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In memoriam: Zia-ur Rahman, research engineer at NASA Langley Research Center

04 January 2011

Dr. Zia-ur Rahman, age 48, passed away on December 16th, 2010 in a tragic car accident near Lexington, Virginia.

A Williamsburg resident, Rahman was originally from Pakistan. He was awarded a Bachelor's Degree from Ripon College, Wisconsin, and an M.S. and Ph.D. from the University of Virginia.

Rahman was a research scientist with NASA Langley Research Center. He was previously an Associate Professor at Old Dominion University and at the College of William & Mary.

An SPIE member, Rahman was very active with the Society, serving as chair or co-chair of the Visual Information Processing Conference held annually at the SPIE Defense, Security, and Sensing meeting. He also presented papers at other SPIE meetings, including SPIE/IS&T Electronic Imaging, and SPIE Photonics West, and authored several SPIE journal papers.

Over his professional career, Rahman's interests included natural vision science, remote sensing, and information theoretic studies of electro-optical imaging systems and image processing. In recent years his interest focused on generic non-linear image enhancement methods; he was a co-inventor of the Multi-Scale Retinex with Color Restoration and the Computational Visual Servo. The former led to three US and international patents. For these patents, Rahman received the NASA Space Act Award, one of the agency's highest awards. For his career contributions to NASA missions, he was honored with the NASA Public Service Medal-another of the agency's highest awards.

"As a close friend and research collaborator with Dr. Rahman, I can only say that I was the lucky beneficiary for many years of his deeply good personal character and his extraordinarily fertile and creative mind," said Dan Jobson, a NASA colleague.

Most recently, Rahman's interest shifted to generic visual pattern recognition. "His critical insights and unprecedented new ideas are a major contribution to advancing this technology and will provide a legacy for the future to those of us actively working in this technical area," continued Jobson. "He was both an outstanding researcher and teacher."

Dr. Rahman is survived by his wife Katherine, and his three sons- Haroun, Camran, and Noor. "

Obituary and online condolences may be offered at http://hosting-tributes-24290.tributes.com/show/Zia-ur-Rahman-90331350