Shwetak Patel

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Shwetak Naran Patel
Shwetak N. Patel in the Ubicomp Lab at the University of Washington
Born (1981-12-09) December 9, 1981 (age 37)
ResidenceSeattle, Washington, USA
Citizenship United States
Alma materGeorgia Institute of Technology
Known forSensing, sustainability, ubiquitous computing, energy sensing
AwardsMacArthur Fellowship, TR35, Microsoft New Faculty Fellowship, Sloan Fellowship, World Economic Forum Young Global Scientist, Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers
Scientific career
FieldsHuman-Computer Interaction,
Ubiquitous Computing,
Embedded Systems
InstitutionsUniversity of Washington,
Computer Science & Engineering,
Electrical Engineering
Doctoral advisorGregory Abowd
Doctoral studentsJon Froehlich, Eric Larson, Sidhant Gupta, Gabe Cohn

Shwetak Naran Patel is an American computer scientist and entrepreneur best known for his work on developing novel sensing solutions and ubiquitous computing. He is the Washington Research Foundation Entrepreneurship Endowed Professor at the University of Washington in Computer Science & Engineering and Electrical Engineering, where he joined in 2008. His technology start-up company on energy sensing, Zensi, was acquired by Belkin International, Inc. in 2010. He was named a 2011 MacArthur Fellow.[1] He was named the recipient of the 2018 ACM Prize in Computing for contributions to creative and practical sensing systems for sustainability and health.[2]


Personal life[edit]

Shwetak Patel was born on December 9, 1981 in Selma, Alabama, though he was raised in Birmingham, Alabama. He attended Jefferson County International Baccalaureate School for high school in Birmingham, graduating in 2000. He received his B.S. in Computer Science from the Georgia Institute of Technology in 2003, and then continued on to receive his Ph.D. in computer science in 2008 under the advisement of Dr. Gregory Abowd. He started as an assistant professor at the University of Washington in 2008, where he remains today. In July 2013, he was promoted to associate professor, and then in July 2014 was named the Washington Research Foundation Endowed Professor.

Patel is married to Dr. Julie Kientz, who is also a faculty member at the University of Washington, and lives in Seattle, Washington.

Professional career[edit]

Patel’s research is broadly in the areas of ubiquitous computing, human-computer interaction, and user interface software and technology. He has published over 50 articles since 2003 and has received numerous best paper awards.[3] Patel focuses on developing easy-to-deploy sensing technologies, activity recognition, and applications for energy monitoring. He also has developed novel interaction techniques for mobile devices, mobile sensing systems, and wireless sensor platforms, many of which in collaboration with Microsoft Research, where is also a visiting researcher.[4] Dr. Patel's primary research has been in building low-cost and easy-to-deploy sensing systems, which he calls Infrastructure Mediated Sensing. These approaches leverage utility infrastructures in a home to support whole-house sensing.

Patel co-founded a company called Zensi, Inc., while he was a graduate student at Georgia Tech. Zensi was a demand-side energy monitoring solutions provider. In 2010, Zensi was acquired by Belkin, Inc in 2010 for an undisclosed sum.[5] This acquisition resulted in numerous awards for Patel, including making the cover of Seattle Business magazine,[6] newsmaker of the year by TechFlash,[7] and was named one of the top 10 start up stories of 2010 by TechFlash.[8]

Dr. Patel has also received international recognition for his work, including the MacArthur Fellowship in 2011,[1] the MIT Technology Review TR-35 award in 2009,[9] the Microsoft Research Faculty Fellowship in 2011,[10] the 2011 India Abroad Face of the Future award,[11] and the Sloan Fellowship[12] in 2012. His work was featured in the cover story of Wired Magazine,[13] and his past work on camera blocking technology was also honored by the New York Times as a top technology of the year in 2005.[14] He also has numerous other articles appearing in the popular media on his inventions.[15] In 2017 he became a Fellow of the Association for Computing Machinery.[16]

Selected bibliography[edit]

