USC Researchers Named 2021 IEEE Fellows

December 15, 2020

At its November 2020 meeting, the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) elevated USC's Information Sciences Institute researchers Yolanda Gil and Craig Knoblock to the ranking of IEEE Fellow, effective January 1, 2021.

At USC ISI, Gil is the Senior Director for Major Strategic Initiatives in AI and Data Science, while Knoblock is the Michael Keston Executive Director of the institute.

The IEEE Grade of Fellow is conferred by the IEEE Board of Directors upon people with an outstanding record of accomplishments in any of the IEEE fields of interest: Engineering, Computer Sciences and Information Technology, Physical Sciences, Biological and Medical Sciences, Mathematics, Technical Communications, Education, Management, and Law and Policy. Less than 0.1% of voting members are selected annually for the IEEE member grade elevation. The prestigious rank of IEEE Fellow is the highest grade of membership at the organization.

Yolanda Gil

Gil is recognized "for contributions to geoscience and scientific discovery with intelligent workflow systems" by IEEE. "As an AI researcher, I'm very honored to be a Fellow," Gil said. "IEEE and the IEEE Computer Society in particular have supported the AI and robotics community for many decades. IEEE and ACM are working with AAAI on undergraduate curriculum recommendations for computer science, with a new focus on AI."

Gil's contributions to AI research span a broad range of topics, such as developing semantic workflows and metadata capture, social knowledge collection, computer-mediated collaboration, and automated discovery. She also frequently collaborates with scientists and organizations such as IEEE, researching methods to achieve the full potential of AI technologies. "IEEE has taken a leadership role in technology ethics, pushing the concept of 'ethically aligned design,'" said Gil. "As AI applications continue to appear around us, we're doing more research to incorporate ethics into AI algorithms and methodologies."

Also a Research Professor of Computer Science and Spatial Sciences at USC Viterbi School of Engineering, Gil has spent nearly 30 years conducting prolific research in AI. She received her M.S. and Ph. D. degrees in Computer Science from Carnegie Mellon University, with a focus on artificial intelligence. She has served as chair of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) Special Interest Group (SIG) on Artificial Intelligence, and was elected president of the Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence (AAAI) in 2016. Along with her IEEE Fellow rank, Gil was recently elected to AAAS Fellow, and is also a Fellow of ACM and AAAI.

Craig Knoblock

With a history of extensive work in AI and the field of knowledge graphs, Knoblock is recognized by the IEEE "for contributions to semantic data integration techniques." "I'm deeply honored to be selected as an IEEE Fellow and humbled to be in the company of such an accomplished group of researchers," he commented.

Knoblock has been actively involved in various IEEE publications over the years.  He is currently serving on the Managing Committee for the new IEEE Transaction on Artificial Intelligence. He was the Editor of the Department on Trends and Controversies for the IEEE magazine, IEEE Expert, from 1996 to 1997, and also served on the IEEE Editorial Board of IEEE Intelligent Systems for 10 years from 1997 to 2006.  During that period, he also served as a guest editor of three issues of IEEE Intelligent Systems on the topics of Mining the Web, Information Integration on the Web, and Planning with Templates.

Knoblock received his B.S. from Syracuse University, and his Master's and Ph.D. in Computer Science from Carnegie Mellon University. Along with his work at ISI, Knoblock holds several additional positions at USC, including research professor with both the Department of Computer Science and the Spatial Sciences Institute, and vice dean of engineering in the Viterbi School of Engineering.

In addition to his IEEE Fellow rank, Knoblock is a Fellow of both AAAI and ACM, past President and Trustee of the International Joint Conference on Artificial Intelligence (IJCAI), and winner of the Robert S. Engelmore Award.