The Harold J. Plous Memorial Award is given annually to a faculty member of the rank of Assistant Professor from the fields of the humanities, social sciences, or natural sciences who has demonstrated outstanding performance as measured by creative action or contribution to the intellectual life of the college community. Established in 1957 to honor Harold J. Plous, an Assistant Professor of Economics at UC Santa Barbara from 1950 until his death in 1957, it is the highest honor the College of Letters and Science can bestow upon a junior faculty member.
The 2014-15 Plous Award recipient is Krzysztof Janowicz, an assistant professor in the Department of Geography. Jano is the first member of the UCSB Department of Geography to win this award in its 57 year-long history. Professor Janowicz will deliver the annual Harold J. Plous Lecture in winter or spring quarter, 2015. Professor Janowicz works on computational methods to improve the publishing, retrieval, reuse, and integration of data without the need to restrict the semantic heterogeneity of these data which results from different cultures, backgrounds, perspectives, granularities, and so forth. His STKO lab investigates the role of Space and Time for Knowledge Organization. Within the realm of the Semantic Web, Linked Data, Web Science, and ontology research, Jano is especially interested in studying what human behavior reveals about place categories and how to leverage similarity and analogy reasoning models from cognitive science to improve geographic information retrieval. Methodologically, his niche is the combination of theory-driven (e.g., semantics) and data-driven (e.g., data mining) techniques.
Jano feels very honored and would like to thank the Geography Department, his colleagues, and his students for their support and the research collaborations that made this award possible. They, in turn, consider it an honor and a privilege to have Jano as part of the Geography team.
Editor’s note: Also see the article in the UCSB Current here.