Computing Community Consortium Blog

The goal of the Computing Community Consortium (CCC) is to catalyze the computing research community to debate longer range, more audacious research challenges; to build consensus around research visions; to evolve the most promising visions toward clearly defined initiatives; and to work with the funding organizations to move challenges and visions toward funding initiatives. The purpose of this blog is to provide a more immediate, online mechanism for dissemination of visioning concepts and community discussion/debate about them.

Vipin Kumar to Receive 2012 ACM SIGKDD Innovation Award

August 6th, 2012 / in awards / by Erwin Gianchandani

Vipin Kumar to receive the 2012 ACM SIGKDD Innovation Award [image courtesy ACM SIGKDD].Vipin Kumar, the William Norris Professor and head of computer science and engineering at the University of Minnesota, will receive the Association for Computing Machinery’s (ACM) Special Interest Group on Knowledge Discovery and Data Mining (SIGKDD) 2012 Innovation Award at the opening plenary of the 18th international ACM SIGKDD Conference next Sunday in Beijing, China. Since 2000, the annual award has been “conferred on one individual or one group of collaborators whose outstanding technical innovations in the KDD field have had a lasting impact on advancing the theory and practice of the field.”

According to SIGKDD, the citation for Vipin’s award reads as follows (after the jump):

Prof. Vipin Kumar is recognized for his technical contributions to foundational research in data mining as well as its applications to mining scientific data. Prof. Kumar has made numerous significant and impactful contributions to a wide range of core data mining areas including graph partitioning, clustering, association analysis, high performance and parallel data mining, anomaly/change detection and data driven discovery methods for analyzing global climate and ecosystem data. Many of his papers on these topics are amongst the most highly cited papers in data mining.

Among Vipin’s recent projects:

Prof. Kumar’s research group has also been at the forefront in the development of data driven discovery methods for analyzing global climate and ecosystem data. For example, his research group has developed a series of techniques (starting with a paper in KDD 2003) to automatically identify tele-connections between ocean climate variables (such as sea surface temperature and sea level pressure) and land surface variables (such as temperature and precipitation). Since these tele-connections typically involve phenomena that are separated in space and time, their discovery poses some of the greatest challenges for the KDD community.


His team’s work on change detection in spatio-temporal data (starting with a paper in KDD 2008) has dramatically advanced current state of the art in the monitoring of global forest cover using satellite data. By applying these methods at the global scale, his team has been able to create comprehensive histories of large-scale changes in the ecosystem due to fires, logging, droughts, flood, farming, etc, that are critical for understanding the relationships of such ecosystem disturbances to global climate variability and human activity. A prototype of this global ecosystem monitoring technology, developed in collaboration with Planetary Skin Institute (PSI), was demonstrated at the COP16, the 16th Climate Change Summit, held in Cancun. The release of this prototype was featured in a story in … The Economist that specifically cited the data mining capabilities developed at the University of Minnesota as a key enabler for low cost monitoring of the global forest cover that is critically needed in the context of the agreements to save the world’s forests.

Vipin will receive a plaque and check for $2,500, and he will present the Innovation Award Lecture following the award presentation.

For full details, see the SIGKDD announcement.

(Contributed by Erwin Gianchandani, CCC Director)

Vipin Kumar to Receive 2012 ACM SIGKDD Innovation Award