Excellence in Teaching and Research — Prof. Vijayakumar Bhagavatula

By Prof. Pandu R. Tadikamalla

Katz School of Business, University of Pittsburgh, PA 15260

e-mail:   pandu@katz.pitt.edu

Note:  Pandu Tadikamalla is a professor of Business Analytics and Operations at the Katz School of Business.  He came to the US in 1970 and earned his MS and PhD from The Univerisity of Iowa.  He lives with his wife Rama in Squirrell Hill.

Professor Vijaya Kumar (popularly known as Professor Kumar to his students and peers) received the U.A. and Helen Whitaker professorship of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the Carnegie Mellon University on November 25, 2014.

Vijayakumar Bhagavatula

Vijayakumar Bhagavatula

The professorship, established in 1973 by U.A. Whitaker (E’29) and Helen Whitaker, recognizes a faculty member for important, cutting-edge research in Electrical and Computer Engineering.

After receiving his PhD in electrical engineering from Carnegie Mellon in 1980, Vijaya Kumar joined the faculty at the university in 1982. His B.Tech (1977) and M. Tech (1980) were in electrical engineering from IIT Kanpur, India. He is currently the associate dean for Graduate and Faculty Affairs for the College of Engineering. He has also served as interim dean for the college and as acting department head of Electrical and Computer Engineering.

Prof. Kumar, an excellent teacher and researcher, leads many important studies at Carnegie Mellon. He has carried out important work in matching live biometric signatures with stored templates through correlation. Kumar and his students are also developing several spatial frequency-domain methods to perform these correlations in the presence of significant appearance variability such as illumination changes, expression differences, and others in the biometric signatures. These correlation filters have performed well in competitions such as the Face Recognition Grand Challenge (FRGC) and Iris Challenge Evaluation (ICE) conducted by the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST).

Dr. Kumar has published nearly 200 research papers in journals; and has written eight text books and supervised over fifty PhD students. Countless number of students have earned their master’s degree under him. He is also a Fellow in four professional societies related to his field.

In the investiture ceremony for the chaired professorship, Dean James Garrett of the CMU College of Engineering, Dr. Abjiji Mahalanobis, a senior Fellow at Lockheed Martin, and Dr. Pradeep Khosla, (former dean of the CMU College of engineering and currently the Chancellor of University of California, San Diego) also spoke. One common theme in their speeches was Kumar’s passion for teaching and research. In addition to his scholarship, he is also known for his collegiality and willingness to help his colleagues and students at all times without any reservation.

Vijaya Kumar comes from a family of accomplished professionals.  His three sons are all engineers, graduated from Carnegie Mellon with masters and PhD degrees. His wife Latha is the operations manager at the S.V. Temple in Penn Hills. Latha has coordinated several Telugu cultural activities including teaching Telugu at the S.V. Temple.

Despite all his accomplishments and professional recognition he has received, Dr. Kumar is very modest about his track record.

Please join me in congratulating Prof. Vijaya Kumar for his academic excellence and dedication to research and teaching.   The End

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