Computer Science & Engineering Associate Professor Hung (Jim) La, whose software developments have led to advances in the robotics and automation industry, has received the Foundation Innovation Established Innovator award from the University of Nevada, Reno Foundation.
The award, which recognizes faculty whose recent work has actively contributed to innovation, commercialization and entrepreneurship, will be given at the May 9 Honor the Best ceremony.
“Receiving the innovator award is a significant recognition of a researcher’s work and impact in their field,” La said. “I am honored to be acknowledged for my achievements and contributions to the field of robotics and automation. This award has the potential to bring greater visibility to my work and inspire others in the field. Moreover, this recognition can potentially help me attract more opportunities, and further advance my research and commercialization efforts.”
One of La’s most recent achievements is the development of a software that monitors civil infrastructure, Highly Accurate Image Processing for Concrete Images. Licensed through the University of Nevada, Reno to Japanese firm Penta-Ocean Construction, the software detects defects in concrete structures and has the potential to help address the national issue of aging infrastructure, in addition to saving time and money.
Computer Science & Engineering Chair Eelke Folmer, who nominated La for the Established Innovator award, also cited La’s three National Science Foundation (NSF) Innovation Corps (I-Corp) awards, his NSF Partnership for Innovation award, two pending patents and one software copyright.
“In these four NSF innovation-funded projects, Jim has served as the principal investigator as well as the entrepreneur to find market fit for his research products,” Folmer wrote. “Jim’s passion and dedication to his work have inspired others in the industry and have earned him a reputation as a thought leader and established innovator.”
La has an extensive history in research spanning over a decade. He is a senior member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), an associate editor of several highly ranked journals and conferences such as the IEEE Transactions on Human-Machine Systems, the Frontiers in Robotics & AI, the Robotica journal, the IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation and the IEEE International Conference on Systems, Man and Cybernetics. La will be serving as the co-program chair for the 16th IEEE/SICE International Symposium on System Integration (SII), in January, 2024.
“Jim is a visionary and innovative leader in the field of robotics and has made outstanding contributions to the industry through his innovative ideas and solutions,” Professor Eelke Folmer, chair of the Computer Science & Engineering department, said. “In addition to his technical expertise, Jim is also an excellent leader and mentor.”