  • Cohn, G., Morris, D., Patel, S.N., Tan, D.S. Your Noise is My Command: Sensing Gestures Using the Body as an Antenna. CHI 2011. ACM Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI 2011).
  • Gupta, S., Reynolds, M.S., Patel, S.N. ElectriSense: Single-Point Sensing Using EMI for Electrical Event Detection and Classification in the Home. Ubicomp 2010.
  • Froehlich, J. Larson, E., Campbell, T., Haggerty, C., Fogarty, J., and Patel, S.N. HydroSense: Infrastructure-Mediated Single-Point Sensing of Whole-Home Water Activity. UbiComp 2009.
  • Cohn, G., Stuntebeck, E., Pandey, J., Otis., B., Abowd, G.D., Patel, S.N. SNUPI: Sensor Nodes Utilizing Powerline Infrastructure. Ubicomp 2010.
  • Patel, S.N, Gupta, S., Reynolds, M. The Design and Evaluation of an End-User-Deployable, Whole House, Contactless Power Consumption Sensor. ACM Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI 2010).
  • Patel, S.N., Robertson, T., Kientz, J.A., Reynolds, M.S., Abowd, G.D. At the Flick of a Switch: Detecting and Classifying Unique Electrical Events on the Residential Power Line. Ubicomp 2007.
  • Patel, S.N., Kientz, J.A., Hayes, G.R., Bhat, S., Abowd, G.D. Farther Than You May Think: An Empirical Investigation of the Proximity of Users to their Mobile Phones. Ubicomp 2006.
  • Patel, S.N., Pierce, J. and Abowd, G.D. A Gesture-based Authentication Scheme for Untrusted Public Terminals. In the Proceedings of the ACM Symposium on User Interface Software and Technology (UIST 2004).


  1. ^ a b "MacArthur Fellows Program: Meet the 2011 Fellows". September 20, 2011. John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. Retrieved 20 September 2011.
  2. ^ "Shwetak N. Patel to receive 2018 ACM Prize in Computing". Retrieved 2019-04-03.
  3. ^ Patel, Shwetak. "Shwetak Patel Curriculum Vitae" (PDF). Retrieved 31 May 2012.
  4. ^ Eisenberg, Anne (12 Sep 2011). "Remote Control, With a Wave of a Hand". The New York Times. Retrieved 31 May 2012.
  5. ^ Belkin, International. "Belkin Acquires Zensi, Signaling Major Entry into Energy Conservation Market". Retrieved 31 May 2012.
  6. ^ Simons, Wes (Nov 2010). "Top Innovators: University of Washington/Zensi". Seattle Business Magazine. Retrieved 31 May 2012.
  7. ^ Cook, John (2 Dec 2010). "And the Flashies go to..." TechFlash. Retrieved 31 May 2012.
  8. ^ Cook, John (27 Dec 2010). "Top 10 startup stories of 2010". TechFlash. Retrieved 31 May 2012.
  9. ^ Greene, Kate (2009). "TR35: Shwetak Patel, 27". MIT Technology Review. Retrieved 31 May 2012.
  10. ^ Microsoft Research. "Microsoft Research Faculty Fellows - 2011 Fellows". Retrieved 31 May 2012.
  11. ^ "Preet Bharara, the man who makes Wall Street tremble, is India Abroad Person of the Year 2011". Retrieved 19 July 2012.
  12. ^ "2012 Sloan Research Fellows". The Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. Archived from the original on 19 June 2012. Retrieved 19 July 2012.
  13. ^ Goetz, Thomas (19 June 2011). "Harnessing the Power of Feedback Loops". Wired. Retrieved 31 May 2012.
  14. ^ Berzon, Alexandra (11 Dec 2005). "The Anti-Paparazzi Flash". The New York Times Magazine. Retrieved 31 May 2012.
  15. ^ "University of Washington Computer Science & Engineering News". Retrieved 31 May 2012.
  16. ^ Cacm Staff (March 2017), "ACM Recognizes New Fellows", Communications of the ACM, 60 (3): 23, doi:10.1145/3039921.

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