Inaugural Dean’s Awards for Excellence in Research and Service Winners Announced

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John Walz, dean of the University of Kentucky College of Engineering, has announced the winners of the inaugural Dean’s Awards for Excellence in Research and Service. The Dean’s Award for Excellence in Research recognizes and rewards outstanding research accomplishments of lasting impact on engineering and computer science and the Dean’s Award for Excellence in Service recognizes and rewards those individuals who excel in carrying out the service mission of the college. The seven winners will be honored along with this year’s Henry Mason Lutes Award for Excellence in Engineering Education winner at the Faculty Awards Reception April 22 at the Hilary J. Boone Center.

Ruigang YangOne of this year's Dean's Award of Excellence in Research winners is Ruigang Yang, Associate Professor in Computer Science.

In just under 10 years since arriving at the University of Kentucky, Ruigang Yang has amassed a sterling record of research productivity and impact and become one of the top young leaders in the field of 3D modeling and sensing.

Professor Yang’s research is concentrated on the acquisition and visualization of real-world objects and events, namely graphics and vision. His recent contributions include a method to separate bounced light and remove inter-reflections in photometric setups, an image-based reconstruction framework to derive models of water streams from real scenes captured by stereoscopic video and a new method for real-time formatting (identification and separation of foreground/background as in the “green screen” used by weather forecasters). Professor Yang’s most recent NSF grant is based on a framework his group developed to estimate body pose configurations from a single depth map, which achieves significantly higher accuracy than previous state-of-the-art methods. He is considered a key contributor to the success of the Center for Visualization and Virtual Environments (Vis Center) and, according to Google Scholar, his work has been cited more than 3,000 times.

In the past three years, Professor Yang has been awarded three new NSF grants as the Primary Investigator for a total of $2.3 million, one of which was a highly competitive Major Research Infrastructure grant of $1 million. He is also a Co-PI on three other grants that total $2.5 million. In the nearly 10 years he has been at UK, Professor Yang has averaged approximately $470,000/year in new funding as PI.

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Kel Hahn, April 11, 2013