Posted by Rob Knies

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In this, the 100th anniversary of what is now known as the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE)  Fellow program, four computer scientists from Microsoft Research have joined the annals of illustrious individuals who have attained the grade of IEEE Fellow.

Peter Key, Yi Ma, Feng Wu, and Geoffrey Zweig of the Class of 2013 represent  Microsoft Research’s latest contributions for this prestigious honor, bestowed upon select IEEE members whose extraordinary accomplishments in any of the IEEE fields of interest are deemed fitting.

Fewer than 0.1 percent of the IEEE membership ascend to the level of Fellow in any calendar year.

The predecessor of the IEEE Fellow program was instituted in 1912 by the American Institute of Electrical Engineers (AIEE). That group merged with the Institute of Radio Engineers (IRE) in 1963 to create the IEEE. Fellows of the AIEE and the IRE, whose Fellows program began in 1914, became Fellows of the IEEE once the merger was complete.

I reached out to Microsoft Research’s four newest IEEE Fellows for their reaction to the news. The citations for their inclusion—and their responses:

Peter KeyPeter B. Key, principal researcher, Microsoft Research Cambridge. For contributions to optimal control of trunk reservations and distributed admission control in communication systems.

“The IEEE was one of the first international professional organization whose venues I published in,” Key recalls, “and its conferences and journals have been both a source of inspiration and a professional ‘home’ to me. Consequently, I am delighted, honored, and humbled by this recognition.”

Yi Ma, principal researcher, Microsoft Research Asia. For contributions to computer vision and pattern recognition.

Yi Ma“I am extremely honored, as well as humbled, to be named as an IEEE Fellow this year,” Ma says. “If this honor is to recognize my past contributions in academia, I will have to set even higher standards and goals for my future work at Microsoft.

“I had just turned 40 when this recognition arrived. As the Chinese saying goes, “by 40 thus unperplexed.” I have never been more determined to have my knowledge tested and ability enriched in the industry, so that I will be able to make a big impact in the second episode of my life.”

Feng WuFeng Wu, senior researcher, Microsoft Research Asia. For contributions to visual data compression and communication.

“My 13-year research experience at Microsoft Research Asia,” states Wu, who becomes the first person to achieve IEEE Fellow status solely for work performed at that Beijing lab, “has taught me that without this great research lab and the freedom it provides, I would not be winning this honor now.”


Geoffrey G. Zweig, principal researcher, Microsoft Research Redmond. For contributions to advance speech recognition.

Geoffrey Zweig“I am honored to receive this recognition from my colleagues in Speech and Language Technologies,” Zweig says. “I am looking forward to working with others in the IEEE to advance the state of the art and to enhance the professional and educational opportunities available to new members of the field.”

Congratulations to all four—and to the remainder of the IEEE’s Fellow Class of 2013!