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Dr. Niranjan Suri named IHMC associate director

Dr. Niranjan Suri has been named an associate director at Florida Institute for Human and Machine Cognition. Suri is an IHMC Senior Research Scientist and Associate for Research for the Information Sciences Division at the U.S. Army Research Laboratory.

Suri has been part of the IHMC family since 1994 and was part of its beginnings at the University of West Florida.  It is a fitting chapter in the career of Suri, who first connected with IHMC founder Dr. Ken Ford as a UWF student and teaching assistant back in the early 1990s.

“I have known Niranjan since he was a student long ago and have enjoyed watching his development as a colleague and successful senior research scientist at IHMC,” Ford says. “He has always been a joy to work with and a team player. He has contributed to IHMC in many ways and now, while continuing his important research, he steps into a leadership role.”

“One of the best parts of being with the IHMC team is to be able to work with a diverse, interdisciplinary group of people, with expertise in a wide variety of subject matters,” Suri says. “I think another excellent attribute at IHMC is that everyone is trying to be helpful – so that all of us can succeed in our research.”

Suri’s recent research focuses on Agile Computing, which supports the discovery, management, and exploitation of resources and information in highly dynamic networked environments. His other research interests include Distributed Systems, Networking, Communications Protocols, and Internet of Things.

He recalls that his first IHMC-related job — back when IHMC was in a small section of Building 79, then the Computer Science department — was for Dr. Alberto Canas, IHMC Associate Director and Senior Research Scientist, for a project called Quorum.

“(Quorum’s) goal was to enable school kids in South and Central America to collaborate and exchange information,” Suri says. “I was also a Teaching Assistant for Dr. Ford for his Introduction to AI course. ”

While working on his master’s degree at UWF, Suri started focusing more on his own research and working with others, like Dr. Jeffrey Bradshaw, on Software Agents. They first started working with the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), and then branched out to do more work with the U.S. Army, Navy/Marine Corps, and Air Force.

“My research has since mostly evolved to focus on Distributed Systems, Intelligent Networking, and Communications, and the area we more broadly label Agile Computing,” Suri says.

In his work with the Army Research Lab, Suri works with a number of North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) Research Task Groups. He also supports the Internet of Battlefield Things (IoBT) program at the Army Research Lab and was responsible for setting up the Distributed Virtual Proving Ground (DVPG), an experimental testbed that connects multiple university and government sites together for joint experimentation.

He has taught undergraduate and graduate courses in Computer Science at UWF for over 10 years and currently mentors two students in the joint IHMC-UWF Intelligent Systems and Robotics Ph.D. program.

He has been a principal investigator of numerous research projects sponsored by the U.S. Army Research Laboratory, the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, the Office of Naval Research, and the National Science Foundation.

Suri has authored or co-authored more than 200 papers, has been on the technical program committees of several international conferences, and has been a reviewer for NSF as well as several international journals.

While assuming a leadership role at IHMC, Suri will continue his research work. He hopes to continue the traditions that have made IHMC a compelling and unique place to work.

“Compared to other organizations, a great part of IHMC is the freedom for researchers to focus on their work with minimal overhead and interference,” Suri says. “Leadership is there to help all the researchers succeed, not to get in their way. As an Associate Director, I hope to continue that trend.”

IHMC is a not-for-profit research institute of the Florida University System where researchers pioneer science and technology aimed at leveraging and extending human capabilities. IHMC researchers and staff collaborate extensively with the government, industry and academia to help develop breakthrough technologies. IHMC research partners have included: DARPA, the National Science Foundation, NASA, Army, Navy, Air Force, National Institutes of Health, IBM, Microsoft, Honda, Boeing, Lockheed, and many others.