Shri Narayanan named 2022 Guggenheim Fellow

by Ben Paul

Shrikanth (Shri) Narayanan adds a Guggenheim Fellow Award to his long list of honors (PHOTO CREDIT: USC Viterbi/University of Miami Institute for Data Science & Computing)

Shrikanth (Shri) Narayanan, USC University Professor and Niki and Max Nikias Chair in Engineering and professor of electrical and computer engineering, computer science, linguistics, psychology, pediatrics, and otolaryngology has been named a 2022 Guggenheim Fellow. Narayanan is one of only 180 scientists, artists, scholars, and writers honored, and one of only two who were honored for contributions in the field of computer science. The rigorous decision-making process included an applicant field of nearly 2500 individuals. Guggenheim Fellows are chosen based on their prior achievements and the promise their work shows for the future of society.

Indeed, few researchers can match Narayanan’s impact when it comes to both prior achievement and future promise. A leader in the field of human-centered sensing, signal processing, and machine learning, Narayanan is devoted to the idea that engineering can and should play a more central role in building a better, safer, and more inclusive society. His research group, the Signal Analysis and Interpretation Laboratory (SAIL) has developed countless tools and methods to address issues related to human health, wellbeing, and happiness.

Narayanan’s work has played important roles in helping to diagnose autism, analyze gender representation in Hollywood, assist psychologists and doctors to better identify and treat mental health issues in patients, and much more. “Engineers are so much more than just inventors,” said Narayanan. “We are especially well-positioned to create technology to make people’s lives better. That’s what inspired me to become an engineer in the first place.”

Signal processing, an important domain within electrical and computer engineering, is well-suited for this endeavor. The Ming Hsieh Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at USC Viterbi School of Engineering is a historic leader in this field, with its vaunted Signal and Image Processing Institute (SIPI) celebrating its 50th anniversary this year.

As Narayanan explains, the field is all about gathering, processing, analyzing, and interpreting signals and turning that into useful operations. “Signal processing and machine learning, especially when we are talking about human signals, is as much about listening and understanding as it is about engineering. To do it well, you must understand people as much as you understand algorithms,” he said. Narayanan’s fellowship work will focus on advancing the development of inclusive and trustworthy human-centered machine intelligence. 

“The vast societal applications of Dr. Narayanan’s work demonstrate that exceptional engineering is a human-centered practice,” said Provost Charles F. Zukoski. “That he continues to be recognized through prestigious fellowships and awards is a testament to the impact of his research. Shri is a tremendous scholar and very deserving of this award.”

Narayanan will be honored along with the other new fellows on July 1st, 2022. This award adds to a long list of accolades for the prolific researcher and dedicated mentor. Among many other honors, he is also a Fellow of the National Academy of Inventors (NAI), the Acoustical Society of America (ASA), the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), the International Speech Communication Association (ISCA), the Association for Psychological Science (APS), the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) and the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering (AIMBE).

Published on April 18th, 2022

Last updated on April 19th, 2022