Curriculum Vitae

Educational Background: 

May 2010: Ph.D. in Electrical and Computer Engineering
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC)
+ Ph.D. thesis: Dynamic Textures: Models and Applications
+ Ph.D. advisory committee: Prof. Narendra Ahuja, Prof. Thomas Huang, Prof. David Forysth, Prof. Yi Ma, and Prof. John C. Hart
+ GPA: 4.0; Graduated with High Distinction  

Oct. 2008Master of Science (M.S.) in Electrical and Computer Engineering
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign 
M.S. thesis: Phase-Based Modeling of Dynamic Textures
GPA: 4.0; Graduated with High Distinction 

June 2005 Bachelor of Engineering (B.E.) in Computer and Communications Engineering
American University of Beirut

Final Year Project: Real-Time Vision-Based Mobile Robot Navigation in Outdoor Environments
GPA: 4.0; Graduated with High Distinction  

Research/Training Experience:

12/2010-02/2012: Advanced Digital Sciences Center (ADSC); Coordinated Science Laboratory (CSL) at UIUC
Senior Research Scientist; Senior Research Affiliate
  • Semantic Analysis of Sports Video Project: Principal investigator of this Human Sixth Sense Project at ADSC. This project investigates the use of computer vision techniques to infer high-level information from a single sports video and/or from multiple videos. Techniques are developed to perform efficient and accurate image-to-field registration, multi-agent event detection, multi-agent activity recognition, strategy discovery and detection, and content-based sports video retrieval.
  • Automated Medical Diagnosis from Retinal Images Project: Principal investigator of this joint project between ADSC and the Singapore Eye Research institute (SERI). In this project, we investigate novel ways of using retinal images to improve eye care and provide cost effective alternatives to currently  administered protocols in medical screening and diagnosis. Computer vision techniques are developed to automatically detect specific indicators and precursors of abnormalities, conditions, and diseases that manifest themselves in the eye, including glaucoma, diabetes, and hypertension.
  • Exemplar-Based Object Detection in Video Project: Collaborator on this ADSC project. 
    This project investigates efficient computer vision and machine learning techniques to detect an object from an exemplar image within video. The detection system allows for improved accuracy by automatically adapting to user feedback.
06/2010-12/2010: Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology at UIUC
Postdoctoral Fellow (Prof. Narendra Ahuja)
  • Studied the use of hierarchical image segmentation to predict visual saliency and attention in images. A parametric model was developed to represent the relationships between image segment features (e.g. local contrast, appearance/color, and structural properties) for predicting visual saliency. The model parameters were learned using ground truth visual saliency produced by eye-fixation points. The learned model outperformed eight state-of-the-art saliency methods on benchmark datasets, while also shedding light on the relative importance of each feature type and level of the hierarchy in determining visual saliency.
05/2009-09/2009:Vision Technology Inc., Champaign IL
Research Intern (Prof. Narendra Ahuja)
  • Studied the use of low-level segmentation for large-scale, online image/video retrieval. Efficient methods were designed to extract features, cluster, and rank images/videos according to their relevance to a certain query class. An automatic crawling system was developed to collect tens of thousands of images from the major online search engines (Google, Yahoo, and Bing) and videos from Youtube. To quantify retrieval results, human subjects were chosen to label the collected multimedia. For certain object classes (e.g. man-made objects), the developed retrieval system outperformed the online search engines. This project was supported by the US Department of Defense.
05/2008-present:Fashion Latte Inc., Champaign IL
Co-founder, Vice president, and Treasurer
  • Fashion Latte Inc. provides online services based on advanced computer vision/machine learning technology. It is an affiliate of the iVenture10 program sponsored by Illinois Ventures. Our first product is a visual search engine for online apparel shopping hosted at Fashionlatte allows users to efficiently browse the main online catalogs in a visually intuitive manner; thus enriching the online shopping experience. Advanced patent-pending computer vision and machine learning techniques have been developed to extract, represent, and classify different types of clothing, as well as, providing fashion specific recommendations. 
08/2005-05/2010:Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology at UIUC
Research Assistant (Prof. Narendra Ahuja)
  • Core research includes modeling, synthesizing, recognizing, compressing, and extracting dynamic textures from video. In the course of this research, multiple essential problems in computer vision and machine learning have been encountered and addressed accordingly. Suitable solutions for these problems have been developed, including an  efficient framework for solving the normalized graph cut problem with priors and general convex constraints, a perceptually relevant measure to predict image quality, an efficient maximum margin distance learning method
  • Interdisciplinary research (Critical Research Initiatives at UIUC) includes development of RFID-based systems for RFID tag deployment, room temperature monitoring, and human tracking
  • Teaching several classes, preparing homework assignments, and grading for ECE 598NA (Pattern Recognition)
05/2007-09/2007:Computer Aided Diagnosis (CAD) group at Siemens Medical Solutions, Malvern PA
Research Intern (Dr. Arun Krishnan)
  • Improved the performance of the current CAD system for detecting pulmonary embolisms in CT images by developing a new technique that significantly reduces the lymph tissue false positive rate
05/2007-09/2007:Robotics Institute at Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh PA
Research Intern (Prof. Bernardine Dias)
  • Boeing-funded project aiming at multi-robot coordination under dynamic environments. Two teams of heterogeneous robots were integrated into a functional unit to perform Simultaneous Localization and Mapping (SLAM) under possible human verbal guidance. Also, I evaluated the impact of bid accuracy in market-based multirobot coordination.

