Author: Lisa Ercolano
Rama Chellappa poses for a photo between staircases in Clark Hall.

Johns Hopkins artificial intelligence researcher Rama Chellappa has achieved one of his profession’s highest distinctions: election to the National Academy of Engineering.

Chellappa, a Bloomberg Distinguished Professor in electrical and computer engineering and biomedical engineering, was among 106 new members and 18 international members announced as part of NAE’s Class of 2023 on Tuesday. Academy membership honors those who have made outstanding contributions to engineering research, practice, or education. Members advise the U.S. government on matters pertaining to engineering and technology.

Chellappa—a member of Center for Imaging Science, the Center for Language and Speech Processing, the Institute for Assured Autonomy, and the Mathematical Institute for Data Science at Johns Hopkins—was honored for “contributions to digital image analysis, automatic face recognition, and applications.”

“Rama is leading innovations that promise to have a profound impact in a wide range of applications, including enabling advances in health care and medicine,” said Ed Schlesinger, dean of the Whiting School of Engineering. “This is a terrific achievement and well-deserved recognition, and I am thrilled for him.”

Chellappa is a leading researcher and inventor in computer vision, artificial intelligence, and machine learning in areas ranging from biometrics, smart cars, and forensics to 2D- and 3D-modeling of faces, objects, and terrain. One recent area of interest is exploring the trustworthiness of AI. His book, Can We Trust AI? (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2022) explores topics such as transparency of AI in regards to the so-called black box problem, the reliability of self-driving cars, and more.

He came to Johns Hopkins in August 2020 from the University of Maryland.

“I am humbled and honored to have been elected as a member of the U.S. National Academy of Engineering,” Chellappa said. “I owe this to the loving support I receive from my family, the great mentoring I received from many pioneers in computer vision and pattern recognition, as well as my doctoral students, who patiently taught me much of what I know.”

Chellappa is the 2020 recipient of the Jack S. Kilby Signal Processing Medal for his contributions to image and video processing, one of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers’ (IEEE) top honors. Chellappa is an IEEE life fellow and a Fellow of AAAI, AAAS, ACM, AIMBE, IAPR, OSA and NAI, and previously served as editor-in-chief of the IEEE Transactions on Pattern Analysis and Machine Intelligence. Among many other honors, he has also won technical achievement awards from the IEEE Computer Society and the IEEE Signal Processing Society; the latter also awarded him with its highest honor, the Society Award.

Chellappa will be formally inducted during the NAE’s annual meeting on Oct. 1.