Naren Ramakrishnan, professor and associate head for graduate studies in the Department of Computer Science in the College of Engineering at Virginia Tech, received the university's 2011 Alumni Award for Excellence in Research.

Sponsored by the Virginia Tech Alumni Association, the Alumni Award for Excellence in Research is presented annually to as many as two Virginia Tech faculty members who have made outstanding research contributions. Alumni, students, faculty, and staff may nominate candidates. Each recipient is awarded $2,000.

A member of the Virginia Tech community since 1998, Ramakrishnan's current research focuses on the topic of data mining -- the science of processing massive quantities of data to discover patterns and to produce new insights. His algorithms have been used in diverse areas, such as helping intelligence analysts make connections, assisting biologists in uncovering pathways of stress response, detecting temporal episodes in electronic medical records, and even flagging spoilers in movie reviews.

His work has been featured in the National Institutes of Health publication Biomedical Computation Review, the National Science Foundation's Discoveries series, and the Association for Computing Machinery's Technews. He serves on the editorial boards of IEEE Computer, Data Mining and Knowledge Discovery, Journal of Intelligent Information Systems, and Knowledge and Information Systems. He has been both program chair and general chair of the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers' Conference on Data Mining, the premier research conference in data mining, which is held annually in different parts of the world.

Ramakrishnan is the recipient of a National Science Foundation CAREER grant, the New Century Technology Council Innovation award, and a certificate of teaching excellence from the College of Engineering.  In 2007, he was named one of Computerworld's "40 innovative IT people to watch, under the age of 40," for his research on the data mining concept of "storytelling." In 2009, and again in 2010, he received a Hewlett Packard Labs Innovation Award, which enabled him to conduct collaborative research with Hewlett Packard in the area of data mining for assessing the sustainability of complex information technology systems, such as data centers.

Ramakrishnan is a member of the Association for Computing Machinery, Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers' Computer Society, and the Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence. He received his master's degree from Anna University in  India and a Ph.D. from Purdue University, which named him a “40 under 40” alumnus in 2010.