Milchberg and Wu named Distinguished University Professors

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Professors Howard Milchberg and Min Wu

Electrical and Computer Engineering faculty members Howard Milchberg and Min Wu have been named University of Maryland Distinguished University Professors for 2024 in recognition of excellence, impact, and significant contributions to their field of knowledge and profession, both nationally and internationally.  The title of Distinguished University Professor is the highest academic honor for UMD faculty members and is only bestowed on 7% of tenured faculty.

Professor Milchberg holds joint appointments with the Department of Physics and the Institute for Research in Electronics and Applied Physics (IREAP). He leads the UMD Laboratory for Intense Laser-Matter Interactions.

Areas of research include plasma and high energy density physics, advanced laser-driven particle accelerators and light sources, atomic physics, nonlinear optics, and structured light. His work recently gained attention when his group set a record by demonstrating a nearly 50 m long air waveguide  .

After completing postdoc research at AT&T Bell Laboratories, Milchberg joined the University of Maryland in 1988. He received his B.Eng in Engineering Physics from McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, and a Ph.D. in Astrophysical Sciences from Princeton University.

Milchberg is a Fellow of Optica and the American Physical Society (APS). He is the recipient of the 2024 Arthur L. Schawlow Prize in Laser Science from APS, where he was cited for pioneering contributions in the fields of plasma optics, guiding ultra-intense laser beams, and developing compact, high-gradient laser-driven accelerators.

Other awards include the UMD Distinguished Scholar-Teacher Award, A. James Clark School of Engineering Senior Faculty Outstanding Research Award, American Physical Society John Dawson Award for Excellence in Plasma Physics Research, and NSF Presidential Young Investigator. He has supervised three winners of the APS Division of Plasma Physics Dissertation Award.

Along with his wife and three children, Milchberg established the Irving and Renee Milchberg Endowed Lecture in honor of his late parents, both Holocaust survivors.  The lecture program aims to connect science, truth, the human condition and a civil society through annual invited speakers.

Professor Wu is the Christine Yurie Kim Eminent Professor in Information Technology and the Associate Dean for Graduate Programs at the A. James Clark School of Engineering. She holds joint appointments with the Institute for Advanced Computer Studies (UMIACS), the Institute for Systems Research (ISR), and the Maryland Robotics Center

She received a BE in electrical engineering and a BA in economics from Tsinghua University in Beijing, China.  She earned her Ph.D. in electrical engineering from Princeton University, and joined the ECE at UMD in 2001.

Wu leads the UMD Media, Analytics, and Security Team (MAST). Her research interests are information security and forensics, multimedia signal processing, and applications of data science and machine learning for health and IoT.

A recipient of many awards and recognitions from UMD and the Clark School of Engineering, Wu has been honored with the Outstanding Research Award for Senior Faculty, the E. Robert Kent Outstanding Teaching Award for Junior Faculty, and the George Corcoran Education Award.  She is a UMD Distinguished Scholar-Teacher.  She has received the UMD Invention of the Year Award twice: in 2015 for “Verifying the Source of Video Streams using Electric Network Frequency (ENF) Signals, and in 2012 for “Environmental Signatures for Forensic Analysis and Alignment of Media Recordings.

Other honors include the Maryland Innovator of the Year Award, the IEEE Harriett B. Rigas Award from the IEEE Education Society, and the IEEE Signal Processing Society Meritorious Service Award. In May 2024, she received an Excellence in Research Award from the Washington Academy of Sciences, recognizing her significant contributions to the research and innovations of multimedia forensics, security, and smart health. She is a Fellow of the National Academy of Inventors, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers.  She was elected to serve as  President of the IEEE Signal Processing Society for 2024-2025, as the first woman of color to take on this leadership role in the technical society’s 75-year history.

“I am deeply humbled and honored by this recognition to join an outstanding group of distinguished faculty members and role models”, said Professor Wu. “ I appreciate all the support and collegiality from many colleagues and staff over the years at UMD.  The job as a professor has been a privilege for me to keep learning and exploring with our students, and help them grow, succeed, and make the world better together.”

Published July 10, 2024