Martins, Somasundaram, Frazier win awards at ISR's annual ceremony

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Top to bottom: ISR Director Reza Ghodssi presents awards to Nuno Martins, Kiran Somasundaram, and Sue Frazier.

ISR recognized the outstanding work of its faculty, graduate students and staff at its annual awards ceremony, May 7.

Outstanding ISR Faculty Award: Nuno Martins

Assistant Professor Nuno Martins (ECE/ISR) was nominated by André Tits, who says, “In just a few years, Nuno has made major contributions in all areas of ISR.”

In research, Nuno has collaborated with many ISR faculty, and in just this past year, he has been a part of three large grants. He is the PI for a $1.5 million NSF grant for ant-like micro robots with Pamela Abshire and Elisabeth Smela. He is co-PI for Maryland’s portion of a major $9 million SRC/DARPA grant for research in microelectronics and systems, for which John Baras is the PI. Along with John and Eyad Abed, he is participating in an AFOSR MURI, “Distributed Learning and Information Dynamics in Networked Autonomous Systems,” of which Maryland's portion is $2.7 million.

André says, “in systems education, Nuno has done an absolutely amazing job. In particular, he has taught as many different courses as semesters that he has been around, never repeating a course. This semester, for the first time he is ‘repeating’ ENEE 322. For every course, he has spent untold efforts and hours to deliver the very best education.”

In service to ISR, Nuno is in charge of the Distinguished Lecturer Series.

In service to the campus, Nuno has revived Robotics@Maryland, the team of undergraduate students that has been successful in competitions both with an autonomous underwater vehicle and an autonomous race car.

In service beyond the university, in Spring 2008, Nuno chaired the 4th Northeast Control Workshop here on campus. The weekend event drew more than 100 participants.

In addition, Nuno is an associate editor with Systems and Control Letters—a top international journal and, since 2008, has been an associate editor and member of the IEEE Control Systems Society’s Conference Editorial Board.

George Harhalakis Outstanding Systems Engineering Graduate Student Award: Kiran Somasundaram

Kiran was nominated by John Baras, his faculty advisor.

John writes, “Kiran is simply brilliant. He has worked on some very difficult and significant problems and he has come up with innovative solutions, proofs of performance and software prototypes implementing his design algorithms. It is very rare to find such a combination of talents in a graduate student.”

Kiran’s research is focused on mobile networked systems, including mobile wireless networks and mobile collaborative control systems. He has mastered both computer science-based and electrical engineering-based methods for solving problems, and has a depth and breadth of understanding of methods involving control, system, game, graph, and communication and information theory; optimization algebra; and communication networks.

John notes that the problems Kiran has worked on have a deep and serious component in the foundations of systems research.

His most innovative research has been in efficient information dissemination in mobile networks; distributed multi-criteria game theory; and distributed multi-criteria path problems over multi-dimensional semi-rings. He also has made significant contributions to component-based networking.

John notes that Kiran is hardworking and very much a team player, and places Kiran among the very best Ph.D. students he has advised. John concludes, “It is stimulating and highly enjoyable to work with him.”

Outstanding ISR Staff Award: Sue Frazier

Sue Frazier was nominated for this award by Cindy Moss.

In every institution there are a handful of people who truly represent its spirit. These people are known for their dedication and hard work, and their years of involvement have made them ambassadors. Sue Frazier is one of those people at ISR, and that is why we are honoring her today.

In nominating Sue, Cindy focused on just one of the duties of her position: Sue’s personal attention to the needs of students and postdocs who need to have appointments and visa applications processed.

Cindy writes that everyone turns to Sue for help with visas and appointments because of her years of expertise in the area, her up-to-date knowledge of the constantly shifting landscape in the federal visa process, and her extensive campus contacts. Sue is able to administer the complex visa application and appointment process for each individual’s specific situation efficiently, personally and often within tight timeframes.

Because of these qualities, Sue regularly receives the thanks and praise of ISR’s many international students as well as our postdoctoral appointees. It is Sue’s personal touch and concern for each individual that makes the difference.

Congratulations to all our 2010 winners!

Published May 7, 2010