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A decade of accolades for Rutgers computer science pioneer

July 08, 2003

NEW BRUNSWICK/PISCATAWAY, N.J. – The director of Rutgers' Division of Information and Computer Science has shown - again - that his research has staying power. In June, Tomasz Imielinski received the Test of Time award for the most influential paper of the past 10 years at the Association for Computing Machinery Special Interest Group on Management of Data (ACM SIGMOD) annual conference in San Diego.

The honor comes less than a year after Imielinski won the Ten Year Best Paper award at the 2002 International Conference on Very Large Data Bases (VLDB) in Hong Kong, making him the only computer scientist ever to receive highly coveted 10-year recognition awards from both major data management research associations.

The awards, for separate papers, honor data management research with the most impact and influence over the past 10 years. They are based on the number of times a paper has been cited in other research and its tangible results in the past decade.

The ACM SIGMOD Test of Time award is for Imielinski's pioneering work in data mining – discovering trends and patterns in massive collections of data The algorithm he developed paved the way for cutting-edge companies like bookseller to build assocations among customers’ buying patterns and better recommend books and other merchandise.

Imielinski's paper, "Mining Association Rules," is the 14th all-time, most-cited computer science paper, according to the CiteSeer tracking service. Written with Rakesh Agrawal and Arun Swami of the IBM Almaden Research Center, it was first presented at the 1993 ACM SIGMOD conference.

The VLDB Ten Year Best Paper award was for 1992's "Querying in Highly Mobile Distributed Environments," written with Badri R. Nath, Rutgers computer science professor. The paper posed challenging questions and provided initial solutions for data management problems in the then-emerging field of mobile computing. It helped create methods for various mobile entities, from ambulances to delivery trucks, to query data efficiently over wireless networks, and was described in conference literature as "a visionary paper - the first on this topic at any major database conference. (It) set the stage for subsequent work in mobile databases."

"SIGMOD and VLDB are the two most important conferences in database management," Imielinski said. "What is particularly satisfying is that they are two different papers in two different areas, and 10 years later they were selected scientifically for their tangible impacts.”

The honors come as Imielinski celebrates his 20th year at Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, and his seventh as chair of the computer science department which became part of Rutgers’ division of information and computer sciences in 2001. He is relinquishing chairmanship of the department this year to concentrate on research and teaching as a computer sciences professor.

"Both of these award-winning papers were based on simple ideas put forth just as their respective fields were emerging," he said. Imielinski is trying to do it again – this time via data mining in genetics. “There are not many computer scientists working with geneticists,” he said. “These are life and death problems. If I can design algorithms to discover combinations of genes causing a complex disease - it would be great.”

Imielinski, a resident of Princeton, received his Ph.D. in computer science from the Polish Academy of Science in Warsaw in 1982 and a B.Sc. in electrical engineering from Politechnika Gda½ska in 1978. He is co-author of two computer science books, numerous book chapters and more than 70 research papers.

Contact: Bill Haduch
732/932-7084, ext. 633

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Last Updated: 01/21/2004

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