Press release
November 2, 2005

UC Irvine Informatics professor earns Humbolt Research Award

Alfred Kobsa awarded German research prize for lifetime achievement in science research

Alfred Kobsa, professor of Informatics in the Donald Bren School of Information and Computer Sciences (ICS) has been awarded the Alexander von Humboldt Research Award. The research award is given by the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation to senior foreign scientists and scholars, and honors the lifetime academic achievements of the recipient.

"I am honored to receive the Humboldt award," said Kobsa. "I look forward to pursuing my research alongside international colleagues with similar goals. The privacy implications of RFID are going to become a major public issue in the US in two or three years. Through international collaboration we will be able to find solutions that can be adopted on a global basis."

The foundation grants up to 100 Humboldt Research Awards annually to scientists and scholars from abroad with internationally recognized academic qualifications. Established researchers working at universities or other research institutions in Germany must make the nomination for a Humboldt Research Award.

"This is a great opportunity, especially for our School to be recognized in the international community and continue to expand the collaborative research efforts," said Debra Richardson, dean of ICS.

Kobsa, a researcher in modeling and personalized systems, privacy, and information visualization, will be formally recognized next spring. As part of the award, he will be invited to carry out a research project in Germany for up to one year. Kobsa will conduct his research with Professor Oliver Gunther and Dr. Sarah Spiekermann at Humboldt University in Berlin. He will be studying privacy implications of the usage of radio frequency identification tags in the retail industry.

Kobsa earned his Ph.D. from the University of Vienna in 1985. Prior to joining UCI in 2000 he was the director of the Institute for Applied Information Technology at the German National Research Center for Information Technology, and a professor of computer science at the University of Essen, Germany. He was also an associate professor of information systems at the University of Konstanz, Germany and a senior researcher at the University of Saarbrucken. Kobsa is the founding editor of User Modeling and User-Adapted Interaction: The Journal of Personalization Research; editorial board member of World-Wide Web, Universal Access in the Information Society, and Information Technology and Decision Making; and was the founding president of User Modeling Inc. Kobsa has edited several books and authored numerous publications in the areas of user-adaptive systems, human-computer interaction and knowledge representation.

The Alexander von Humboldt Foundation is a non-profit foundation established by the Federal Republic of Germany for the promotion of international research cooperation. It enables highly qualified scholars not resident in Germany to spend extended periods of research in Germany and promotes the ensuing academic contacts. The foundation follows the tradition of the man who gave it its name, the naturalist, world traveler, and scholar, Alexander von Humboldt.

Awards are granted annually to scientists and scholars from abroad with internationally recognized academic qualifications. The prize grants the recipient twelve months of research support in a period of five years at any German university or the Max Planck Institute. Among past winners of this prestigious prize are 31 Nobel Laureates. More than 20,000 scholars from 125 countries have been sponsored to date.