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Prof. Tara Javidi awarded ECE’s Distinguished Educator Award for her excellence in information and system theory education

Javidi is a professor of ECE at the University of California, San Diego, where she specializes in Communication & Information Processing Systems and Networks, and works to empower engineering students of all backgrounds.

Tara Javidi headshot Enlarge

Tara Javidi, Professor of ECE and founder and Co-Director of the Center for Machine-Integrated Computing and Security at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD), is a 2020 recipient of the University of Michigan ECE Distinguished Educator Award. This award is the highest recognition granted by ECE to its alumni in academia and recognizes those who have made a significant and lasting impact in education.

The main objective of the UCSD Center for Machine-Integrated Computing and Security is to integrate hardware/platform constraints and security requirements within the design of data analytic algorithms.

“With the increasing success of AI-enabled mobile and IoT applications, there is a critical need to educate a new generation of engineers who can bring analytics and system design considerations together efficiently,” Javidi said. “It has been a very exciting exercise to bring practitioners in industry and academia together to rethink electrical and computer engineering research and education.”

Javidi earned her B.S. in Electrical Engineering at Sharif University of Technology, Tehran, Iran. She earned an M.S. degree in Electrical Engineering: Systems, an M.S. degree in Applied Mathematics, and a Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science all from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.

“I really felt a sense of belonging at Michigan,” Javidi said. “I loved how close-knit the community was.”

I really felt a sense of belonging at Michigan.

Prof. Tara Javidi

Javidi was advised by Demosthenis Teneketzis, Prof. Emeritus of EECS, whose approach to both research and teaching continues to inspire and influence Javidi.

“He was so encouraging,” Javidi said. “He never hindered your enthusiasm when you came up with something you thought was really cool, yet somehow he still helped you address the flaws in your thinking process. I try to follow his example with my own students.”

Javidi joined UCSD in 2005, and her current research interests are in theory of active learning, information acquisition and statistical inference, information theory with feedback, stochastic control theory, and wireless communications and communication networks.

While at Michigan, Javidi found a strong community of women who were faculty and peers – including Janice Jenkins, Prof. Emerita of EECS – who helped empower and guide her as she navigated the male-dominated discipline. Today, she continues that work, helping to improve inclusion and diversity at the institutions of higher education, as well as in engineering profession. In 2015, she was awarded a UCSD Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action and Diversity Award in recognition of her mentorship of the underrepresented minority students and postdoc scholars.

“I’m optimistic,” Javidi said. “The university administrators and the faculty in STEM are recognizing our responsibility to address the fundamental structural equity and diversity issues in our fields. Plus, the students and a younger generation of engineers and scientists are holding us accountable and are keen to help us succeed in tangible ways.”

Javidi received the 2018 and 2019 Qualcomm Faculty Award for her contributions to wireless technology. She was selected as a Distinguished Lecturer of the Information Theory as well as Communications Societies of IEEE. She was awarded a National Science Foundation early career award (CAREER) in 2004, and the Presidential and Ministerial Recognitions for Excellence in the National Entrance Exam, Iran, in 1992. She was also a recipient of the Rackham Barbour Scholarship at Michigan.

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Alumni News; Demosthenis Teneketzis; Diversity and Outreach; Education; Honors and Awards