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Fang named Mills Development Chair

Named professorship

Photo by Kathy F. Atkinson

Hui Fang named David L. and Beverly J.C. Mills Development Chair

Hui Fang has been named the David L. and Beverly J.C. Mills Chair in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of Delaware.

The appointment recognizes her “remarkable scientific achievements to date and the potential for a truly distinguished scientific career.”

“Prof. Fang’s outstanding teaching and scholarship contributions exemplify the excellence the Mills Junior Chair represents,” says Kenneth Barner, professor and chair of the department. “Her dedication, efforts, and impact on students and the information retrieval field are rightly recognized by this prestigious appointment.”

Fang, who earned her doctorate at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 2007, conducts research in the areas of data and information management.

“I have a broad interest in all kinds of real-world applications that are related to effectively and efficiently managing large amounts of text information,” she says.

One of those application areas is emergency management, and Fang is leading an interdisciplinary team in the development of a prototype system, known as InfoChain, for disaster mitigation, preparedness, response and recovery. With support from the National Science Foundation, the researchers are developing the capability to search document tuples, or groups of documents that collectively satisfy an information need.

“When disasters strike, there is an urgent need to consolidate scattered, probably chaotic and incomplete, information and then to plan the next step,” Fang says. “The information needed to reach a decision or develop a policy is very likely not provided by a single document or a single piece of text but resides in multiple sources. The document tuple is a more natural and desirable retrieval unit for complicated information needs than the individual documents that are turned up in traditional queries.”

Fang has also received funding from the University of Delaware Cybersecurity Initiative to develop an integrative analytical tool for social media, as well as support from the University of Delaware Research Foundation to develop a smartphone-based approach to enhance treatment for clinical depression and an early warning system for unrecognized drug side effect discovery.

“Though early in her career, Prof. Fang is a recognized leader in the field of information retrieval, with more than 90 publications and over 1,300 citations,” says Kathy McCoy, professor and chair of the Department of Computer and Information Sciences, where Fang has a joint appointment.

“She has received a best paper award from the top conference in her field and has been deeply involved in leadership positions including serving as a program committee member for over 50 conferences.”

In addition to her strong record of scholarship, Fang received the College of Engineering Excellence in Teaching Award in 2013, and she is actively involved in the mentoring of graduate and undergraduate students.

The professorship honors David L. Mills, professor emeritus, and Beverly J.C. Mills, a UD alumna. It is meant to reward exceptional young female faculty talent, alternating between the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering and the Department of Computer and Information Sciences.

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