Carolina Cruz-Neira, Ph.D., NAE
Agere Chair in Computer Science, University of Central Florida
Dr. Carolina Cruz-Neira, a member of the National Academy of Engineering, is a pioneer in the areas of virtual reality and interactive visualization, having created and deployed a variety of technologies that have become standard tools in industry, government, and academia. She is known world-wide for being the creator of the CAVE virtual reality system. She has dedicated a part of her career to transfer research results into daily use by spearheading several Open-Source initiatives, such as VRJuggler, to disseminate and grow VR technologies and by leading entrepreneurial initiatives to commercialize research results. She has over 100 publications as scientific articles, book chapters, magazine editorials and others. She has been awarded over $75 million in grants, contracts, and donations. She is also recognized for having founded and led very successful virtual reality research centers: the Virtual Reality Applications Center at Iowa State University, the Louisiana Immersive Technologies Enterprise, and the Emerging Analytics Center at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock. She serves in many international technology boards, government technology advisory committees, and outside the lab, she enjoys extrapolating her technology research with the arts and the humanities through forward-looking public performances and installations. She has been named one of the top innovators in virtual reality and one of the top three greatest women visionaries in virtual reality. BusinessWeek magazine identified her as a “rising research star” in the next generation of computer science pioneers; she has been inducted as a member of the National Academy of Engineering, a member of the IEEE Virtual Reality Academy, an IEEE Fellow, and an ACM Computer Pioneer; She has received the IEEE Virtual Reality Technical Achievement Award and the Distinguished Career Award from the International Digital Media & Arts Society among other national and international recognitions. She had given numerous keynote addresses and has been the guest of several governments to advise on how virtual reality technology can help to give industries a competitive edge leading to regional economic growth. She has appeared in numerous national and international TV shows and podcasts as an expert on her discipline and several documentaries have been produced about her life and career. Currently, Dr. Cruz is the Agere Chair in Computer Science at the University of Central Florida.