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Two Viterbi School Engineers Named AAAS Fellows

AAAS recognizes Senior Associate Dean Maja Mataric and USC Provost C.L. Max Nikias for distinguished contributions in science and engineering

October 26, 2007 — USC Provost C.L. "Max" Nikias and Viterbi School Senior Associate Dean for Research Maja Mataric are among five scholars named fellows of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in recognition of outstanding contributions in science and engineering.
Maja Mataric

Nikias and Mataric, along with USC researchers Douglas Capone and Howard Taylor of USC College, and Jean Shih of the USC School of Pharmacy, will be among 471 scientists honored at the Fellows Forum of the 2008 AAAS Annual Meeting in Boston, Mass., in February.

Mataric, professor of computer science and neuroscience, was honored “for research in robotics, service to K-12 education, and as president of the Academic Senate and senior associate dean for research (in the USC Viterbi School).” Her Interaction lab conducts research aimed at giving robots the ability to help people through individual interaction, such as in caregiving, and as part of human-robot teams for applications such as habitat monitoring or emergency response.

Mataric, author of A Robotics Primer (M.I.T. Press, 2007), is also committed to educational outreach and university service. With USC Neighborhood Outreach program support and collaborations with K-12 teachers, she and her students are developing hands-on robotics curricula for students at all levels. She is serving as the immediate past president of the USC Academic Senate and as a member of the University Strategic Planning Committee.

Nikias, who joined USC’s faculty in 1991, served as director of the Integrated Media Systems Center (IMSC), until he became dean of the school in 2001.  He served as dean until 2005, when he was named USC Provost.  AAAS recognized him “for distinguished contributions to the field of signal processing and interactive media techniques, and for leadership in engineering education."
C. L. Max Nikias

Nikias is internationally recognized for his research on digital communications and signal processing, digital media systems and biomedicine.  His innovations and patents in signal processing have been adopted by the U.S. Navy in sonar, radar and mobile communication systems. His innovative interdisciplinary curricula in signal processing systems have been used by the Department of Defense to train more than 2,500 scientists and engineers.

In addition to inventing key methods for reducing signal interference in high-noise environments, Nikias crossed disciplines with several publications and patents in medical research, including methods for the detection and classification of myocardial ischemia.

During his deanship, the Viterbi School staked out a consistent position as a top-10 engineering school according to traditional rankings, while simultaneously charting a course as a leader in emerging academic areas.

The tradition of AAAS fellows began in 1874. Members are considered for the rank of fellow if nominated by the steering group of their respective sections, by three fellows or by the association’s chief executive officer. The AAAS Council votes on the final list.

The American Association for the Advancement of Science is the world’s largest general scientific society and publisher of the prestigious journal Science.

The society was founded in 1848 and includes more than 250 affiliated societies and academies of science serving 10 million individuals.