Ontolog Forum

Sargur N. Srihari

Our friend and Ontology Summit collaborator Sargur "Hari" Srihari died on March 8, 2022. Srihari was a SUNY Distinguished Professor in the Department of Computer Science and Engineering at the University at Buffalo, The State University of New York. He held the Rukmini Govindachar chair in the School of Automation, Indian Institute of Science during 2018. A research laboratory that Srihari founded at Buffalo, CEDAR, developed the world’s first automated system for reading handwritten postal addresses. It was deployed by the United States Postal Service-- which saved hundreds of millions of dollars in labor costs helping keep US postal rates lower. A side-effect of this project was that it led to the task of recognizing handwritten digits to be considered the fruit-fly of AI methods, and the development of the MNIST data set, the starting point for every new machine learning algorithm. Srihari subsequently spent a decade developing AI and machine learning methods for forensics—focusing on pattern evidence such as latent prints, handwriting and footwear impressions. In particular, quantifying the value of handwriting evidence-- to allow presenting such testimony in US courts. Srihari has served on the National Academy of Sciences Committee on Identifying the Needs of the Forensic Science Community which led to an influential report. He has also served on NIJ-NIST committees on Human Factors in Fingerprint Analysis and Handwriting Comparison. Srihari taught a trilogy of three courses: (i) introduction to machine learning, (ii) deep learning and (iii) probabilistic graphical models. His publicly available course slides are widely used. Srihari's honors include: Fellow of the Institute of Electronics and Telecommunications Engineers (IETE, India), Fellow of the IEEE, Fellow of the International Association for Pattern Recognition and distinguished alumnus of the Ohio State University College of Engineering. He received an Excellence in Graduate mentorship award from the University at Buffalo in 2018. Srihari received a B.Sc. in Physics and Mathematics from the Bangalore University, a B.E. in Electrical Communication Engineering from the Indian Institute of Science and a Ph.D. in Computer and Information Science from the Ohio State University. Dr. Sargur Srihari will be greatly missed By the Ontolog Forum Community. Sargur Srihari Obituary