As an exciting news at the beginning of this new year, MCL alumnus Dr. Lance Kaplan, is elevated to the rank of IEEE fellow, effectively Jan 1st 2016.

Dr. Lance Kaplan received his PhD degree at 1994, as Prof. Kuo’s 4th graduated PhD student in MCL. After his graduation, he worked on staff in the Reconnaissance Systems Department of the Hughes Aircraft Company until 1996.  From 1996-2004, he was a member of the faculty in the Department of Engineering  and a senior investigator in the Center of Theoretical Studies of Physical Systems (CTSPS) at Clark Atlanta University (CAU), Atlanta, GA. Currently, he is a team leader in the Networked Sensing and Fusion branch of the U.S. Army Research Laboratory. Dr. Kaplan serves as Associate Editor-In-Chief and EO/IR Systems Editor for the IEEE Transactions on Aerospace and Electronic Systems (AES). In addition, he is the tutorials editor for the IEEE AES Magazine, and he also serves on the Board of Governors of the IEEE AES Society. He is a three time recipient of the Clark Atlanta University Electrical Engineering Instructional Excellence Award from 1999-2001. He has made significant contributions to several emerging areas: target tracking and localization in distributed sensor networks, extended fractal analysis, trust estimation in social sensing, Joint SAR image formation and detection, etc. His current research interests include signal and image processing, automatic target recognition, data fusion, and resource management.

MCL student Chen Chen got a precious opportunity to have a short interview with Dr. Kaplan.

Q: “How does the study in USC and MCL affect your academia career?”

A: “It was a good foundation. The group was small and researches being conducted were specific to image compression and image processing. Everything in the group were impressive. Prof. Kuo had a close guidance on both my research and personal life. He was very nice and supportive. I had learnt a lot in research skills for both industry and academia jobs.

Q: “What are the motivations for you to choose academia job after working in industry?”

A: “I started to recognize I am a researcher after I worked in Hughes Aircraft Company for a while. When I was a student, I didn’t hesitate to jump into the industry pool. However, I started to find my interests in something with requests of larger concepts and higher level of thinking, when I had several working experiences in rigid systems and projects.”

Q: “Deep Learning is wildly expanding its territory in Computer Vision? How do you think about the current situation? Do you think it will take over the authority or fade out after several year?”

A: “I have seen waves like that during my academia career. For example, Neural Network was on the tide top two decades ago. I believe it is not a bad thing to have Convolutional Neural Network today. It is nothing but big data marrying huge computational power. However, it is still lacking of reasoning, which is the most important thing we need to explore as a computer vision researcher. I think CNN or other approach will still need to come back to this unsolved issue.”

Q: “What do you want to say to current MCL students?”

A: “Enjoy your time and try your best to do better. Other than that, try to socialize with faculties and students from other groups, other departments and even schools. This will broaden your vision and let you recognize yourself before you choose your career.”

Finally, we appreciate Dr. Lance Kaplan for his sincere answers and congratulate him for achievements and recognition in his career.