Three Columbia Engineering researchers–Shih-Fu Chang, Elizabeth Hillman, and Jeannette Wing–have been elected to the National Academy of Inventors for their “highly prolific spirit of innovation in creating or facilitating outstanding inventions that have made a tangible impact on the quality of life, economic development, and welfare of society.” They join a cohort of 169 distinguished inventors to be NAI Fellows, the highest professional distinction awarded to academic inventors. The 2022 Fellow class hails from 110 research universities, governmental, and non-profit research institutions worldwide. They collectively hold over 5,000 issued U.S. patents.
“This year’s class of NAI Fellows represents a truly outstanding caliber of inventors. Each of these individuals have made significant impact through their work and are highly regarded in their respective fields,” said Dr. Paul R. Sanberg, FNAI, President of the NAI. “The breadth and scope of their inventions is truly staggering. I am excited to see their creativity continue to define a new era of science and technology in the global innovation ecosystem.”
Shih-Fu Chang is the dean of Columbia Engineering, where he leads the School’s education, research, and innovation mission and execution of its strategic vision, Engineering for Humanity. He has greatly contributed to the growth and advancement of the School, propelling it to be one of the top engineering programs in the nation.
Chang is the Morris A. and Alma Schapiro Professor with appointments in the departments of electrical engineering and computer science. As one of the most influential experts in multimedia, computer vision, and artificial intelligence, his research has led to spin-off companies and licensed technologies in multimedia search and recognition. The image search tools developed by his group have been used by major media companies in content management and law enforcement agencies in fighting online human trafficking crimes. He has launched AI tools for online disinformation detection and attribution.
Chang is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the Association for Computing Machinery, and IEEE, and an elected member of Academia Sinica. He received the Kiyo Tomiyasu Award from IEEE in 2009 and the Great Teacher Award from the Society of Columbia Graduates in 2013. He is also the inaugural director for the Columbia Center of AI Technology in collaboration with Amazon. He received his BS from National Taiwan University in 1985 and his PhD from the University of California-Berkeley in 1993. He also holds an honorary doctorate from the University of Amsterdam.
Elizabeth Hillman is a Herbert and Florence Irving Professor at the Zuckerman Institute, and a professor of biomedical engineering and radiology at Columbia University. She came to Columbia Engineering in 2006, where she founded the Laboratory for Functional Optical Imaging. Her research focuses on the development and application of optical imaging and microscopy technologies to capture functional dynamics in the living systems.
With a particular focus on studying the brain, Hillman uses her imaging techniques to explore the interrelation between real-time behavior, neural activity, and blood flow in the brain. Among her major technological contributions are the development of dynamic contrast methods for small animal imaging, the application of in-vivo “wide-field optical mapping” to studying neurovascular coupling, and the recent development of swept, confocally-aligned planar excitation (SCAPE) microscopy, a technique capable of very high-speed 3D-imaging of neural activity in behaving organisms such as adult and larval fruit flies, zebrafish, C. elegans worms, and the rodent brain.
Hillman is a fellow of the Optical Society of America (Optica), the Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers (SPIE), and the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering (AIMBE). She has received the OSA Adolf Lomb Medal for her contributions to optics at a young age, the SPIE Biophotonics Technology Innovator Award, and the Royal Microscopical Society Mid-Career Scientific Achievement Award, as well as early career awards from the Wallace Coulter Foundation, National Science Foundation, and the Human Frontier Science Program. She holds a BSc and MSc in Physics (1998) and a PhD in Medical Physics and Bioengineering (2002) from University College London.
Jeannette M. Wing is the executive vice president for research at Columbia University and professor of computer science. She joined Columbia in 2017 as the inaugural Avanessians Director of the Data Science Institute. Prior to Columbia, Wing was corporate vice president of Microsoft Research, served on the faculty and as department head in computer science at Carnegie Mellon University, and served as assistant director for computer and information science and engineering at the National Science Foundation.
Her current research focus is on trustworthy AI. Her general research interests are in the areas of trustworthy computing, security and privacy, specification and verification, concurrent and distributed systems, programming languages, and software engineering. She is known for her work on linearizability, behavioral subtyping, attack graphs, and privacy-compliance checkers. Her 2006 seminal essay, titled “Computational Thinking,” is credited with helping to establish the centrality of computer science to problem-solving in fields where previously it had not been embraced.
Wing is widely recognized for her intellectual leadership in computer science, and more recently in data science. She has been recognized with distinguished service awards from the Computing Research Association and the Association for Computing Machinery. She is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the Association for Computing Machinery, and the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers. She is also a member of the American Academy for Arts and Sciences Board of Directors and Council; the New York State Commission on Artificial Intelligence, Robotics, and Automation; and the Advisory Board for the Association for Women in Mathematics. Wing holds bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees from MIT, and an honorary doctorate of technology from Linkoping University, Sweden.
Chang, Hillman, and Wing join a distinguished group of Columbia Engineering colleagues who have been elected to the NAI: Dimitris Anastassiou and Kam Leong (2013), Shree Nayar and Gordana Vunjak-Novakovic (2014), Richard Osgood, Jr. (2015), Ponisseril Somasundaran (2016), and Jingyue Ju (2018).
The 2022 class of Fellows will be honored and presented their medals at the 12th Annual Meeting of the National Academy of Inventors on June 27, 2023 in Washington, DC. To date, NAI Fellows hold more than 58,000 issued U.S. patents, which have generated over 13,000 licensed technologies and companies, and created more than one million jobs. In addition, over $3 trillion in revenue has been generated based on NAI Fellow discoveries.