2021 Jack and Jane Morris Professorship

The professorship recognizes and rewards one faculty member for his or her outstanding research program. The professorship carries a three-year term. The 2021 recipient is Dr. Vasile Rus.

Dr. Vasile RusDr. Rus is a Full Professor of Computer Science at The University of Memphis and the Lead Principal Investigator of the newly NSF-funded Learner Data Institute to lay the foundations of a Data Science Institute for learner data (www.learnerdatainstitute.org). Dr. Rus' research interests lie at the intersection of artificial intelligence, human and machine learning, and language processing with an emphasis on developing interactive intelligent systems such as intelligent tutoring systems and care-bots (healthcare bots).

Rus has served in various roles on research projects funded by the National Science Foundation, Department of Defense, Department of Education, and private companies. Many of those projects involved the development of intelligent tutoring systems and medium-size (10-25 people) interdisciplinary teams. For instance, Dr. Rus has led the development of the DeepTutor system (www.deeptutor.org), a project funded by the Department of Education and is currently leading the development of an NSF-funded project to develop an intelligent tutoring system for source code comprehension, called DeepCode.

Dr. Rus produced more than 150 peer-reviewed publications and received 6 Best Paper Award nominations of which 3 were Best Paper Awards. His team won the first two Question Answering competitions organized by the National Institute for Science and Technology (NIST) and recently his team won the English Semantic Similarity challenge organized by the leading forum on semantic evaluations – SemEval. Among other accomplishments, Dr. Rus was named Systems Testing Research Fellow of the FedEx Institute of Technology for his pioneering work in the area of software systems testing and is a member of the PI Millionaire club at The University of Memphis for his successful efforts to attract multi-million funds from federal agencies as Principal Investigator (PI).