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Biography & CV


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Short Biography

Sumi Helal, PhD, Fellow, IEEE, is a Professor at the Computer and Information Science and Engineering Department at the University of Florida. He is a recognized leader in the fields of Mobile and Pervasive Computing. His current research focuses on Smart Spaces (new technological enablers, architectures, ecosystem, intelligent interactions, and real-world deployments), Internet of Things (scalable cloud-sensor architectures for smart cities, IoT programmability, and city-scale IoT optimizations), and Assistive Technology (successful aging, affective and persuasive interactions, context-driven simulation, and assistive technology for the blind and hearing impaired). He is well-known for his interdisciplinary research on smart homes and Health Telematics in support of Health Care and Aging, Disabilities, and Independence (ADI). He directs the Mobile and Pervasive Computing Laboratory in the CISE department at the University of Florida. He is co-founder and director of the Gator Tech Smart House, an experimental facility for applied research development and validation in the domains of elder care and health telematics. He led and directed the technology development of the NIDRR-funded Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center (RERC) on Successful Aging (2001-2007). He is well-published, with over 280 books, book chapters, journal/transaction articles, and conference and workshop articles.

Dr. Helal is a technologist at heart. Some of his research led to the creation of emerging technologies, especially in mobile and pervasive computing. He is highly experienced in matters of intellectual property and technology protection (15 patent applications and 9 issued patents), business development, launching technology start-ups, incubation, technology management, and policy issues of the emerging “innovation economy” science and technology parks. He is the founder of three companies: Phoneomena, Inc., one of the earliest mobile application and middleware companies (2002-2007), Pervasa, Inc., focused on IoT platform and middleware products for sensor-based systems and enabler tools for creating smart spaces (2006-2011), and Spaceify Oy, focused on middleware and tools for developing and programming smart spaces.

Dr. Helal secured significant grants (both federal and industrial) to fund his research programs. As PI or Co-PI, he received over 41 grants which raised over $10.3M since he joined UF in 1998 (not counting equipment grants). He has funded, supervised, and graduated 20 PhD students and 58 Master’s thesis students in the past 16 years. Among the funding agencies and companies who funded (or currently fund) his research are: the National Science Foundation, National Institutes of Health, DARPA, the U.S. Special Operation Command, IBM, Motorola, Harris Corporation, Microsoft Research, Citrix Systems, Sun Microsystems, Nokia Research Labs, and the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research. He has also been funded by international organizations including Tekes, Finland, and several times by ETRI, South Korea.

Dr. Helal is the Editor-in-Chief of IEEE Computer, the premier and flagship magazine of the IEEE Computer Society. He has been Associate Editor-in-Chief of Computer since 2009. Dr. Helal is also one of the co-founders and an editorial board member of the IEEE Pervasive Computing magazine. He was the Editor of the magazine's column on Standards, Tools, and Emerging Technologies from the magazine’s inception in 2002 until 2011. He also recently served as Associate Editor-in-Chief of IEEE Pervasive Computing.

Dr. Helal has organized 26 conferences and workshops as the program/general chair/cochair, and is one of very few who has chaired both the ACM Ubicomp (2009) and ACM MobiCom (2013), the premier international conferences on ubiquitous computing and mobile computing, respectively. He has given more than two dozen keynotes at prestigious conferences around the world. He has given invited talks at top research centers (Microsoft Research Redmond, Microsoft Research Beijing, Nokia Research Labs, Motorola Research, IBM TJ Watson Research Labs, GE Global Research Labs, Bell Labs, ETRI South Korea, and Europe’s EIT Digital) and in distinguished lecture series at top universities, including Peking University, University of Minnesota, Queens University in Canada, and Singapore Management University.

Dr. Helal’s research has received substantial media attention and broad coverage since 2001. This includes the New York Times, MIT Technology Review, the Chicago Tribune, USA Today, the Discovery Channel “Beyond Tomorrow” TV program, and many other newspapers and famous computer magazines. In March 2010, Dr. Helal was featured as the cover story in Florida Trends Magazine, the premier business and technology magazine of the state of Florida. Details of all media coverage of Dr. Helal, his students, and his research findings can be accessed here. Additional awards and honors can be found here.

Born in Suez, Egypt, Dr. Helal earned his BE and ME degrees summa cum laude in Computer Engineering and Automatic Control from Alexandria University, Egypt, in 1982 and 1985, respectively. He earned his MSc and PhD degrees in Computer Sciences from Purdue University in 1989 and 1991, respectively. Dr. Helal’s latest news can be followed here.