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Campus News

Govindaraju named interim vice president for research and economic development

By CORY NEALON

Published September 8, 2014

Venu Govindaraju

“We are fortunate to have the benefit of Dr. Govindaraju's leadership in this important capacity, and we are grateful for his willingness to undertake this key role.”
President Satish K. Tripathi

Venu Govindaraju, SUNY Distinguished Professor of Computer Science and Engineering, has been named interim vice president for research and economic development, UB President Satish K. Tripathi and Provost Charles F. Zukoski announced today.

His appointment is effective Sept. 13. As interim vice president for research and economic development, Govindaraju will report jointly to the president and the provost.

Govindaraju succeeds Alexander N. Cartwright, who is leaving UB this month to become provost and executive vice chancellor of the State University of New York system.

“As an internationally renowned scholar who has had a tremendous impact on our university’s research enterprise while making transformative contributions to his field at a global level, Dr. Govindaraju brings tremendous expertise to this interim leadership position,” Tripathi said.  “We are fortunate to have the benefit of his leadership in this important capacity, and we are grateful for his willingness to undertake this key role.”

Govindaraju’s appointment, Zukoski said, “demonstrates our institutional commitment to building on the momentum we are experiencing as a campus community.  We are advancing an exciting research and development program and are very pleased to have one of our most accomplished faculty members step into this senior leadership role at this time,” he said.

Govindaraju is an internationally recognized expert in machine learning and pattern recognition.  His research focuses on applying these techniques to biometrics, which involves identifying people by fingerprints, hand geometry, facial features and other characteristics, as well as document recognition and retrieval.

His seminal work in handwriting recognition was at the core of the first handwritten address interpretation system used by the US Postal Service.  The system has helped the Postal Service save billions of dollars.  He also was responsible for transferring the technology to Lockheed Martin and Siemens Corp., which led to the system being used by UK Royal Mail and Australia Post.

Govindaraju has an extraordinary sponsored funding record in support of his research, where he has been the principal investigator or co-principal investigator on roughly $65 million in research funding. He has active awards from the National Science Foundation, the Department of Defense, and industrial sponsors such as Qualcomm and Raytheon BBN Technologies.

He is currently developing language-independent handwriting recognition technologies, and is working on variants of the technology to improve Internet security, the processing of historical documents for digital library applications and online handwriting recognition to process stylus or finger input on smartphones, tablets and other touch-input devices.

As director of UB’s Center for Unified Biometrics and Sensors (CUBS), Govindaraju has made significant contributions in the area of biometrics and was instrumental in UB’s designation as a National Science Foundation Center for Identification Technology Research (CITeR). He also serves as the director of the UB2020 Information and Computing Technology (ICT) Strategic Strength and the Computational and Data-enabled Science and Engineering (CDSE) program.

Govindaraju has co-authored about 400 scientific papers and has supervised the dissertations of 30 doctoral students.  Among the awards he has received are the Distinguished Alumnus Award from the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) in 2014, IEEE’s Technical Achievement Award in 2010 and the MIT Global Indus Technovator Award in 2004.

Govindaraju belongs to a select group of computer scientists who have been named fellows of both the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) and the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE). It signifies the recognition by Govindaraju’s peers of his contributions to both the science and engineering areas of computing. In addition he is a fellow of prestigious societies, such as AAAS (American Association for the Advancement of Science), the IAPR (International Association of Pattern Recognition), and the SPIE (International Society of Optics and Photonics).

A graduate of the Indian Institute of Technology in Kharagpur, India, Govindaraju received master’s and doctoral degrees in computer science from UB.