Eight UMIACS Faculty Receive Academic Promotions

Jul 01, 2024

Eight faculty members in the University of Maryland Institute for Advanced Computer Studies (UMIACS) have received academic promotions in recognition of their continued excellence in research, scholarship and service to the campus community and beyond.

Two of the eight—Min Wu in electrical and computer engineering and John Horty in philosophy—were each named a Distinguished University Professor, considered the most prominent academic distinction on campus.

Naomi Feldman in linguistics, Jordan Boyd-Graber in computer science, Irina Muresanu from the School of Music, and Katie Shilton from the College of Information, have been promoted from associate professor to professor.

Furong Huang and Abhinav Shrivastava, both in computer science, have been promoted from assistant professor to associate professor with tenure.

“All of these faculty are active in research and scholarship that has an impact—and we like to think that the support they receive from UMIACS has played a crucial role in their success,” says Mihai Pop, a professor of computer science and director of UMIACS.

The eight faculty receiving promotions represent six different academic units on the UMD campus, Pop adds, highlighting the truly interdisciplinary nature of UMIACS.

Wu came to UMD in 2001. An expert in digital forensics and multimedia signal processing, she is a leader in the broader research community of signal processing and information security. Outside of her activities at UMD, she is currently president of the IEEE Signal Processing Society, the world’s premier association for engineers and industry professionals involved with signal processing.

Horty, who has affiliate appointments in UMIACS and computer science, joined UMD in 1990 and served as chair of philosophy from 2009–2012. His research interests also include logic, AI, ethics, epistemology and the philosophy of language and law. His work has been supported by the National Endowment for Humanities and several grants from the National Science Foundation (NSF), as well as a Humboldt Research Award.

Feldman, who is also affiliated with computer science and the Language Science Center, focuses her research on computational psycholinguistics. She uses methods from statistics, machine learning and automatic speech recognition to formalize questions about how people learn and represent the structure of their language.

Boyd-Graber, who also has an appointment in the College of Information, focuses on making machine learning more useful, more interpretable, and able to learn and interact from humans. This helps users sift through decades of documents; discover when individuals lie, reframe or change the topic in a conversation; or to compete against humans in games that are based in natural language.

Muresanu, who has an affiliate appointment in UMIACS, has collaborated with computer visualization experts in UMIACS to produce "Four Strings Around the Virtual World,” a virtual reality program featuring Muresanu as a hologram in international locations. She is currently working with UMIACS researchers to refine an AI-powered platform that provides real-time auditory feedback to students practicing at home.

Shilton, who has an affiliate appointment in UMIACS, conducts research on ethics and policy for the design of information technologies, systems and collections. She is a co-PI at the Institute for Trustworthy AI in Law and Society (TRAILS), where she guides the participatory design research thrust, advocating for the deployment and use of AI in a way that aligns with the values and interests of diverse groups of people.

Huang focuses on applying theoretical principles to solve practical challenges in contemporary computing, sequential decision-making, and high-dimensional statistics. Her research centers on creating reliable and interpretable machine learning models that operate effectively in real-world settings.

Shrivastava’s research focuses on AI—particularly as it relates to computer vision, machine learning, and robotics. He is also involved in related fields such as graphics, natural language processing, human-computer interaction, systems, data-mining, and cognitive and computational neuroscience.

—Story by Melissa Brachfeld, UMIACS communications group