ECE Welcomes Three New Faculty


Research Professor Robert Gray (ECE)
Research Professor Robert Gray (ECE)

Several new faces are walking the halls of Boston University’s Photonics Center this year after the Department of Electrical & Computer Engineering welcomed three new faculty members in 2013-14.

While Research Professor Robert Gray and Research Assistant Professor Swapnil Bhatia started in the fall, Assistant Professor Vivek Goyal officially began in January.

Gray, who specializes in information theory, statistical signal processing, and quantization theory and algorithms, has received a long list of accolades since earning his Ph.D. from the University of Southern California in 1969.

Among his honors, Gray is a member of the National Academy of Engineering (NAE) and a Fellow of the Institute for Mathematical Statistics and the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE). He has also received the IEEE Jack S. Kilby Signal Processing Medal, the IEEE Information Theory Society Claude E. Shannon Award, and the Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics and Engineering Mentoring (PAESMEM).

In addition to his post at BU, Gray holds the title of Emeritus Professor of Electrical Engineering at Stanford University, where he authored more than a dozen textbooks.

Like Gray, Goyal also specializes in statistical signal processing and holds the title of IEEE Fellow after being recognized last year.

Goyal’s additional research interests include computational imaging, information representation, quantization, and human decision making and perception.

Assistant Professor Vivek Goyal (ECE)
Assistant Professor Vivek Goyal (ECE)

Though he is new to BU, Goyal is familiar with Boston, having previously taught at MIT just across the river.

“I’m excited to join BU because it is a perfect place to work at the intersection of information sciences and photonics. Both are great strengths of BU ECE,” he said.

Goyal believes that a central focus of future information processing research will be on addressing problems that exist outside of engineering, and he is eager to work across department boundaries.

“For such pursuits, it is a privilege to be part of a university with world-class programs ranging from economics to health,” he said.

A previous winner of the NSF CAREER Award, Goyal is already off and running at BU. Research he conducted with colleagues at MIT’s Research Laboratory of Electronics on imaging methods that could potentially improve remote sensing and microscopy was recently published in the journal, Science.

Also new to the department is Bhatia, a familiar figure in BU ECE since he started as a postdoctoral associate, working closely with Assistant Professor Douglas Densmore (ECE). Bhatia was drawn to BU instead of a career in industry because of both the university’s emphasis on student learning and the prospect of working on synthetic biology research.

Research Assistant Professor Swapnil Bhatia (ECE)
Research Assistant Professor Swapnil Bhatia (ECE)

“When Doug talked to me about the postdoc position, he also pointed me to people in the field, and I saw some of [BU Biomedical Engineering Professor] Jim Collins‘s talks on YouTube,” said Bhatia. “It was all fascinating and I could see the potential impact of the field and the role of computer science in making it happen.”

Currently, Bhatia specializes in algorithms in biology, discrete mathematics and theoretical computer science, and network and storage systems.

Prior to working at BU, Bhatia, who earned his Ph.D. from the University of New Hampshire in 2010, received their Richard Lyczak Memorial Teaching Award and Teaching Achievement Award.

Now that class is back in session, look for Gray, Goyal and Bhatia – plus the rest of the ECE faculty – this semester.

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-Rachel Harrington (