Manocha Named National Academy of Inventors Fellow

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Distinguished University Professor Dinesh Manocha has been named a 2023 Fellow of the National Academy of Inventors (NAI) in recognition of his outstanding work in technology research and education and his contributions to academia and industry. Throughout his career, Manocha has successfully transitioned his research into marketable technology through his research groups and startup companies. His outreach has resulted in software systems, robot operating systems and computer-aided design to be employed by over 60 companies, including a number of Fortune 500 companies.

“Dinesh’s work in robotics and artificial intelligence is at the leading edge of both fields, and we are incredibly proud to see his contributions and accomplishments recognized,” said A. James Clark School of Engineering Dean Samuel Graham, Jr. “Maryland Engineering is home to world-class faculty from every engineering discipline and, like Dinesh, they are proud to inspire students and improve society.”

Manocha is a professor in Electrical and Computer Engineering and holds joint appointments in the Department of Computer Science and the Institute for Advanced Computer Studies. 

He is affiliated with the Institute for Systems Research (ISR), Maryland Robotics Center (MRC), and the Brain and Behavior Institute. Manocha also holds the Paul Chrisman Iribe Endowed E-Nnovate Professorship in Computer Science. 

“ I am honored to be selected to the rank of NAI Fellow. I am grateful for the strong support I have received from all the units at UMD, including Clark School, VPR Office, UM Ventures, and CMNS”, says Manocha.

Founded in 2009, the NAI recognizes inventors with U.S. patents and promotes their work through outreach and partnerships with educational institutions and the public. The NAI Fellows Recognition Program recognizes inventors that have made significant impacts on quality of life, economic development and the welfare of society. This award is the highest honor awarded to inventors.  Manocha joins a class of 162 academic inventors and will be inducted at the NAI 13th Annual Meeting in June 2024.

Manocha is an internationally recognized researcher in computer graphics, virtual reality, robotics and GPU computing. His work in acoustic simulation and sound rendering has been widely adopted in industry and commercial products. His spinoff company, Impulsonic, was acquired by Valve, a leading digital distributor for PC gaming, in 2016, resulting in the company’s sound rendering system being incorporated in Valve’s Steam Audio SDK.  His technology is also incorporated into Audio SDK and VR products produced by Facebook/Meta Reality Labs.

Research in computer-aided design, simulation and virtual prototyping conducted by Manocha and his group has been installed in many well-known software systems and has been licensed to numerous high profile corporations, including Intel, Microsoft, Kawasaki, BMW, Lockheed-Martin, Philips, Raytheon, Hughes Research Labs and Siemens.

Currently, a major focus of his research group is robotics and AI. Robot motion planning and multi-agent simulation, including the first real-time high-DOF proximity systems and planners, have been developed into an ROS (robot operating system), which is used by many in the academic community and in industry. His work in robotics, particularly in autonomous mobile robot navigation, has resulted in collaborations with Amazon and the U.S. Army Research Lab (ARL).

Manocha has published more than 700 papers and has co-authored 11 books and monographs.  He holds 11 patents and 7 pending patent applications. He has supervised more than 40 Ph.D. dissertations, and members of his research groups have received 20 Best Paper and Test-of-Time awards.

Numerous awards have been bestowed to Manocha, including the NSF CAREER Award, the Office of Naval Research Young Investigator Award, the Honda Research Initiative Award, Google Faculty Awards, Facebook Faculty Awards, the Verisk AI Award, the Northrop Grumman Faculty Award, and the Hettleman Prize for scholarly achievement. He is a Fellow of AAAI, AAAS, ACM and IEEE and is a member of ACM SIGGRAPH Academy.

Published December 12, 2023