National Academies Workshop on Refining the Concept of Scientific Interference when Working with Big Data.

He has served on the Board of Directors of IEEE (2009-2011) as Director of Division IX (Signals and Applications), and he served as President of the IEEE Signal Processing Society (2006-07). From 2008 to 2013 he held the Digiteo Chaire d'Excellence at the Ecole Superieure d'Electricite in France. He is a member of the Big Data Special Interest Group (SIG) of the IEEE Signal Processing Society, and since 2011 he has been a member of the Committee on Applied and Theoretical Statistics (CATS) of the U.S. National Academies. He becomes chair of this committee in June 2017.

He has served on the editorial boards of the IEEE Transactions on Information Theory (1995-1998, 1999), the IEEE Transactions on Computational Biology and Bioinformatics (2004-2006), and the IEEE Transactions on Signal Processing (2002, 2004), and is a member of numerous committees of the National Academy of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine.

Prof. Hero has received numerous best paper awards from a variety of sources, including the IEEE Signal Processing Society; the Journal of Flow Cytometry; the IEEE Int. Conference on Acoustics, Speech, and Signal Processing; the Int. Conference on Artificial Intelligence and Statistics; and AISTATS, and the IEEE Int. Conference on Image Processing. He received the Technical Achievement Award and the Society Award from the IEEE Signal Processing Society in 2013 and 2015, respectively.

He co-authored the textbook, Foundations and Applications of Sensor Management in 2008, and is co-editor of the book Big Data Over Networks (2016). Prof. Hero has published approx. 600 journal and conference papers, has 4 patents, and is a Fellow of IEEE. He has graduated over 50 doctoral students and mentored over 25 postdocs, many of whom are now in academic positions and prestigious research labs. Throughout his career, he has taught twelve different courses, ranging from sophomore to doctoral level.

Prof. Hero received a bachelor's degree in electrical engineering from Boston University, and master's and doctoral degrees in electrical engineering from Princeton University. He joined the University of Michigan Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science in 1984.


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Posted: January 17, 2017