The Honorable Sethuraman Panchanathan is a computer scientist and engineer and the 15th director of the U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF). Panchanathan was nominated to this position by the President of the United States in 2019 and subsequently unanimously confirmed by the U.S. Senate on June 18, 2020.
Panchanathan previously served as the executive vice president of the Arizona State University (ASU) Knowledge Enterprise, where he was also chief research and innovation officer. Under his leadership, ASU increased research performance fivefold, earning recognition as the fastest growing and most innovative research university in the U.S.
Panchanathan’s scientific contributions have advanced the areas of human-centered multimedia computing, haptic user interfaces, person-centered tools and ubiquitous computing technologies for enhancing the quality of life for individuals with different abilities; machine learning for multimedia applications; medical image processing; and media processor designs. He has published close to 500 articles in refereed journals and conference proceedings, and has mentored more than 150 graduate students, postdocs, research engineers and research scientists, many now occupy leading positions in academia and industry.
For his scientific contributions, Panchanathan has received numerous awards, such as Distinguished Alumnus Awards and the Governor’s Innovator of the Year for Academia Award for his development of information technology centric assistive and rehabilitative environments to assist individuals with visual impairments.
Panchanathan is a fellow of the National Academy of Inventors, where he also served as vice president for strategic initiatives. He is also a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the Canadian Academy of Engineering, the Association for Computing Machinery, the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers and the Society of Optical Engineering.