Hanan Samet

Distinguished University Professor
4425 A.V. Williams Building
(301) 405-1755
Ph.D., Stanford University
Special Awards/Honors: 
ACM Fellow, IAPR Fellow, IEEE Fellow, AAAS Fellow, 2009 University Consortium for Geographic Information Science (UCGIS) Research Award, 2011 Paris Kanellakis Theory and Practice Award

Hanan Samet is a Distinguished University Professor of computer science.

He leads a number of research projects on the use of hierarchical data structures for database applications involving multimedia data such as spatial and image databases. Samet's research group has developed the SAND spatial browser, the VASCO system of JAVA applets for visualizing and animating spatial indexes, and the MARCO system for map retrieval by content, which enables pictorial queries on a symbolic image database system.

He is the author of "Foundations of Multidimensional and Metric Data Structures" (Morgan-Kaufmann, San Francisco, CA, 2006), which received an Honorable Mention Award (one of two with one first place winner) in the 2006 best book in Computer and Information Science competition from the Professional and Scholarly Publishers (PSP) Group of the American Publishers Association (AAP). Samet is also the author of "Design and Analysis of Spatial Data Structures" and "Applications of Spatial Data Structures: Computer Graphics, Image Processing and GIS" (Addison-Wesley, Reading, MA, 1990), which are the first two books on spatial data structures.

He is a fellow of the ACM, IEEE, and the International Association of Pattern Recognition (IAPR). From 1989 to 1991 he served as the Capital region representative on the ACM Council.

He is the recipient of the 2009 UCGIS Research Award and received best paper awards in the 2008 SIGMOD Conference, the 2008 SIGSPATIAL ACMGIS'08 Conference, and the 2007 Computers & Graphics Journal. Samet's paper at the 2009 IEEE International Conference on Data Engineering (ICDE) was selected as one of the best papers for publication in the IEEE Transactions on Knowledge and Data Engineering.

In his pioneering research since the 1980s on quadtrees and other data structures, as well as his well-received books, Samet has profoundly influenced the theory and application of multidimensional spatial data structures. His contributions to, and application of, incremental nearest neighbor search, metric navigation of spatial structures, and spatial data mining exemplify the breadth of his work, the impact of which can be seen in a wide array of practical applications.

In addition to this body of work, his 1975 doctoral thesis on formal proofs of correctness of compilers, and the symbolic execution of compiled execution sequences, was among the earliest contributions to the field that twenty years later became known as translation validation for compilers.

He has a doctorate from Stanford University.



Sankaranarayanan J, Alborzi H, Samet H.  2005.  Efficient query processing on spatial networks. Proceedings of the 13th annual ACM international workshop on Geographic information systems.

Samet H, Tanin E, Golubchik L.  2005.  Scalable data collection infrastructure for digital government applications. Proceedings of the 2005 national conference on Digital government research.

Samet H.  2005.  Indexing issues in supporting similarity searching. Advances in Multimedia Information Processing-PCM 2004.


Samet H, Brabec F, Sankaranarayanan J.  2004.  Importing abstract spatial data into the SAND database system. Proceedings of the 2004 annual national conference on Digital government research.

Iwerks GS, Samet H, Smith KP.  2004.  Maintenance of Spatial Semijoin Queries on Moving Points. Proceedings 2004 VLDB ConferenceProceedings 2004 VLDB Conference.

Lee M, De Floriani L, Samet H.  2004.  Constant-time navigation in four-dimensional nested simplicial meshes. Shape Modeling Applications, 2004. Proceedings.

David P, DeMenthon D, Duraiswami R, Samet H.  2004.  SoftPOSIT: Simultaneous pose and correspondence determination. International Journal of Computer Vision. 59(3):259-284.

Tanin E, Harwood A, Samet H, Nutanong S, Truong M T.  2004.  A serverless 3D world. Proceedings of the 12th annual ACM international workshop on Geographic information systems.

Tanin E, Harwood A, Samet H.  2004.  Indexing distributed complex data for complex queries. Proceedings of the 2004 annual national conference on Digital government research.


Iwerks GS, Samet H.  2003.  The internet spatial spreadsheet: enabling remote visualization of dynamic spatial data and ongoing query results over a network. Proceedings of the 11th ACM international symposium on Advances in geographic information systems.

Iwerks GS, Samet H, Smith K.  2003.  Continuous k-nearest neighbor queries for continuously moving points with updates. Proceedings of the 29th international conference on Very large data bases-Volume 29.

Golubchik L, Cheng WC, Chou CF, Khuller S, Samet H, Wan YCJ.  2003.  Digital Government-Bistro: A Scalable and Secure Data Transfer Service for Digital Government Applications. Communications of the ACM-Association for Computing Machinery-CACM. 46(1):50-51.

