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Biometrics expert Nalini Ratha named National Academy of Inventors Fellow

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Biometrics expert Nalini Ratha named National Academy of Inventors Fellow

Biometrics expert Nalini Ratha, also an Empire Innovation Professor at the University at Buffalo (UB)’s Department of Computer Science and Engineering, has been named as a National Academy of Inventors (NAI) Fellow for the class of 2021.

The program selected 1,403 fellows globally from more than 250 universities, governmental and nonprofit research institutions to further research and advancements in innovation.

According to Venu Govindaraju, vice president for research and economic development, and Kemper Lewis, dean of the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, Ratha was selected as part of the program for his extensive achievements in the field of biometrics.

“[He] has achieved worldwide recognition for his cutting-edge work in biometrics recognition, security, and privacy, and performance evaluation both in terms of highly citation publications and a long list of innovations captured through his patents,” Govindaraju and Lewis said in a joint statement.

More specifically, Ratha worked for IBM for nearly 25 years before joining UB in 2020 and has in the course of the years contributed to over 85 patents as either an inventor or co-inventor, most of them in the field of biometrics.

Among his most notable achievements is a design of an 11-point attack strategy to test threats to biometric systems, now used internationally also in relation to adversarial attacks in deep learning systems.

Ratha is also the mind behind a method to compute confidence intervals in performance evaluation by using “subsets bootstrap.” A variant of the bootstrap technique, the method is now cited in the vast majority of biometrics standards documents, according to the announcement.

The biometrics expert is currently a Fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) and International Association of Pattern Recognition (IAPR) and a distinguished scientist of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM).

Ratha has in the past won numerous awards for his technical achievements, including a nomination as IBM Research Master Inventor in 2018 and an IEEE Biometrics Council Leadership Award.

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