UB - University at Buffalo, The State University of New York Computer Science and Engineering

photo of CSE Alumni

Pictured Left to Right: Debashish Niyogi, Ph.D. 1994, now with Synarc, a medical imaging company in San Francisco; Geetha Srikantan, Ph.D. 1994, now with Cisco; Sargur (Hari) Srihari, CEDAR/CSE UB; Siamak Khoubyari, MS 1995, now with Intuit; Dar-Shyang Lee, Ph.D. 1995, now with Google


Alumni Profiles

Mr. Kulbir Arora, M.S. '85

Chief Technology Officer, Fixed Income and Global Derivatives Technology, Goldman Sachs

photo of Kulbir AroraKulbir Arora is the chief technology officer of Fixed Income and Global Derivatives Technology. He oversees the design and development of application software for derivatives and fixed income product lines and sets technology strategy with respect to costs, quality and commercial needs. He serves on the Technology Career Development Council and on Technology steering committees concerned with data capacity, growth and retention.

Arora joined Goldman Sachs in 1997 as a software architect for FX systems. He managed the Currencies and Commodities Trade Processing Department and improved the scale and stability of the systems. In 2000, he moved to a core strategist role in the Fixed Income, Currency and Commodities Division. He returned to Technology in 2001, to lead the effort to build new systems around the firm's Interest Rate and Credit Derivatives business. He became a technology fellow in 2003 and a managing director in 2006.

Prior to joining the firm, Kulbir was a principal at Technology Solutions Company. He began his career in academia and worked as an independent consultant in the defense, manufacturing and financial industries.

Venu Govindaraju, Ph.D.'92

Professor, Dept. of Computer Science & Engineering / Founding Director, Center for Unified Biometrics and Sensors (CUBS) / Associate Director, CEDAR
University at Buffalo, State University of New York

photo of Venu GovindarajuDr. Venu Govindaraju is a Professor of Computer Science and Engineering at the University at Buffalo (UB), State University of New York. He received his BS from the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Kharagpur and his Ph.D. degree in Computer Science from UB.

Dr. Govindaraju has authored more than 300 scientific papers and has been the Principal or Co-principal investigator of projects funded by government and industry for over 50 million dollars. He has given over 75 invited talks and has supervised the dissertation of 20 doctoral students. He has won several awards for his scholarship icluding the prestigious MIT Global Technovator Award and the ICDAR Young Investigator Award. He is a Fellow of the IEEE and the IAPR.

Michael Kurdziel, B.S. '86, M.S. '88, Ph.D. '01

Information Security Specialist, Harris Corp.,
RF Division

photo of Michael KurdzielMichael Kurdziel is Sr. Managing Engineer, Secure Communications Products Group, for Harris Corporation. His area of technical expertise is secure communications systems design. This includes the design of encryption, key management and authentication systems and algorithms.

Dr. Kurdziel is a member of the International Interoperable Communications Working Group (I-ICWG). The charter of this group is the development and propagation of the Secure Communications Interoperability Protocol (SCIP). He is the principal algorithm architect for the MK-128 and MK-256 algorithms used in the Citadel™ and Citadel II™ Encryption Devices. The devices are Harris Corporation's primary encryption solution for non-Type 1 applications. The algorithm designs have been critically reviewed by industry experts and have been found to have superior cryptographic strength. A paper on the Citadel™ and Citadel II™ architectures were presented to critical acclaim at the IEEE's 1998 and 2004 MILCOM conferences, respectively.

Dr. Kurdziel has been a member of Harris Corporation's Communication Security Products technical staff since 1992. He holds Bachelor of Science (1986), Master of Science (1988) and Doctor of Philosophy (2001) Degrees in Electrical Engineering from the State University of New York at Buffalo. He holds three patents, has seven patents pending and has been a licensed "Professional Engineer" (License No. 069432) in the State of New York since 1992.

