Portuguese American Journal

José Carlos Príncipe winner “2011 IEEE Neural Network Pioneer Award” – People

José Carlos Príncipe is the first Portuguese researcher to receive the “IEEE Neural Network Pioneer Award.” The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) is the world’s largest technical association.

The award will be presented on 3rd August during the 2011 IJCNN (International Joint Conference on Neural Networks) gala dinner in San José (CA).

The IEEE presents this award annually to researchers who have made a significant contribution to science over a period of 15 years. The most important international founders of Computational Intelligence in the last 20 years are among the previous candidates.

José Carlos Príncipe is an international pioneer in the world of computational neuroengineering, with research that opens doors for the prevention of epileptic seizures or to allow paraplegics to interact with the world using robots.

A professor at the University of Florida, he maintains close relations with Portugal research institutions, namely Institute for Systems and Computer Engineering of Porto (INESC Porto) and the Faculty of Engineering of the University of Porto (FEUP).

José Carlos Príncipe uses algorithms and processing models to understand how the human brain works. Based on this information, his research opens new doors for the prognosis of diseases, such as preventing epileptic seizures. Understanding thought processing algorithms can also decode how the human brain moves certain parts of the body, helping tetraplegics move their upper limbs with the aid of robots that imitate human movements.

Established in 1991, the “IEEE Neural Network Pioneer Award” is considered the most important award in the field and is presented to individuals who have made pioneering contributions over a period of at least 15 years. The prize includes a $2,500 honorarium.

Dr. José Carlos Príncipe

José C. Príncipe is a Distinguished Professor of Electrical and Biomedical Engineering at the University of Florida since 2002. He joined the University of Florida in 1987, after an eight-year appointment as Professor at the University of Aveiro, in Portugal.

Dr. Príncipe holds degrees in Electrical Engineering from the University of Porto (Bachelor), Portugal, University of Florida (Master and PhD), USA and a Laurea Honoris Causa degree from the Universita Mediterranea in Reggio Calabria, Italy. Dr. Príncipe interests lie in nonlinear non-Gaussian optimal signal processing and modelling and in biomedical engineering. He created, in 1991, the Computational NeuroEngineering Laboratory to synergistically focus the research in biological information processing models. He recently received the Gabor Award from the International Neural Network Society for his contributions.

Dr. Príncipe is a Fellow of the IEEE, Fellow of the AIMBE, past President of the International Neural Network Society, and Past Editor in Chief of the Transactions of Biomedical Engineering, as well as a former member of the Advisory Science Board of the FDA. He holds 5 patents and has submitted seven more. Dr. Príncipe was supervisory committee chair of 50 PhD and 61 MSc students, and he is the author of more than 400-refereed publications. He has been distinguished several times during his career, including the more recent Gabor Award, from the International Neural Network Society (2006).

Read more: Interview with José Carlos Príncipe >>


1973 – Travelled to the University of Florida to complete a Master’s degree in digital signal processing

1975 – Returned to Portugal and helped found the Department of Electrical Engineering and Telecommunications at the University of Aveiro

1979 – Completed PhD in USA

1987 – Joined Department of Electrical Engineering at the University of Florida

2000 – Became an IEEE Fellow

2004 – Became President of the International Neural Network Society

2005 – Awarded the Laurea Honoris degree from the Università Mediterranea in Reggio Calabria, Italy.

2006 – Won the “Gabor Award” from the International Neural Network Society

1991 – Won award for Innovation and Creativity from the Portuguese Industrial Association

2007 – Winner of “2007 Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society Career Achievement Award” (from the IEEE)

2008 – Honorary Doctorate from the University of Maranhão (Brazil)

2010 – Honorary Doctorate from the Aalto University, Helsinki, Finland

• License holder for 18 patents (with a further six awaiting approval)

• Author of seven books (four of them edited)

• Written over two hundred edited articles in journals

• Participated in over two hundred conferences

• Has supervised 65 PhDs and 63 Master’s


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