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Kavraki elected ACM fellow


The Association of Computing Machinery (ACM) has elected Rice University’s Lydia E. Kavraki as a 2010 Fellow.

Kavraki, Noah Harding Professor of Computer Science and professor of bioengineering, is one of only 41 members honored this year for advancing fundamental knowledge of computer science and innovations within industry, commerce, entertainment and education.

“These men and women have made advances in  technology and contributions to the computing community that are meeting the dynamic demands of the 21st century,” said ACM President Alain Chesnais. “Their ability to think critically and solve problems creatively is enabling great advances on an international scale. The selection of this year’s fellows reflects broad international representation of the highest achievements in computing, which are advancing the quality of life throughout society.

The organization specifically cited Kavraki’s contributions to robotic motion planning and applications of information science in computational biology.

Kavraki holds a joint appointment at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston and is widely published  on robotics and computer science topics, computational biology, bioinformatics and metabolic network analysis.

“We are extremely proud of this wonderful recognition for Lydia,” said Moshe Vardi, Karen Ostrum George Professor in Computational Engineering and director of the Ken Kennedy Institute for Information Technology at Rice. “Her important contributions to robotics, computational biology and bioinformatics are paving the way to new technologies and treatments.”

Kavraki is the author of more than 140 major papers. Her work in physical algorithms and their applications in robotics and computational structural biology and bioinformatics are widely cited in scholarly research. Her textbook entitled “Principles of Robot Motion” was published by MIT Press. She is on the editorial board of the International Journal of Robotics Research, the Springer-Verlag Advanced Robotics Series, the ACM/ Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) Transactions on Computational Biology and Bioinformatics, and the Computer Science Review.

Kavraki is a fellow in the Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence, the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering, and World Technology Network. She earlier received the ACM’s Grace Murray Hopper Award, a National Science Foundation CAREER Award, the IEEE Robotics and Automation Society Early Academic Career Award and won a Sloan Fellowship. She won the Duncan Award for excellence in research and teaching at Rice in 2004.

A native of Greece, Kavraki earned a bachelor’s degree in computer science from the University of Crete and a doctorate from Stanford, also in computer science.

ACM officials will formally recognize Kavraki and the 2010 Fellows at the organization’s annual awards banquet in June in San Jose.

—Dwight Daniels, Engineering Communications