Engineering professor named college’s associate dean of innovation

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Vijaykrishnan Narayanan, A. Robert Noll Chair Professor of Computer Science and Engineering and Electrical Engineering, will become the Penn State College of Engineering’s associate dean for innovation on Jan. 1, 2023.

“As a forward-thinking, imaginative faculty member, researcher and collaborator, Vijay embodies the spirit of this position,” said Anthony Atchley, acting dean of the College of Engineering. “Not only does he conduct his own pioneering research, but he also guides his colleagues and students to do the same. We’re proud to welcome him into this associate deanship.”

Narayanan joined Penn State in 1998 as an assistant professor of computer science and engineering. Since then, his research has focused on computer architecture, including power-aware systems, application-specific systems, on-chip networks, emerging technologies, and reliable design and design automation. Now, he serves as director of the Penn State Center for Artificial Intelligence Foundations and Engineering Systemsas well as the interim director of limited submission for the University’s Office of the Senior Vice President of Research.

“Innovation is the core of Penn State,” Narayanan said. “Transformation in research, in classrooms and more — that’s what brought me to academia. The innovative cycle of change is the key to developing solutions to significant challenges.”

Narayanan said his goal is to bring people together who may not otherwise have a connection, building on work started by Christopher Rahn, current associate dean of innovation and J. Lee Everett Professor of Mechanical Engineering, who will return to research in the Department of Mechanical Engineering.

“My job in this role is to be the catalyst to help the sparks that already exist ignite into a fire,” Narayanan said. “Many faculty already work to foster collaboration among researchers who can create something greater than the sum of their parts, and my goal is to elevate that work by bringing groups together and making sure everyone from students to staff to junior faculty to senior leadership know how they can contribute.”

Contributions can come in all forms and from every stakeholder, Narayanan said. He emphasized that innovation does not necessarily need to be a large grant or new center, but rather anything that can help solve even seemingly minor day-to-day challenges.

“It’s not just the leaders’ work — it’s what we can accomplish together,” Narayanan said. “My role is to help find pathways for people to achieve their dreams at Penn State. I’ve stood on the shoulders of those who helped me make my dreams a reality, and now it’s my turn to pay it forward.”

Narayanan earned his undergraduate degree in computer science and engineering from the University of Madras in India and his doctorate in computer science and engineering from the University of South Florida. He is a fellow of the National Academy of Inventors, the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), and the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM). He serves as an associate director for the Department of Energy Center for 3D Ferroelectric Microelectronics, as a thrust leader for the Semiconductor Research Corporation’s Joint University Microelectronics Program’s (JUMP) Center for Brain-Inspired Computing — which is partially funded by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, and as a co-principal investigator for the JUMP Center for Research in Intelligent Storage and Processing in Memory. He has won several awards and recognitions, including the IEEE Computer Society Edward J. McCluskey Award and the ACM SIGDA Distinguished Service Award.

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