Spotlight Series: Vinayak Elangovan, assistant professor of computer science

Abington faculty brings Homeland Security experience to the classroom

ABINGTON, Pa. — Penn State Abington talks with new faculty member, Vinayak Elangovan, assistant professor of computer science.

  • Education: Bachelor’s degree, Instrumentation and Control Engineering, Madras University, India; master's and doctoral degrees, Computer Information Systems Engineering, Tennessee State University.
  • Previous academic posts: Tennessee State University, The College of New Jersey, St. Olaf College
  • Etc.: Elangovan speaks English, Hindi and Tamil.

Penn State Abington (PSA): Why did you choose Abington?

Elangovan: Penn State Abington enjoys the reputation of providing a well-balanced environment for teaching and research activities. There are internal grant opportunities to support faculty research and for building an innovative classroom environment. The undergraduate research program provides unique opportunities for faculty to engage students and expose them to research activities.

PSA: Abington is committed to providing high impact learning. How do you provide these experiences to students?

Elangovan: I believe that all students deserve a great learning experience — one that fosters their knowledge, empowers them with skills, and prepares them to excel at their career goals in an exceedingly competitive environment. I expect to cater to the needs of all my students by providing them a strong foundation and through staying on top of the current technologies and needs through real-world examples.

I strongly believe in training students to excel individually and work in teams. Teamwork and communication skills are as important as the technical skills to successfully face the real world.

"I believe that all students deserve a great learning experience — one that fosters their knowledge, empowers them with skills, and prepares them to excel at their career goals in an exceedingly competitive environment."

— Vinayak Elangovan, assistant professor of computer science

PSA: What is the focus of your current research?

Elangovan: My research is in the areas of computer vision, machine learning, and multi-sensor data fusion with a keen interest in sequential data analysis. These research fields are concerned with design of learning algorithms, which can automatically adapt to new scenarios by learning from the past evidential observations.

Currently, I am working on developing applications for local group activity summarization via fusion of video metadata annotations, which can auto recognize group activities and discriminate between normal and abnormal human activities. Group activity recognition involves analysis of human-human, human-object, and human-vehicle interactions which help in identifying cohesive patterns of activities that represent potential threats or abnormal behaviors. The practical applications of this research can be used in Homeland Security applications, border monitoring, manufacturing industries, mechanical applications, medical analysis, hospital management, and many other civilian applications.

About Penn State Abington

Penn State Abington offers baccalaureate degrees in 19 majors at its suburban location just north of Philadelphia. Nearly half of its 4,000 students complete all four years at Abington, with opportunities in undergraduate research, the Schreyer honors program, NCAA Division III athletics, and more. Students can start the first two years of more than 160 Penn State majors at Abington and complete their degrees at University Park or another campus.

Contacts: 

Regina Broscius