De Floriani Completes Term as IEEE CS President, Seeks New Leadership Role

Jul 16, 2021

After completing her term as 2020 president of the IEEE Computer Society (IEEE CS), a University of Maryland expert in spatial data science, geometric modeling, and scientific visualization is now seeking another leadership role in IEEE.

Leila De Floriani, a professor of geographical sciences with an appointment in the University of Maryland Institute for Advanced Computer Studies, recently announced her candidacy to serve as an IEEE Division VIII Delegate.

Division delegates provide senior leadership for IEEE, which is the world’s largest professional association for the advancement of technology. The organization currently has 400,000-plus members from more than 160 countries.

As a division delegate, De Floriani says she would continue to advocate for forward-looking concepts similar to those she advanced during her term as president of IEEE CS.

This includes improving communication services for non-English speaking members, and engaging researchers and practitioners in emerging areas of science, engineering and technology on a global scale.

De Floriani says that enhancing inclusiveness at IEEE is another major goal she will pursue, if elected as a division delegate.

“I would like to improve diversity through expanded outreach activities to increase the involvement of women and other underrepresented groups—both as volunteers and in leadership positions—at publications, conferences and in the organization’s governance,” De Floriani says.

In reflecting on her tenure as president of IEEE CS, De Floriani notes that she assumed the role just as the COVID-19 pandemic was wreaking havoc on a global scale.

“It was my great honor and privilege to serve as the computer society president during a year of extremes,” she says. “But collectively, we did not just merely survive—we found new creative and innovative ways to thrive and move forward.”

Amitabh Varshney, professor and dean of the College of Computer, Mathematical, and Natural Sciences at the University of Maryland and an IEEE Fellow, echoes De Floriani’s comments.

“While leading a large and diverse an organization like IEEE CS is always challenging, it was even more so in such tumultuous times as we witnessed last year,” Varshney says. “Leila led a monumental effort in moving more than 120 IEEE conferences online during this time. I expect she will continue to provide excellent leadership if elected as a division delegate.”

De Floriani is a Fellow of IEEE, the International Association for Pattern Recognition, and the Eurographics Association. She is also a Pioneer of the Solid Modeling Association and an inducted member of the IEEE Visualization Academy.

She has authored more than 300 peer-reviewed scientific publications in data visualization, geospatial data representation and processing, computer graphics, geometric modeling, and shape analysis and understanding.

Her research has been funded by numerous national and international agencies, including the European Commission and the National Science Foundation. She also worked as a professor at the University of Genova, Italy and has held several positions at academic and research institutions in the U.S. and Europe.

Story by Maria Herd