Shwetak Patel, computer scientist and prolific inventor, wins prestigious ACM Prize at age 37

Dr Shwetak Patel, 37, of the University of Washington and Google is the recipient of the prestigious 2018 ACM or Association for Computing Machinery Prize in Computing.

The ACM Prize in Computing recognizes early-to-mid-career computer scientists whose research contributions have fundamental impact and broad implications. The award carries a prize of $250,000, from an endowment provided by Infosys Ltd. Patel will formally receive the ACM Prize at ACM's annual awards banquet on June 15, 2019, in San Francisco.

Patel and his students found highly creative ways to leverage existing infrastructure to make affordable and accurate monitoring a practical reality. Patel quickly turned his team’s research contributions into real-world deployments, founding companies to commercialize their work.

Most recently, Patel’s health monitoring startup Senosis was acquired in 2017 by Google.

 “I never thought I’d get one of these things,” Patel said, crediting his graduate students for their roles in the work for which he’s being recognized.

“Despite the fact that he is only 37, Shwetak Patel has had a significant impact on the field of ubiquitous computing for nearly two decades,” said ACM president Cherri Pancake in a media release. “His work has ushered in some really exciting possibilities in the areas of sustainability and health. The widespread adoption of systems where individuals can monitor their health with smartphones could revolutionize healthcare — especially in the developing world. Shwetak Patel certainly exemplifies the ACM Prize’s goal of recognizing work with ‘fundamental impact and broad implications.’”

Patel is the Washington Research Foundation Entrepreneurship Endowed Professor in Computer Science and Engineering at the University of Washington, where he directs the Ubicomp Lab, which develops innovative sensing systems for real-world applications in health, sustainability and novel interactions. He is also a director at Google working on health care. His research interests are in the areas of Human-Computer Interaction, Ubiquitous Computing, Sensor-enabled Embedded Systems, and User Interface Software and Technology.

Patel earned his Bachelor's and Ph.D. degrees in Computer Science from Georgia Institute of Technology. His numerous honors include receiving a MacArthur Fellowship, a Sloan Fellowship, a Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE), MIT TR-35 Award, and a National Academy of Engineering Gilbreth Award. Patel is a Fellow of ACM.

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