Henrique (Rico) Malvar is a Distinguished Engineer in the Microsoft Research lab in Redmond, WA, focusing on media signal processing, especially compression. Previously he oversaw the Enable group, which develops new interfaces and experiences that are more inclusive of all users, especially those with disabilities. Previously, Rico’s roles included Chief Scientist for Microsoft Research, Managing Director of Microsoft Research Redmond, and Partner Researcher and founder and manager of the former Communications, Collaboration, and Signal Processing group.
Rico is a Life Fellow of the IEEE, a member of the U.S. National Academy of Engineering, a member of the Washington State Academy of Sciences, and a member of the Brazilian National Academy of Engineering and the Brazilian Academy of Sciences. He has been an Affiliate Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of Washington since 1999, where he was also a past chair of the UW ECE Advisory Board. Rico has received several awards and has a long history of academic service; for more information, see the tab “Awards & Service”.
Before coming to Microsoft in 1997, Rico was Vice President of Research and Advanced Technology at PictureTel (later acquired by Poly, which was then acquired by HP). Prior to that, he headed the Digital Signal Processing research group at Universidade de Brasília, Brazil. He received a Ph.D. in electrical engineering and computer science from the Research Laboratory of Electronics at MIT, under the advice of the late Prof. David Staelin, in 1986, a M.Sc. in electrical engineering from the Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro (COPPE-UFRJ) in 1979, under Prof. Luiz P. Calôba, and a B.S. in electrical engineering from the Universidade de Brasília in 1977, working with the late Prof. Carlos Lisboa.
Rico is a “carioca”, which means he was born and raised in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Journalist Marcelo Tas interviews Rico Malvar in his program "Provoca", in the episode broadcast by TV Cultura on March 23, 2022. [In Portuguese]
Episode 61, January 30, 2019 - Dr. Rico Malvar recalls his early years at a fledgling Microsoft Research, talks about the exciting work he oversees now, explains why designing with the user is as important as designing for the user, and tells us how a challenge from an ex-football player with ALS led to a prize winning hackathon project and produced the core technology that allows you to type on a keyboard without your hands and drive a wheelchair with your eyes.
Synthetic media can have many useful applications in areas such as creative expression, education, assistive technologies, entertainment, and others. However, there is a downside. It’s increasingly hard to detect, leaving the door open for media to be altered after publication and spread as disinformation. Project Origin aims to create a measure of accountability through provenance: By certifying the source of the content like a watermark, we can safeguard against manipulation.