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March 22, 2012
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Senior Vice President of Google and UMD Alumnus Awarded 2011 ACM Fellow Honor

Often considered as the person behind Google's search technology, UMD alumnus Dr. Amit Singhal has been named a 2011 Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) Fellow in recognition of his contributions to search and information retrieval. Currently the Senior Vice President of Google and recently elected to the National Academy of Engineering, Singhal earned his master of computer science in 1992 from UMD.

"It was indeed a pleasure to foster Amit's interest in information retrieval and to guide his initial research in the field," said Dr. Donald Crouch, UMD Professor of Computer Science and Singhal's graduate research advisor. "We are extremely pleased with Amit's numerous contributions to the field of search and ACM's recognition of them."

Singhal is currently working for Google Inc. as one of four Google Fellows within the entire company, a designation that Google reserves for its elite engineers. He is in charge of Google's ranking team whose responsibility is to continuously monitor and improve the search engine's performance. His team typically makes 10 changes to the ranking algorithm each week. In other words, his team decides which documents best match a search query.

"When you type a phrase into Google's search engine, the results you get are based on formulas for combining the information that is on the web," said Rich Maclin, professor of computer science of the Swenson College of Science and Engineering. "The engineers and scientists of Google constantly refine these formulas to get you better answers."

Since 2000, Singhal has been pioneering search as the technical lead for Google's core search algorithms. He is credited with most of the information retrieval design decisions in Google Search. He is responsible for prioritization and has overseen the development of numerous algorithmic signals and their progression over time. He is responsible for leading critically important initiatives at the company.

The 2011 ACM Fellows Program has recognized 46 of its members for their contributions to computing that have provided fundamental knowledge to the computing field and generated multiple technology advances in industry, commerce, healthcare, entertainment, and education.

The 2011 ACM Fellows, from the world's leading universities, corporations, and research labs, are helping to drive the innovations that will sustain competitiveness in the digital age.

"These women and men, who are some of the leading thinkers and practitioners in computer science and engineering, are changing how the world lives and works," said ACM President Alain Chesnais. "They have mastered the tools of computing and computer science to address the many significant challenges that confront populations across the globe. These international luminaries are responsible for solutions that are transforming our society for the better—in healthcare, communications, cybersecurity, robotics, commerce, industry, and entertainment."

ACM will formally recognize the 2011 Fellows at its annual Awards Banquet on June 16, 2012 in San Francisco, CA. Additional information about the ACM 2011 Fellows, the awards event, as well as previous ACM Fellows and award winners is available at www.acm.org/awards.

The ACM Fellows Program was established by Council in 1993 to recognize and honor outstanding ACM members for their achievements in computer science and information technology and for their significant contributions to the mission of the ACM. The ACM Fellows serve as distinguished colleagues to whom the ACM and its members look for guidance and leadership as the world of information technology evolves.



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