Robin Li, M.S.'94

Founder / CEO / Chairman of the Board / Director at
Baidu.com, Incorporated ADR

photo of Robin LiRobin Li (MS '94), founder and CEO of the Chinese search engine giant Baidu.com, is definitely a CSE all-star alumnus, judged by entrepreneurial success. In fact, he qualifies as a UB all-star on that count as well.

Baidu, a Chinese-language search engine provider, was worth $3 billion last year. This year, it tripled its first-quarter profits (to $11.1 million), and its 65 percent share of the Chinese market eclipses even Google's.

Google is battling to compete with Li in one of the toughest, but potentially most lucrative, foreign markets. China boasts a booming economy and the world's second-largest population of Internet users—137 million. According to some reports, it should surpass the United States as the largest online population in as little as two years, and China has become the next great Internet frontier for new online technologies.

Li has enjoyed legendary status in China, where he is considered a "hai gui," or sea turtle—a term that refers to Chinese nationals who leave home to go to school in the U.S. and "swim" back to their home country to develop their careers. After studying information management at Peking University and earning a master's degree in computer science at UB in 1994, he went to work as a staff engineer at InfoSeek, a California-based search engine company.

Li left InfoSeek and headed to the East in 1999. He launched Baidu's Web site in 2001, developing revolutionary online search technology now considered the industry's gold standard. In 2006, Li was worth an estimated $645 million and was number 26 in Forbes magazine's list of the 400 wealthiest Chinese. That year, Li also received the George W. Thorn Award, given to UB graduates under the age of 40 for national or international contributions to their field.

At UB, Robin was known as Yanhong Li while a graduate student at the Center of Excellence for Document Analysis and Recognition (CEDAR), where he studied vector space models used to interpret word recognition results. He is remembered as a remarkably independent thinker, says Sargur Srihari, SUNY Distinguished Professor and CEDAR's founding director. "Algorithms for information retrieval are central to search engines such as Google and Baidu," Srihari says.

Although Li's time at CEDAR was brief, he and Srihari kept in touch. "Baidu reached IPO status on the stock exchange on a Friday evening, and I sent him a congratulatory e-mail message the following Saturday," Srihari says. "I expected he would be deluged with people contacting him during the first 24 hours of Baidu going public. I was thrilled to receive a response from him within an hour, where he attributed his success to his studies conducted at CEDAR."

Today, Baidu's empire continues to grow. It launched a Japanese search engine this year, and it is negotiating to deliver services by cell phone in China.

Chrysostomos L. Max Nikias

President, University of Southern California

photo of Chrysostomos L. Max NikiasC. L. Max Nikias became the 11th president of the University of Southern California on August 3, 2010. He succeeded Steven B. Sample, who led USC since 1991, and who was president of UB from 1982 to 1991.

Dr. Nikias previously held the positions of USC provost and senior vice president for academic affairs since June 1, 2005. As chief academic officer and the second-ranking officer under the president, all of the university's deans reported to him, as did the divisions of Student Affairs, Information Services, and Enrollment Services. He served with the senior vice president for administration as the chief operating officer of the university.

Nikias joined USC's faculty in 1991 and served as dean of the Viterbi School of Engineering from 2001 to 2005. As dean, he oversaw dramatic improvements in the quality of students, research growth, fundraising for the endowment, and the expansion of distance learning programs. The USC Viterbi School became a research powerhouse, consistently ranking among the top 10 engineering schools in the United States.

During this time, Nikias was instrumental in bringing major research institutes to USC, all of which continue to benefit the university. He was the founding director of two national research centers at USC: the National Science Foundation (NSF) Engineering Research Center (ERC) on Integrated Media Systems and the Department of Defense Center on Communications Signal Processing.

He has also supported the Viterbi School's Information Sciences Institute and worked with faculty across the university to establish the two NSF ERCs, as well as the Department of Homeland Security's first Research Center of Excellence.

