Vasant Honavar and Collaborators Receive Funds for Applied R&D in Predictive Data Mining and Artificial Intelligence for Medical Informatics

August 18, 2010

Vasant Honavar, Professor of Computer Science and Director of the Center for Computational Intelligence, Learning, and Discovery, and collaborators Craig Fontenot (an ISU alumnus), and Peter Demitry of Collaborative Health Solutions (CHS), LLC, Austin, TX, have received a 2011 Grow Iowa Values Fund Grant of $109,243 from the State of Iowa (to be matched dollar for dollar by CHS, LLC) to pursue R&D efforts in Health Informatics. 

Vasant Honavar received his Ph.D. in 1990 from the University of Wisconsin (Madison) where he received his doctoral training in Artificial Intelligence under the supervision of professor Leonard Uhr. He joined the Department of Computer Science at Iowa State University in 1990 where he is presently a full professor. He has held visiting professorships at Carnegie Mellon University and the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Honavar founded (in 1990) and has led the Artificial Intelligence Research Laboratoryat Iowa State University. He directs the Center for Computational Intelligence, Learning & Discovery, which he founded in 2005. Honavar has served as the associate chair (2001-2003) and chair (2003-2005) of the Bioinformatics and Computational Biology PhD Program, which he helped establish at ISU with support from an Integrative Graduate Education and Research Training (IGERT) award from the National Science Foundation. Honavar has over 20 years of research experience in Artificial Intelligence. His research has resulted in foundational contributions in machine learning algorithms and applications, bioinformatics and computational biology, knowledge representation and inference, and service‐oriented computing. Honavar has been active in teaching, curriculum development, and research-based graduate and undergraduate training. Twenty Ph.D. students and twenty-five M.S. students have received their graduate training under Honavar's supervision during 1990-2010. Honavar has served as a principal or co-principal investigator on research grants totaling approximately $20.0 million from various sources including the National Science Foundation, the National Institutes of Health, and the US Department of Agriculture during 1990-2010. This research has resulted in over 200 research articles in peer-reviewed journals ad conferences. Honavar has served as a charter member of the National Institutes of Health study section on Biological Data Management and Analysis (2002‐2007) and regularly serves on review panels for the US National Science Foundation (among other agencies). Honavar serves on the editorial boards of several scientific journals, program committees of several scientific conferences in Artificial Intelligence, Bioinformatics, Data Mining, and related areas, and on review panels for several agencies including the National Science Foundation and the National Institutes of Health. Honavar received an Iowa Board of Regents Faculty Excellence Award (2007) and an Iowa State University College of Liberal Arts and Sciences Award for Outstanding Career Achievement in Research (2008). 

The Grow Iowa Values Fund award will enable Honavar and his collaborators pursue research on advanced data analytics, information integration, and predictive data mining for Healthcare applications. This work is aimed at taking advantage of the anticipated widespread adoption of electronic medical records together with emerging standards to develop and apply sophisticated knowledge representation and inference techniques and statistically based machine learning algorithms for patient-centered care, optimized diagnosis and treatment protocols; studies of effectiveness of specific treatments and medical procedures aimed at reducing the cost while improving the quality of healthcare. Honavar's research team will tackle many research challenges including ensuring the privacy and confidentiality of patient data while enabling the analysis of such data for improving the quality of healthcare. A possible outcome of this collaboration between Honavar's group and Collaborative Health Solutions, LLC is the establishment of a subsidiary of CHS, LLC in Ames, Iowa.