Frederica Darema Lecture Series: ‘Bio-Inspired Computational Imaging,’ Featuring Emma Alexander

The College of Computing invites you to attend the Frederica Darema Lecture Series, featuring guest speaker Emma Alexander, assistant professor of computer science at Northwestern University, for her talk, “Bio-Inspired Computational Imaging.” The event will be 12:45–1:45 p.m. November 6, 2023, at Stuart Building (room 113).


Biological vision systems are efficient, robust, and well-adapted to specific tasks in specific environments. By many metrics, they continue to outperform the state of the art in artificial vision. Lessons from natural vision are particularly valuable for computational imaging systems, in which optics and algorithms are co-designed to better reveal scene information. By analyzing animals' behaviors, brains, and environments, we can uncover computational models that enable better camera designs. This talk will describe 3D cameras built to mimic jumping spiders’ efficient and unusual eyes, motion sensing principles from the larval zebrafish, and hyperspectral image processing inspired by epipelagic color vision. Along the way we’ll see new mathematical models, prototype cameras, and a blending of techniques from the physical, computational, and biological sciences.

Speaker Bio:

Emma Alexander is an Assistant Professor of Computer Science in the McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science at Northwestern University, where she leads the Bio Inspired Vision Lab. She received the B.S. degree in physics and in computer science (Yale 2013) and her Ph.D. degree in computer science (Harvard 2019), supported by the NSF GRFP and the Seibel Scholarship. She was a postdoctoral researcher in vision science (UC Berkeley 2018-2022) and the inaugural fellow of the Center for Innovation in Vision and Optics. She has received Best Student Paper (ECCV 2016) and Best Demo (ICCP 2018) awards and served as a Fulbright specialist.

About the Frederica Darema Lecture Series:

The Illinois Institute of Technology College of Computing’s Dr. Frederica Darema Lecture Series in Computer Science is funded by an endowment to help advance female and minority early-stage computer science researchers at U.S. academic institutions.

“Opportunities to succeed as an academic in the areas such as computer sciences, are not readily available to everyone,” says Dr. Frederica Darema (M.S. PHYS ’72). “This fund enhances opportunities to showcase some of the most talented academics and researchers, those who may not have such opportunities otherwise. The more we lift up these excellent junior faculty, the more we will be able to encourage women and people of color to pursue an academic career in computer science.”

The lecture series is designed to encourage women and individuals from under-represented groups to pursue academic careers in computer sciences, and to focus on providing speaking opportunities for tenure track assistant professors (or the equivalent) at U.S. institutions in their fourth to sixth year. Lectureships may also be awarded to exceptional junior researchers in U.S. federal or industrial research laboratories in the third to fifth years of their careers, following doctoral/postdoctoral studies.