BUFFALO, N.Y. – The accolades for University at Buffalo
researcher Venu Govindaraju keep coming.
Govindaraju, PhD, SUNY Distinguished Professor of Computer
Science and Engineering, has been elected a fellow of SPIE, an
international society for optics and photonics. The society cited
his research in document recognition and retrieval, and biometrics,
for the honor.
It lauded Govindaraju’s work that enabled machines to
recognize and understand handwriting. “His seminal work in
handwriting recognition was at the core of the first handwritten
address interpretation system” used by the U.S. Postal
Service, according to a SPIE statement.
Developed in the 1990s, the system has helped the Postal Service
save billions of dollars. Postal services in the United Kingdom and
Australia also use the technology.
Govindaraju, director of UB’s Center for Unified
Biometrics and Sensors (CUBS), is currently developing
language-independent handwriting recognition technologies. The
research is funded by a $3.2 million, five-year grant from the
Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency via Raytheon BBN
Technologies. It is one of the largest competitive,
non-infrastructure federal awards at UB.
He is also working on variants of the technology to improve
Internet security, the processing of historical documents for
digital library applications and for online handwriting recognition
to process stylus or finger input on smartphones, tablets and other
The society also praised the “significant
contributions” that Govindaraju has made in biometrics, which
involves identifying people by fingerprints, hand geometry, face
and facial expression, iris scans and other characteristics. His
dissertation on face recognition was one of the earliest forays in
this area of biometrics.
The society noted that Govindaraju has co-authored more than 370
scientific papers and has been the principal investigator or
co-principal investigator on more than $60 million in research
funding. He has supervised the dissertations of 27 doctoral
Govindaraju is one 69 people to be named a SPIE fellow this year
and one of roughly 1,000 members worldwide.
The society, a nonprofit organization founded in 1955, was
originally called the Society of Photographic Instrumentation
Engineers. With roughly 17,000 members, it offers conferences,
continuing education, books, journals and a digital library in
support of interdisciplinary information exchange, professional
growth and patent precedent. It provided $3.3 million in support of
education and outreach programs in 2012.
The honor for Govindaraju is the latest in series that includes
being named a fellow of the:
- American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS)
- Association for Computing Machinery (ACM)
- Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE)
- International Association of Pattern Recognition (IAPR)
- Institute of Electronics and Telecommunication Engineers
Govindaraju belongs to a select group of computer scientists who
have been named fellows at the ACM and IEEE. It signifies the
recognition by Govindaraju’s peers of his contributions to
both the science and engineering areas of computing.
Among the awards he has received are the IEEE’s Technical
Achievement Award in 2010 and the MIT Global Indus Technovator
Award in 2004.
A graduate of the Indian Institute of Technology in Kharagpur,
India, Govindaraju received a master’s and doctoral degree in
computer science from UB.