Alan Willsky

Alan Willsky
  • Position: Professor
  • Office: 32-D582
  • Phone: +1 (617) 253-2356
  • Email: willsky@mit.edu
  • Areas of Study: Vision & Graphics
  • Personal Website
  • Last Update: July 9, 2008
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Biography

Dr. Alan Willsky received his S.B. in 1969 and his Ph.D. in 1973 from the Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics at MIT. He joined the M.I.T. faculty in 1973 and is currently the Edwin Sibley Webster Professor of Electrical Engineering. He co-founded and was a member of the Board of Directors of Alphatech, Inc., now BAE Systems Advanced Information Technologies, where he continues to hold the position as Chief Scientific Consultant. From 1998-2002 he served as a member of the United States Air Force Scientific Advisory Board. He has received a number of awards including the 1975 American Automatic Control Council Donald P. Eckman Award, the 1979 ASCE Alfred Noble Prize, the 1980 IEEE Browder J. Thompson Memorial Award, and the 2004 IEEE Donald G. Fink Prize Paper Award. Dr. Willsky has held visiting positions in England and France and various leadership positions in the IEEE Control Systems Society (which made him a Distinguished Member in 1988). He has delivered numerous keynote addresses and is co-author of the undergraduate text Signals and Systems. His research interests are in the development and application of advanced methods of estimation and inference, statistical signal and image processing, graphical models, machine learning, and sensor networks. Methods he has developed have been successfully applied in a variety of applications including failure detection, surveillance systems, biomedical signal and image processing, and remote sensing.

Publications

Books

  • Willsky, A.S., “Digital Signal Processing and Control and Estimation Theory--Points of Tangency, Areas of Intersection, and ParallelDirections,” The M.I.T. Press, Cambridge, MA June 1979.
  • Oppenheim, A.V. and Willsky, A.S., “Signals and Systems,” Prentice-Hall, Inc., Englewood Cliffs, NJ, November 1982 (1st ed.), August 1996 (2nd ed.).

Award-winning journal papers

  • Willsky, A.S., “Relationships Between Digital Signal Processing and Control and Estimation Theory,” Proc. IEEE, Vol. 66, No. 9., pp. 996-1017, Sept. 1978 (1979 ASCE Alfred Noble Prize, the 1980 IEEE Browder J. Thompson Memorial Award).
  • Rossi, D.J. and Willsky, A.S., “Reconstruction from Projections Based on Detection and Estimation of Objects -- Part I: Performance Analysis and Part II: Robustness Analysis,” IEEE Trans. on Acoustics, Speech, and Signal Processing, Vol. 32, No. 4, pp. 886-906, Aug. 1984 (Best paper with principal author being a student, IEEE Signal Processing Society).
  • Willsky, A.S., “Multiresolution Statistical Models for Signal and Image Processing,” Proceedings of the IEEE, Vol. 90, No. 8, Aug. 2002, pp. 1396-1458 (2004 IEEE Donald G. Fink Prize Paper Award).

Other recent journal papers

  • D.M. Malioutov, J.Johnson, and A.S. Willsky, “Walk-Sums and Belief Propagation in Gaussian Graphical Models,” accepted for publication in Journal of Machine Learning Research.
  • M. Cetin, L. Chen, J. W. Fisher, III, A.T. Ihler, R.L. Moses, M.J. Wainwright, and A.S. Willsky, “Distributed Fusion in Sensor Networks: A Graphical Models Perspective,” special issue of the IEEE Signal Processing Magazine on Signal Processing in Sensor Networks, Vol. 23, No. 4, July 2006, pp. 42-55.
  • M.J. Wainwright, T.S. Jaakkola, and A.S. Willsky, “MAP Estimation Via Agreement on Trees: Message Passing and Linear Programming Approaches,” IEEE Trans. on Information Theory, Vol. 51, No. 11, November 2005, pp. 3697-3717.
  • A.T. Ihler, J.W. Fisher, III, and A.S. Willsky, “Loopy Belief Propagation: Convergence and Effects of Message Errors,” Journal of Machine Learning Research, Vol. 6, May 2005, pp. 905-936.
  • J. Kim, J.W. Fisher, A. Yezzi, M. Cetin, and A.S. Willsky, “Nonparametric Methods for Image Segmentation Using Information Theory and Curve Evolution,” IEEE Trans. on Image Processing, Vol. 14, No. 10, Oct. 2005, pp. 1486-1502.

Award-winning conference papers

  • M.J. Wainwright, T.S. Jaakkola, and A.S. Willsky, “A New Class of Upper Bounds on the Log-Partition Function,” 2002 Uncertainty in Artificial Intelligence Conference (winner of Best Paper Award).
  • Tsai, A., Yezzi, A., Wells, W., Tempany, C., Tucker, D., Fan, A., Grimson, W.E.L., and Willsky, A.S., “Model-Based Curve Evolution Technique for Image Segmentation,” oral presentation at IEEE CVPR 2001 (Winner—Best Student Paper Award).
  • W. Sun, M. Cetin, W.C. Thacker, T.M. Chin, and A.S. Willsky, “Localization of Oceanic Fronts and Feature Boundaries Using a Variational Technique,” 2003 American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting (Best Student Paper Award).
  • A.T. Ihler, J.W. Fisher, III, R. Moses, and A.S. Willsky, “Nonparametric Belief Propagation for Self-Calibration in Sensor Networks,” Conference on Information Processing in Sensor Networks, Berkeley, CA, April 2004 (Best Student Paper Award).
  • A.T. Ihler, J.W. Fisher, and A.S. Willsky, “Message Errors in Belief Propagation” Neural Information Processing Systems (NIPS) 2004 (Outstanding Student Paper Award).
  • L. Chen, “Distributed Data Association for Multi-Target Tracking in Sensor Networks, 8th Int’l. Conference on Sensor Fusion, 2005 (Best Student Paper Award).
  • D.M. Malioutov, J. Johnson, and A.S. Willsky, “Low-Rank Variance Estimation in Large-Scale GMRF Models,” IEEE Int’l. Conf. on Acoustics, Speech, and Signal Processing, (ICASSP) 2006, Toulouse, France (Best Student Paper Award).

Awards

  • Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers: Int'l. Conf. on Acoustics| Speech| and Signal Processing (ICASSP) - – Best Student Paper Award (2006)
  • 8th International Conference on Sensor Fusion: Best Student Paper Award (2005)
  • Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers: Donald G. Fink Prize Paper Award (2004)
  • Neural Information Processing Systems (NIPS): Outstanding Student Paper Award (2004)
  • International Symposium on Information Processing in Sensor Networks: Best Paper Award (2004)
  • American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting: Best Student Paper Award (2003)
  • Symposium on Uncertainty in Artificial Intelligence 02: Best Paper Award (2002)
  • IEEE Conference on Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition: Best Paper Award (2001)
  • IEEE Transactions on Acoustics, Speech and Signal Processing: Best Paper Award (1986)
  • Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers: Fellow (1985)
  • Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers: Browder J. Thompson Memorial Award (1980)
  • American Society of Civil Engineers: Alfred Noble Prize (1979)
  • American Automatic Control Council: Donald P. Eckman Award (1975)