Portrait of Rico Malvar

Rico Malvar

Emeritus Researcher



Henrique (Rico) Malvar was a Distinguished Engineer in the Microsoft Research lab in Redmond, WA (opens in new tab), focusing on media signal processing, especially compression. Previously he oversaw the Enable (opens in new tab) 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 (opens in new tab), and Partner Researcher and founder and manager of the former Communications, Collaboration, and Signal Processing group. After retiring from Microsoft, Rico stayed connected to the University of Washington as an Affiliate Professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering.

Rico is a Life Fellow of the IEEE (opens in new tab), a member of the U.S. National Academy of Engineering (opens in new tab), a member of the Washington State Academy of Sciences (opens in new tab), and a member of the Brazilian National Academy of Engineering (opens in new tab) and the Brazilian Academy of Sciences (opens in new tab). He has been an Affiliate Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of Washington (opens in new tab) 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 (opens in new tab)(later acquired by Poly (opens in new tab), which was then acquired by HP). Prior to that, he headed the Digital Signal Processing research group at Universidade de Brasília (opens in new tab), Brazil. He received a Ph.D. in electrical engineering and computer science from the Research Laboratory of Electronics (opens in new tab) at MIT (opens in new tab), 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 (opens in new tab) (COPPE-UFRJ) in 1979, under Prof. Luiz P. Calôba (opens in new tab), and a B.S. in electrical engineering from the Universidade de Brasília (opens in new tab) in 1977, working with the late Prof. Carlos Lisboa (opens in new tab).

Rico is a “carioca”, which means he was born and raised in Rio de Janeiro (opens in new tab), Brazil.