Dr. Mariofanna Milanova, professor of computer science, is being honored as the 2020 Faculty Excellence in Research and Creative Endeavors award winner for the UA Little Rock College of Engineering and Information Technology. UA Little Rock will reveal the university-wide winners of the 2020 Faculty Excellence Awards at 2 p.m. Thursday, April 23, on the Faculty Excellence website and the UA Little Rock Facebook page.
“It has been clear since my arrival at UA Little Rock that Dr. Milanova is one of the strongest research faculty members in the College of Engineering,” said Dr. Albert Baker, interim chair of the Department of Computer Science. “Her expertise in computer vision, machine learning, and artificial intelligence places her work at the leading edge of what is rapidly becoming one of the most important areas of research across many disciplines – machine learning.”
Milanova’s research in artificial intelligence and machine learning has been awarded multiple grants in recent years, including from the National Science Foundation and the Department of Homeland Security. Her research team has significant experience working on projects in emotion-recognition technology, such as recognizing emotions related to depression, pain or stress, emotions in fake face videos, and recognizing the gesture, behavior, and activities of people.
“Her funding and research collaborations in health and security areas are important as these are areas of national priority and will continue to attract funding and have many research challenges ahead,” said Dr. Adel Elmaghraby, professor of computer science and engineering at the University of Louisville. “Dr. Mariofanna Milanova has also chaired several international conferences and edited or coedited several books and proceedings in addition to her own publications. This is a clear indication that she has gained international recognition in her field and will continue to do so.”
Dr. Milanova tries to create a bridge between research, workforce needs, and the classroom. She brings industry partners into her classes, so the students learn about different ideas and real-world problems from industry. Current students are participating in several of her research projects and grants.
“Over the past ten years, Dr. Milanova has not only mentored budding high school researchers participating in the High School Research Program, but she has effectively worked with UA Little Rock students and exposed them to different areas of her research,” said Vernard Henley Jr., assistant dean of the Donaghey College of Engineering and Information Technology. “Dr. Milanova has been able to involve UA Little Rock students in cutting edge research while encouraging them to inquire about other potential applications of the research.”
Millanova is a senior member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), a Fulbright alum, and has been nominated as an International Association of Pattern Recognition (IAPR) Fellow.
Milanova has a master’s degree in electrical engineering, master’s degree in artificial intelligence, and Ph.D. in computer vision and machine learning, all from Technical University in Sofia, Bulgaria. She also completed post-doctoral research in computer vision at the University of Paderborn in Germany and post-doctoral research in biomedical engineering at the University of Porto in Portugal.