Richard Szeliski’s Passion Rewarded with Election to National Academy of Engineering


Posted by George Thomas Jr.

Richard SzeliskiMicrosoft researcher and Distinguished Scientist Richard Szeliski this week received one of the highest honors accorded to an engineer — election to the National Academy of Engineering.

Szeliski, head of Microsoft Research’s Interactive Visual Media Group, was elected to the Academy on February 5, 2015, specifically “for contributions to computer vision, computer graphics, and interactive image and video rendering.”

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“I was truly astonished and delighted to receive this honor,” Szeliski said after learning of the news. “My strongest reaction was a profound gratitude towards Microsoft Research and all of my collaborators for enabling me to have such an interesting and productive career.

“My time at Microsoft Research has been the most productive and rewarding of my research career,” he added. “Rick Rashid and the rest of the lab leadership brought together the world’s best Computer Science researchers and created an environment where we can thrive and produce research and technological breakthroughs that delight millions of people worldwide.”

Szeliski also credits his outstanding set of collaborators not only in Interactive Visual Media, but Computational Photography as well, who collectively created some of Microsoft Research’s most popular apps:

  • Image Composite Editor: An advanced panoramic image stitcher,recently updated with new features, that seamlessly combines images into creates a high-resolution panorama.
  • Blink: A Windows Phone 8 camera app that captures multiple images, allowing you to choose the best one.
  • Photosynth: A powerful set of tools for capturing and viewing the world in 3D, which can be shared to Facebook or published on the Web.

“I’ve been truly fortunate to be in the vanguard of both the image-based rendering and computational photography revolutions,” Szeliski said. “I was fortunate to join Michael Cohen’s Lumigraph project when that was laying the foundations for the field, and then to have an incredible collaboration with faculty and students at the University of Washington, which culminated in the Photo Tourism project,” which evolved into Photosynth.

A founding editor of Foundations and Trends in Computer Graphics and Vision, Szeliski finds inspiration from two life-long passions: mathematics — particularly image processing and computer graphics — and, naturally, photography. “My desire to share the visual beauty of the world with my family and friends has inspired many of our research projects.” And he’s particularly excited about the newly evolving First-Person Hyperlapse, which allows users to easily create time-lapse videos with a smoothly moving camera, removing the camera-jitter typically associated with time lapse.

“Working at Microsoft Research is an absolute delight and inspiration,” he added, “and I’d like to thank both the lab management and all of my incredible collaborators for such an amazing experience.”

Szeliski’s distinguished journey continues, fueled by passion, with an eye toward pushing the boundaries of computer vision and graphics in new and exciting ways.