Dr. Carolina Cruz-Neira, director of the Emerging Analytics Center, has been named the interim chair of the Department of Computer Science at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock.
She will serve as interim chair beginning Jan. 1, 2018, taking over for Dr. Elizabeth Pierce, who is working as the interim chair of computer science as well as the chair of the Department of Information Science.
Recognized as a leader in the virtual reality and augmented reality research community, Cruz-Neira is well known for designing the Cave Automatic Virtual Environment (CAVE), a virtual reality room that immerses users in the experience by projecting 3-D images onto the walls and also for founding and leading large-scale research centers in virtual reality.
She holds a bachelor’s degree in systems engineering from the Universidad Metropolitana as well as a master’s degree and a Ph.D. in electrical engineering and computer science, both from the University of Illinois at Chicago, where she specialized in virtual reality, visual analytics, and computations steering research.
Her work with advanced immersive technologies, driven by simplicity and applicability, provides value to a wide range of disciplines and businesses. She has received multimillion-dollar awards from the National Science Foundation, the Army Research Lab, the Department of Energy, as well as large funding from private industry such as Deere and Company, Procter & Gamble, Bell Helicopters, IMS Health and others.
Part of her career has been dedicated to transferring research results into daily use through several spin-offs, technology transfer to her collaborators, and spearheading several open source initiatives towards disseminating and growing practical technologies that can benefit a wider community of virtual reality users. She serves on many international technology boards and government technology advisory committees.
At UA Little Rock, Cruz-Neira has built the Emerging Analytics Center into a world-class center of multidisciplinary, applied research, where faculty, researchers, and students explore advanced applications of virtual reality, mixed reality, and visualization.
Last year, Cruz-Neira was recognized as one of the top 25 virtual reality innovators by the gaming website Polygon as well as one of the three greatest female innovators in virtual reality by University Herald.