December 07, 2007

Institute names SIUC's Viswanathan as a fellow

by Tim Crosby


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CARBONDALE, Ill. — The nation's leading organization for electrical and electronic engineers has honored a Southern Illinois University Carbondale professor by naming him a fellow.

The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, known as "I triple E," honored Ramanarayanan Viswanathan, professor of electrical and computer engineering in the College of Engineering at SIUC. The organization designates less than 0.1 percent of IEEE members as a fellow, and Viswanathan, known around campus as "Vish," is one of only about 300 to receive the honor.

Viswanathan's appointment becomes official Jan. 1.

Viswanathan, who came to SIUC in 1983 and currently serves as president of the Faculty Senate, said he was excited by the honor.

"I was really delighted because they keep such a tight lid on the number of fellows they promote each year," he said. "You have be qualified but you have to be a little bit lucky, too,"

The organization, which began more than 120 years ago, cited Viswanathan's contributions to "distributed detection and decision fusion in sensor systems" in naming him a fellow. Viswanathan said the work involved two rounds of funding in the 1980s and 1990s when he studied signal processing for multiple radar sites as they track targets, such as an incoming missile.

"Multiple sensors, such as radar sites, would try to locate and track targets," Viswanathan explained. "We looked at how the sensors process and send condensed information to a central site, called a fusion center, where the information is combined and a decision is made on the targets." The work, which began as part of the Strategic Defense Initiative, has applications to many other wireless sensor networks and military systems.

John W. Nicklow, associate dean of the College of Engineering, said Viswanathan is deserving of the honor.

"This is a very prestigious professional honor and the college is proud to have him as part of our faculty," Nicklow said. "His contributions to the University and to his technical profession clearly make him one of the top performers in his discipline."

Viswanathan joins College of Engineering Dean William P. Osborne as the college's only other IEEE fellow.

The IEEE promotes advancements in science, technology and applications in related areas. The group has more than 365,000 members in more than 150 countries, with about 40 percent of them outside the United States.