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Google algorithm guy, Microsoft DSP expert get NAE nod

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Two industry luminaries — Google(s GOOG) Fellow Amit Singhal and Microsoft(s MSFT) Distinguished Engineer Henrique “Rico” Malvar — were elected to the The National Academy of Engineering this week.

Singhal oversees Google’s search algorithms (aka the family jewels). He  was the guy who introduced Google’s new (and controversial)  Google+ search integration  on the Google blog a few weeks ago. That move was made to bring in data from Google+ posts into the overall search used by millions of people. As GigaOM’s Janko Roettgers wrote at the time, it is meant to personalize search, but is also a big boost for Google+ itself.  That is where the controversy lies: Critics feel that this integration gives Google’s own  applications search priority over third-party offerings.

According to his blog, Singhal’s interests lie in information retrieval and its application to web search, web graph analysis and search user interfaces. Singhal was also one of three Googlers named Association of Computing Machinery (ACM) fellows in December.

Singhal received his B.S. in Computer Science from the University of Roorkee (now IIT Roorkee) in India; an M.S. in Computer Science from the University of Minnesota; and Ph.D. in Computer Science from Cornell.  Before joining Google in 2000, he was with AT&T Labs(s T).

Microsoft’s Malvar works on multiresolution signal processing and multimedia signal compression. According to his bio on the Microsoft Research website, Malvar’s work there included:

… co-development of the Windows Media Audio digital audio format, image and data compression technologies for Microsoft Windows, Office, Hyper-V, Tablet PC, Bing Maps, and Xbox, rights management technologies for Windows Media, new video transformation and quantization and new color transformation techniques that were adopted into H.264 (the new video format for digital TV and Internet video), and audio signal processing technologies for Windows, Windows Messenger, Office Communicator and Lync, Xbox, and Kinect.

Before joining Microsoft in 1997, Malvar was VP of research and advanced technology at PictureTel.  He has a Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science from the Research Laboratory of Electronics at MIT.

The NAE designation is a high honor for engineers. It goes to those who have made outstanding contributions to “engineering research, practice, or education, including, where appropriate, significant contributions to the engineering literature,” according to the NAE statement.

Malvara and Singhal are two of 66 new NAE honorees announced on Thursday by NAE President Charles Vest. Total NAE membership is 2,254.

Photo courtesy of  Flickr user cliff1066™

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