As a scholar, Nikias is internationally recognized for his research on integrated media systems, digital communications and signal processing, and biomedicine. He is also a passionate advocate of the arts and humanities. Throughout his time at USC, he has partnered with faculty from the College and most of the professional schools to promote interdisciplinary research and education. He has mentored more than 30 Ph.D. and postdoctoral students.

Nikias authored more than 100 peer-reviewed journal articles, 180 refereed conference papers, three textbooks, and eight patents. Several of his publications and patents are in the field of translational medicine, including invasive and non-invasive methods for the detection and classification of myocardial ischemia, on which he worked in collaboration with the University of Maryland Hospital and Buffalo General Hospital. He has consulted extensively for the U.S. Government and high-tech industry during the past 20 years. He has also testified before the California legislature on the impact of digital technologies and communications on the entertainment industry and on the California economy.

Nikias has received numerous awards and honors for his research and teaching, including three Best Paper awards. The National Technological University, a consortium of top research universities engaged in distance education, recognized him as an outstanding teacher. He is a Fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers and a Fellow of the California Council on Science and Technology. The California Governor honored him with a formal commendation for cutting-edge research. He is a member of Phi Kappa Phi.

Nikias serves as a member of the Board of Directors for the Lord Foundation of California, the Pacific Council on International Policy, and the Alfred Mann Institute for Biomedical Engineering at USC, and as a member of the Board of Trustees of the Thomas Rivera Policy Institute, and the Chadwick School, an independent school in Palos Verdes Peninsula, California.

A native of Cyprus, Nikias graduated with honors from the Famagusta Gymnasium, a school that emphasized history and Greco-Roman classics. He also received a Diploma from the National Technical University of Athens. He earned an M.S. and Ph.D. from the State University of New York at Buffalo. The University of Cyprus awarded him an honorary doctorate.

Bruce Shriver

Genesis 2, Inc.
Professor-at-Large, University of Tromsø, Norway

photo of Bruce ShriverBruce Shriver is the president of Genesis 2, Inc. Shriver received his Ph.D. in Computer Science from the State University of New York at Buffalo. He has published and lectured extensively throughout the US and abroad in the design and implementation of computer hardware and software systems. In 1990, he was made an IEEE Fellow for his work in Computer Systems Organization and Microprogramming. He has been program chairman or general chairman of over 30 international conferences or workshops in a variety of technical areas. Shriver has given a number of invited keynote lectures at various international conferences and workshops.

He was president of the IEEE Computer Society in 1992. Shriver has been the editor-in-chief of two IEEE Computer Society periodicals, Computer and IEEE Software and an editorial board member of a number of other periodicals. He has served a number of terms as a member of the Computer Society's Board of Governors and its Executive Committee. He chaired the initial three-years of the society's Central and Eastern European Initiative's Committee and chaired its Ad Hoc Committee for Special Projects. He was a member of the Board of Directors of the Computing Research Association (CRA) and Chairman of FOCUS (the Federation on Computing in the United States). He was awarded the IEEE Richard E. Merwin Distinguished Service Award in 2002 for "For outstanding service to both the Computer Society and computing profession that continues to have enormous impact on responsible governance, high-quality publications and conferences, and the international community."

Shriver was the Department Group Manager of Software Technology at IBM's T. J. Watson Research Center in the mid-1980s. He served as Vice-President for Research at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette where he held an Eminent Scholar Chair in Computer Science. He has also held an endowed chair at the University of Hawaii and has been an adjunct professor at a number of Universities, including, the University of Aarhus in Denmark. He currently is a Professor-at-Large in the Computer Science at the University of Tromsø in Norway where he teaches graduate courses in Computer Architecture and Computer Systems Organization. He is also an Honorary and Visiting Professor in the Department of Computer Science at the University of Hong Kong. He has chaired numerous department and university-wide committees in these settings and has led accreditation teams to evaluate departments in various universities. While at ULL, he had eighteen Ph.D. students, a large number of MS students, guided numerous undergraduate projects, and was awarded over twenty grants from both governmental and industrial organizations such as NSF, ARO, NATO, TI, AT&T, and RCA.

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