Brabec F, Samet H, Yilmaz C.  2003.  VASCO: visualizing and animating spatial constructs and operations. Proceedings of the nineteenth annual symposium on Computational geometry.

Hjaltason GR, Samet H.  2003.  Index-driven similarity search in metric spaces (Survey Article). ACM Trans. Database Syst.. 28(4):517-580.

Hjaltason GR, Samet H.  2003.  Improved search heuristics for the sa-tree. Pattern Recognition Letters. 24(15):2785-2795.

Hoel EG, Samet H.  2003.  Data-parallel polygonization. Parallel Computing. 29(10):1381-1401.

Samet H.  2003.  Depth-first k-nearest neighbor finding using the MaxNearestDist estimator. Image Analysis and Processing, 2003.Proceedings. 12th International Conference on.

Golubchik L, Cheng WC, Chou C-F, Khuller S, Samet H, Wan JC.  2003.  Bistro: a scalable and secure data transfer service for digital government applications. Communications of the ACM. 46(1):50-51.

Jacox EH, Samet H.  2003.  Iterative spatial join. ACM Trans. Database Syst.. 28(3):230-256.

David P, DeMenthon D, Duraiswami R, Samet H.  2003.  Simultaneous pose and correspondence determination using line features. Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition, 2003. Proceedings. 2003 IEEE Computer Society Conference on. 2:II-424-II-431vol.2-II-424-II-431vol.2.

Hjaltason GR, Samet H.  2003.  Properties of embedding methods for similarity searching in metric spaces. Pattern Analysis and Machine Intelligence, IEEE Transactions on. 25(5):530-549.

Samet H, Alborzi H, Brabec F, Esperança C, Hjaltason GR, Morgan F, Tanin E.  2003.  Use of the SAND spatial browser for digital government applications. Commun. ACM. 46(1):61-64.

Tanin E, Samet H.  2003.  Improving access to large volumes of online data. Proceedings of the 2003 annual national conference on Digital government research.

Sankaranarayanan J, Tanin E, Samet H, Brabec F.  2003.  Accessing diverse geo-referenced data sources with the SAND spatial DBMS. Proceedings of the 2003 annual national conference on Digital government research.

Marchionini G, Samet H, Brandt L.  2003.  Digital government. Communications of the ACM. 46(1):25-27.


Neumann J, Samet H, Soffer A.  2002.  Integration of local and global shape analysis for logo classification. Pattern Recognition Letters. 23(12):1449-1457.

Danovaro E, De Floriani L, Lee M, Samet H.  2002.  Multiresolution tetrahedral meshes: an analysis and a comparison. Shape Modeling International, 2002. Proceedings.

Tanin E, Samet H.  2002.  APPOINT: an Approach for Peer-to-Peer Offloading the INTernet. Proceedings of the 2002 annual national conference on Digital government research.

Tanin E, Brabec F, Samet H.  2002.  Remote access to large spatial databases. Proceedings of the 10th ACM international symposium on Advances in geographic information systems.

Samet H, Filho G G.  2002.  A Linear Iterative Approach for Hierarchical Shortest Path Finding. Technical Reports from UMIACS, UMIACS-TR-2002-97.

Samet H, Brabec F.  2002.  Remote thin-client access to spatial database systems. Proceedings of the 2002 annual national conference on Digital government research.

Samet H, Kochut A.  2002.  Octree approximation and compression methods. Proc. of the 1st Intl. Symp. on 3D Data Processing, Visualization, and Transmission.

Folkers A, Samet H.  2002.  Content-based image retrieval using Fourier descriptors on a logo database. Pattern Recognition, 2002. Proceedings. 16th International Conference on. 3:521-524vol.3-521-524vol.3.

David P, DeMenthon D, Duraiswami R, Samet H.  2002.  Evaluation of the SoftPOSIT Model-to-Image Registration Algorithm. Technical Reports from UMIACS, UMIACS-TR-2002-22.


Soffer A, Samet H, Zotkin DN.  1998.  Pictorial query trees for query specification in image databases. Fourteenth International Conference on Pattern Recognition, 1998. Proceedings. 1:919-921vol.1-919-921vol.1.


Liang S, Davis LS, Townshend J, Chellappa R, DeFries R, Dubayah R, Goward S, JaJa JF, Krishnamachar S, Roussopoulos N et al..  1995.  Land cover dynamics investigation using parallel computers. Geoscience and Remote Sensing Symposium, 1995. IGARSS '95. 'Quantitative Remote Sensing for Science and Applications', International. 1:332-334vol.1-332-334vol.1.