O’Malley, Varman named IEEE fellows

By Patrick Kurp
Special to the Rice News

Rice’s Marcia O’Malley and Peter Varman, each professors in the Brown School of Engineering, have been named fellows of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE).

Marcia O'Malley

Marcia O’Malley

O’Malley, the Stanley C. Moore Professor of Mechanical Engineering, was cited for “contributions to rehabilitation robotics and haptic systems.” Varman, a professor of electrical and computer engineering and of computer science, was recognized for “contributions to input/output scheduling algorithms for storage systems.”

The 423,000-member IEEE is the world’s largest association of technical professionals. Fellowship honors extraordinary records of accomplishment, and fewer than 0.1% of voting members are selected annually to become fellows.

O’Malley is the director of Rice’s Mechatronics and Haptic Interfaces Lab and the director of rehabilitation engineering at TIRR Memorial Hermann. She joined Rice in 2001, holds joint appointments in the departments of Electrical and Computer Engineering and Computer Science, and serves as special adviser to the provost on health-related research and educational initiatives.

O’Malley’s research focuses on the interactions of humans and robotic systems, with emphasis on applications in motor skill training and upper limb rehabilitation. She is a fellow of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME), a two-time recipient of Rice’s George R. Brown Award for Superior Teaching, a recipient of the Office of Naval Research’s Young Investigator Award and a recipient of the National Science Foundation’s CAREER Award.

Peter Varman

Peter Varman

O’Malley is a fellow of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME), a former chair of the IEEE Technical Committee on Haptics and founding member of the editorial board for the journal IEEE Transactions on Haptics. She is a senior editor for the Association of Computing Machinery’s Transactions on Human-Robot Interaction and has served on the editorial boards of the ASME Journal of Mechanisms and Robotics, the IEEE Transactions on Robotics and the ASME/IEEE Transactions on Mechatronics.

Varman joined Rice in 1983 and holds a joint appointment in the Department of Computer Science. He has served as a program director at the National Science Foundation, a scholar-in-residence at VMware in Palo Alto, California, and as a visitor at the research laboratories of both Intel and IBM.

With students, he developed the mClock scheduling algorithm, which has been used as the input/output scheduler in the widely deployed vSphere virtualization product since 2014. Varman also created a hierarchical parallel merging algorithm that has been adopted as an industry benchmark. He is an editor of the Journal of Combinational Optimization and was an associate editor of the IEEE Transactions on Computers from 2000 to 2006.

– Patrick Kurp is a science writer in the George R. Brown School of Engineering.

About Jade Boyd

Jade Boyd is science editor and associate director of news and media relations in Rice University's Office of Public Affairs.