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UCSD Jacobs School of Engineering

NAE Selects UCSD Computer Vision Expert for 2005 Frontiers of Engineering Forum

Serge Belongie

San Diego, CA, July 17, 2005 -- One of the Jacobs School of Engineering's youngest faculty members has been selected to participate in the National Academy of Engineering's annual U.S. Frontiers of Engineering symposium. Computer Science and Engineering professor Serge Belongie, 30, is one of only 88 of the nation's "brightest young engineers" invited to attend the three-day event in September.

The 11th annual Frontiers of Engineering Symposium will take place at the General Electric Global Research Center in Niskayuna, New York from Sept. 22-24. It brings together engineers between the ages of 30 and 45 who are performing cutting-edge engineering research and technical work in a variety of disciplines. The participants were nominated by fellow engineers in a competitive process and chosen from among 220 nominees. Only 35 of the attendees are from academic institutions, with others hailing from corporate and government research laboratories.

Belongie is one of only three researchers selected from the entire University of California system. He will be joined by fellow UCSD project scientist Aaron Thode of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography (an expert in undersea acoustics), and chemical engineer Truc-Nam Dinh of UC Santa Barbara.

The 2005 symposium will explore the engineering of complex systems, engineering for developing communities, energy, and aspects of identification and verification technologies. The latter is Belongie's area of expertise, including biometrics and computer vision. Speakers at the symposium will include well-known experts in the fields of face recognition, radio-frequency identification and activity recognition, and fingerprint recognition.

Belongie's research for his Ph.D. at UC Berkeley was in object recognition, and he co-authored the central algorithm for the world's first mass-market fingerprint recognition device, built by Digital Persona, a company he co-founded before joining the Jacobs School as its youngest faculty member in 2000.

The computer scientist recently received a five-year Early Faculty Career Development (CAREER) Award from the National Science Foundation to fund his research aimed at facilitating recognition and tracking by computers of moving, non-rigid objects such as animals and humans in motion. In the spring, Belongie also received an Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellowship, an honor reserved for young academics who show outstanding promise in making fundamental contributions to new knowledge.

As part of his Smart Vivarium project -- funded by the California Institute for Telecommunications and Information Technology (Calit2) -- Belongie is developing a system to enable non-stop monitoring and analysis of laboratory animals using cameras and pattern-recognition algorithms.

Frontiers of Engineering was initiated to provide an opportunity for top-notch engineers, early in their careers, to learn about cutting-edge developments in fields other than their own, thereby facilitating collaborative work and the transfer of new approaches and techniques across fields. The meetings have proven an effective mechanism for the establishment of cross-disciplinary and cross-sector contacts among future engineering leaders.

"Significant advances in engineering are occurring where disciplines intersect," said NAE President Wm. A. Wulf.  "The Frontiers of Engineering program provides an opportunity for engineers to learn about techniques and challenges in areas other than their own. This new knowledge can spark insights and collaborations that might not have occurred otherwise."

Sponsors of the NAE event include GE, the Air Force Office of Scientific Research, the U.S. Department of Defense (DDR&E-Research), DARPA, Microsoft Corp., and Cummins Inc., as well as individual donors.

Established in 1964, NAE is an independent, nonprofit institution that serves as an adviser to government and the public on issues in engineering and technology.  Its members consist of the nation's premier engineers, who are elected by their peers for their distinguished achievements.

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