Awards and Honors:
  • Google Faculty Research Award (Winter 2014) based on project entitled "ActivityNet: A Large-Scale Video Benchmark for Human Activity Understanding" (
  • Research Collaboration Award (15K USD) from the University of Western Australia based on project entitled Biomass Estimation of Fish in the Wild
  • Best paper award in CVPR Workshop on Computer Vision in Sports (2013)
  • KAUST Seed Fund Award 2013-2015 (200K USD) for a proposed project called Hachid that focuses on robust and distributed crowd management (e.g. in the Hajj pilgrimage), 2013-2015
  • Research Collaboration Award (15K USD) from the University of Western Australia based on project entitled Biomass Estimation of Fish in the Wild, 2013-2014
  • Best paper award in CVPR Workshop on Computer Vision in Sports 2013
  • Ranked first in the IEN (Illinois Entrepreneur Network) business plan competition, which is a campus wide competition for innovative entrepreneurial ideas (2009).
  • Recipient of the Computational Science and Engineering (CSE) Fellowship (2007-2009) at UIUC, which recognizes 8-10 students on campus for their academic research in a computationally-oriented and interdisciplinary field.
  • Recipient of the James M. Henderson Fellowship (2006-2007) at UIUC, which recognizes a first-year ECE graduate student based on his/her academic, research and leadership achievements.
  • Recipient of the Charlie Korban Award for Academic Excellence among AUB graduates (2004-2005), in recognition of academic, research, and leadership achievements.
  • Ranked first among my graduating class, achieved cumulative average of 94.3%, and GPA of 4.0. Earned Dean's Honor List award for four consecutive years (2001-2005) as an undergraduate
  • Earned Merit Scholarship for Academic Excellence (2001-2005) which is awarded to ten undergraduate students among all majors upon admission to AUB based on academic excellence
  • Ranked first among all sections of the Lebanese Baccalaureate (National Examinations) for the academic year 2000-2001, which earned me the Presidential Award for Academic Excellence from the Lebanese Ministry of Education.

Professional Activities and Affiliations:
  • Co-organized an ICCV tutorial on Sparse and Low-Rank Representations in Computer Vision, 2013
  • Panel Chair of the 1st annual Interactive Digital Media Symposium in Singapore (August 2011)
  • Refereed papers in CVPR, ICCV, ECCV, ACCV, ICPR, FGR, CVIU, IJCV, TPAMI, TOMCCAP, TIP; Student Volunteer CVPR `08
  • Senior Technical Consultant for HemCam Pte. Ltd. in Singapore (2011 - present)
  • Member of the IEEE (2004-present) and the Proposal Review Panel in the Qatar Foundation (2011 - present)
  • Vice President and Treasurer of Fashion Latte Inc. (2008-present)
  • Vice President of the IEEE student branch at AUB (2004-2005)

English (native), Arabic (native), French (basic)

References: [upon request]