Mathew Palakal, Ph.D., senior executive associate dean and professor of informatics at IUPUI, was presented with a Chancellor’s Medallion by Interim Chancellor Andrew R. Klein on June 7, 2023. Palakal was honored on the occasion of his retirement following 35 years of service to IUPUI and the Luddy School of Informatics, Computing, and Engineering. A prolific scholar, Dr. Palakal came to the campus in 1988 as a faculty member in the School of Science pursuing his research interests in pattern analysis and machine intelligence. He later served as professor and chair of the Department of Computer and Information Science in the School of Science.
One measure of Palakal’s success over the course of his career are the awards that his school has received recognizing outstanding faculty, staff, students, and top-rate programs. For instance, Informatics and Computing faculty have regularly received Google Research Awards to advance their studies. Faculty have also received the prestigious NSF CAREER Awards, which support promising early career faculty members. Informatics and computing students have been part of projects that have received local and national recognition, including from the American Medical Informatics Association.
One highly successful program developed under Palakal’s leadership that has garnered both accolades and community support is the Informatics Diversity-Enhanced Workforce (iDEW) initiative. Designed to open doors for disadvantaged high school students in Indiana to informatics and computing careers, iDEW is a partnership with area high schools that builds the STEM pipeline and creates real-world, hands-on educational opportunities that make young people excited to learn. Most recently, the program received a $2.6 million grant in 2023 from the Indiana Department of Education to expand computing curriculum and co-curricular activities to include additional teacher training and expansion into area middle schools and elementary schools. Palakal also served as Principal Investigator in the LiFT Scholar program. Funded by the National Science Foundation, the program offers scholarships to academically talented, economically disadvantaged, and underrepresented minority high school graduates.
Palakal received the Distinguished Service Award from the Special Interest Group on Applied Computing in 2013 for providing outstanding service to the organization’s annual Symposium on Applied Computing. In addition, in 2023 Governor Eric Holcomb honored Palakal with a Sagamore of the Wabash, among the highest awards the governor of Indiana can bestow to recognize distinguished service to the state or to the governor. Dr. Palakal earned his B.S., M.S., and Ph.D. degrees in Computer Science from Concordia University in Montreal, Canada.