Shih-Fu Chang and Krishan Sabnani Elected to the NAI

December 19, 2022

National Academy of Inventors Selects Columbia Engineering Researchers for their “highly prolific spirit of innovation.”

Two Electrical Engineering researchers--Shih-Fu Chang and Adjunct Professor Krishan Sabnani--have been elected to the National Academy of Inventors for their “highly prolific spirit of innovation in creating or facilitating outstanding inventions that have made a tangible impact on the quality of life, economic development, and welfare of society.” They join a cohort of 169 distinguished inventors to be NAI Fellows, the highest professional distinction awarded to academic inventors. The 2022 Fellow class hails from 110 research universities, governmental, and non-profit research institutions worldwide. They collectively hold over 5,000 issued U.S. patents.

"I am honored to receive this important recognition and to see my name in a list with people whom I highly respect. An adjunct role while working full-time at Bell Labs had allowed me to work with wonderful students and keep in touch with excellent faculty members. Mischa Schwartz has been my mentor for several decades, and has played an important role in my success," said Sabnani.

Shih-Fu Chang

Shih-Fu Chang is the dean of Columbia Engineering, where he leads the School’s education, research, and innovation mission and execution of its strategic vision, Engineering for Humanity. He has greatly contributed to the growth and advancement of the School, propelling it to be one of the top engineering programs in the nation.

Chang is the Morris A. and Alma Schapiro Professor with appointments in the departments of electrical engineering and computer science. As one of the most influential experts in multimedia, computer vision, and artificial intelligence, his research has led to spin-off companies and licensed technologies in multimedia search and recognition. The image search tools developed by his group have been used by major media companies in content management and law enforcement agencies in fighting online human trafficking crimes. He has launched AI tools for online disinformation detection and attribution.

Chang is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the Association for Computing Machinery, and IEEE, and an elected member of Academia Sinica. He received the Kiyo Tomiyasu Award from IEEE in 2009 and the Great Teacher Award from the Society of Columbia Graduates in 2013. He is also the inaugural director for the Columbia Center of AI Technology in collaboration with Amazon. He received his BS from National Taiwan University in 1985 and his PhD from the University of California-Berkeley in 1993. He also holds an honorary doctorate from the University of Amsterdam.

Krishan Sabnani

Krishan Sabnani is a networking researcher who has made many seminal contributions to internet infrastructure design, protocol design, and wireless networks. His groundbreaking work helped shape both the internet and cellular networks, substantially reducing network infrastructure costs.

Sabnani’s breakthrough discovery in internet redesign was to separate control functions and complex software from the forwarding portions on internet routers. This work made it possible for forwarding technologies (e.g., different link layers and switching protocols) to evolve and be deployed independently from control protocols (e.g., routing, security). This contribution was a precursor to the current Software Defined Networking (SDN) revolution. He was also the first to develop a systematic approach to conformance testing, allowing communications systems to work together and reducing test time from weeks to a few hours.

Sabnani is a member of the National Academy of Engineering and the National Academy of Inventors. He has won many awards such as the 2005 IEEE Sumner Award and the 2005 IEEE McDowell Award. He is a fellow of IEEE and ACM, and is a Bell Labs Fellow. He was inducted into the NJ Inventors Hall of Fame in 2014.