Naren Ramakrishnan

Naren Ramakrishnan is the Thomas L. Phillips Professor of Engineering at Virginia Tech. He directs the Discovery Analytics Center, a university-wide effort that brings together researchers from computer science, statistics, mathematics, and electrical and computer engineering to tackle knowledge discovery problems in important areas of national interest, including intelligence analysis, sustainability, and electronic medical records. His research has been supported by NSF, DHS, NIH, NEH, IARPA, DARPA, DTRA, ONR, US Army, General Motors, General Dynamics, Lockheed Martin, HP Labs, and NEC Labs.

Ramakrishnan was principal investigator on the recently completed, IARPA-supported EMBERS project ("Early Model-Based Event Recognition using Surrogates", 04/2012–07/2016) that developed algorithms for forecasting population-level events from open source data such as tweets, news, blogs, economic and financial data, satellite imagery, atmospheric variables, and other indicators. EMBERS was declared the winner of the OSI (Open Source Indicators) forecasting tournament (lead time > 9 days; quality score 3.4 out of 4; precision & recall > 0.8; confidence > 0.8) and has garnered 9 best paper awards/nominations/mentions/highlights. Focused on countries in Latin America, the Middle East and China, EMBERS has successfully forecast many international (and rare) events such as the “Brazilian Spring” (June 2013), Hantavirus outbreaks in Argentina and Chile (2013), student-led protests in Venezuela (Feb 2014), protests stemming from the kidnappings and killings of student-teachers in Mexico (Sep-Oct 2014), domestic political crises in Bahrain and Egypt (Dec 2015), and protests in Paraguay (Feb 2015) against a new public-private partnership law. EMBERS has been successfully transitioned into operational use.

Ramakrishnan's research has been featured in the NIH outreach publication Biomedical Computation Review, the National Science Foundation's Discoveries series, Wall Street Journal, Newsweek, Smithsonian Magazine, Popular Science, Chronicle of Higher Education, Slate magazine, and ACM Technews.

He serves/has served on the editorial boards of IEEE Computer, ACM Transactions on Knowledge Discovery from Data, Data Mining and Knowledge Discovery, IEEE Transactions on Knowledge and Data Engineering, and many other journals. He has served as both program chair and general chair of the IEEE International Conference on Data Mining (ICDM). Naren was an invited co-organizer of the NAE Frontiers of Engineering symposium in 2009.

Ramakrishnan has received an NSF CAREER grant (2000), the New Century Technology Council Innovation Award (2001), DARPA BioSPICE Early Contributor Appreciation Award (2002), Dean's awards for both teaching excellence (2005) and research excellence (2010) at Virginia Tech, and a HP Labs innovation award (2009). He was included in two "40 under 40" lists: Computerworld's innovative IT people to watch (2007) and Purdue University's list of distinguished alumni (2010). Naren is an ACM Distinguished Scientist (2009). He is a recipient of Virginia Tech's Alumni award for research excellence (2011) - the highest research award given at the univerity.

He received his Ph.D. in computer sciences from Purdue University.

As an educator, he is especially proud of his PhD students and their careers:
  • 2004: Saverio Perugini, University of Dayton
  • 2007: Deept Kumar, Amazon
  • 2009: Sriram Tadepalli, Bloomberg
  • 2009: Ying Jin, Mt Sinai School of Medicine
  • 2010: Pilsung Kang, Samsung
  • 2011: Debprakash Patnaik, Amazon
  • 2012: Yong Ju Cho, ASML, Korea
  • 2012: Sheng Guo, LinkedIn
  • 2012: M. Shahriar Hossain, University of Texas, El Paso
  • 2014: Patrick Butler, Virginia Tech
  • 2014: Samah Gad, Transpose Inc.
  • 2016: Marjan Momtazpour, Microsoft
  • 2016: Prithwish Chakraborty, IBM Watson
  • 2016: Fang Jin, Texas Tech University
  • 2016: Pejman Khadivi, Seattle University
  • 2016: K.S.M. Tozammel Hossain, University of Southern California/ISI
  • 2016: Hao Wu, Google
  • 2016: Huijuan Shao
  • 2017: Wei Wang, Microsoft Research
  • 2017: Saurav Ghosh, Exovera/SOSi