ECE professor earns honorary professor status from UK university
James Keller is hoping a new title and a trip to England will breed future research collaborations with the University of Nottingham.
Keller, a Curators Professor in the Electrical and Computer Engineering and Computer Science departments, recently was named an Honorary Professor by the University of Nottingham and spent time at the British university giving a pair of talks and further building relationships with other researchers.
“I know eight people at various places in the UK, and three of them are now at the University of Nottingham,” Keller said. “And we have similar, if not exactly the same, research interests. We’re in the same basic area, and we kind of toyed around with working together.
“And the youngest of the group (University of Nottingham transitional fellow Christian Wagner) said, ‘Hey, we have this program at the University of Nottingham called the Honorary Professor Program. We’d like to put you up for that.”
Keller filed the proper paperwork to apply for the program, checked all the appropriate boxes and was selected for the program last May, with his official term as Honorary Professor beginning in August. He made the trip to the central England town earlier this year and spoke both to a larger group of faculty and students and to the group of researchers he previously developed relationships with, including Professors Jon Garibaldi and Bob John, former director of the Centre for Computational Intelligence at De Montfort University in Leicester.
“It was nice academically. I gave those two talks — I think they went over pretty well,” Keller said. “They have a good group of faculty and students that are studying computational intelligence systems, which is what we do here. There was a good interchange between the groups.”
The University of Nottingham was named British “Entrepreneurial University of the Year” by The Times in 2008 and ranked eighth on The Sunday Times’ ranking of British universities by their 10-year average in 2007.
Keller, an avid traveler, also took a bit of time to see the sights during his trip. He saw Sherwood Forest of “Robin Hood” fame and went to Stonehenge. Salisbury Cathedral, home to one of four surviving original copies of the Magna Carta, also was a highlight, as was the birthplace of Sir Isaac Newton and Ye Olde Trip to Jerusalem, an inn and tavern born in 1189 that boasts of being England’s oldest such establishment. Its name is a reference to the Crusades.
“Back in the cave (in Ye Olde Trip to Jerusalem), that’s where Richard the Lionheart and his guys planned, I think it was the fourth Crusade,” Keller said.
With the talks done and the sightseeing finished, Keller’s focus is on the future. He’s currently working on opening doors for further collaboration with the University of Nottingham on research topics related to his work.
“I’m hoping that we’re going to get some more lasting collaboration. I’ve invited two of the guys for inverse visits. I like to bring people in,” he said.