uc davis computer science acm sigsoft outstanding research award prem devanbu
Photo: Josh Moy/UC Davis.

Prem Devanbu wins Alexander von Humboldt Research Award

Computer Science Distinguished Professor Prem Devanbu received the prestigious Alexander von Humboldt Research Award in recognition of his accomplishments in research and teaching. Each year, the award recognizes world-renowned researchers from all disciplines whose fundamental discoveries, theories and findings have had a lasting effect on their field. The awardees are then invited to German institutions as visiting scholars.

"I'm deeply honored to get this award and delighted to have a chance to work with several wonderful colleagues in Germany,” he said.

Devanbu will collaborate with Professor Michael Pradel at the University of Stuttgart on improving deep neural models of code, and with Sven Apel and Andreas Zeller at the University of Saarland on bimodal experiments to study program understanding.

Devanbu is known for his groundbreaking work on the “naturalness” of software. His group at UC Davis was the first to notice the striking parallels between source code and human language, finding that, like language, code was highly repetitive and predictable—even more so than English. This opened up an entirely new area of research in the field, and he has spent the rest of his career exploring the implications.

The Humboldt Award is the latest in Devanbu’s long list of accolades. He is an ACM Fellow and has received seven best paper awards and six test-of-time/most influential paper honors for work with a lasting impact. He also received the prestigious ACM SIGSOFT Outstanding Research Award last year, which recognized his lifetime contributions to software engineering.

He continues to produce award-winning work in the “naturalness” of software, mining software repositories and bug prediction, causes and solutions.

Devanbu is the eighth UC Davis engineer to receive the honor, joining Chemical Engineering Distinguished Professor Jennifer Curtis and Professor Bruce Gates, Materials Science and Engineering Distinguished Professor Emeritus Zuhair Munir, Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Professor Emeritus Dean Karnopp, Civil and Environmental Engineering Professor Emeritus Bruce Larock and Electrical and Computer Engineering Adjunct Professor Shu Lin.

The Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, named after the German nature researcher and explorer, aims to strengthen Germany as a research location through international academic exchange and by supporting Humboldt fellows and award winners throughout their lives and careers.

Learn more about the Humboldt Research Award.

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