Pramod K. Varshney, an engineer whose pioneering and continuing contributions to distributed detection techniques and data fusion methods have fueled the success of wireless sensor networks benefitting aerospace, defense and even biomedical applications, is being honored by IEEE with the 2012 IEEE Judith A. Resnik Award. IEEE is the world’s largest technical professional association.
The award, sponsored by the IEEE Aerospace and Electronic Systems, IEEE Control Systems and IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Societies, recognizes Varshney for contributions to and leadership in the theory and practice of multisensor data fusion for aerospace and bioengineering applications. The award will be presented on 3 July 2012 at the IEEE International Symposium on Information Theory in Cambridge, Mass.
Varshney is most known for his pioneering work on distributed detection theory and data fusion methods that have fueled the proliferation of multisensor networks for the aerospace industry and other applications. Data fusion involves combining data from multiple sources, in this case sensors, into more relevant and useful information than data collected from an individual source. Varshney’s distributed detection methods provide a more effective means of target detection by using a cooperative team of multiple sensors, which is more effective compared to using a single radar or sonar element. Varshney’s work has provided the foundation for many U.S. Department of Defense wireless sensor network systems. Varshney’s methods have found practical applications in monitoring the condition of air and space vehicles, operation of unmanned aerial vehicles and biomedical imaging.
Varshney literally wrote the book on distributed detection theory. His 1997 “Distributed Detection and Data Fusion” (Springer-Verlag), a culmination of his pioneering work that began in 1983, was the first book published on the topic and has been cited extensively. Varshney’s methods overcame the challenges of the distributed nature of sensing and the bandwidth constraints for communication of sensor information. Among his many contributions, in collaboration with NASA in 2008 and 2009, Varshney tackled fault detection in large dynamic systems using multiple sensors. The result was a vehicle health monitoring system consisting of distributed sensors that will be important to future air and space vehicles. His contributions to multisensory data fusion will also play an important role in detecting and tracking space debris.
Varshney has also made important contributions to processing the images obtained from air- and space-based sensors. He developed methods for mutual information-based image registration, feature extraction and classification using hyperspectral data. He has extended his methods to the biomedical field with a stochastic resonance approach that enhances mammogram images and improves the likelihood of early breast cancer detection. Varshney’s more recent research involves statistical methods for detecting early stage Alzheimer’s disease.
An IEEE Fellow and founding member of the International Society for Information Fusion, Varshney’s honors include the IEEE Third Millennium Medal (2000) and Syracuse University’s Chancellor’s Citation for Exceptional Academic Achievement (2000). Varshney received his bachelor’s, master’s and doctorate degrees in electrical engineering from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. Varshney is currently a Distinguished Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at Syracuse University, N.Y., where he also directs the Center for Advanced Systems and Engineering.