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December 2012 Bernd Girod

Appointed as the Robert L. and Audrey S. Hancock Professor in the School of Engineering


Prof. Bernd Girod

Appointed as the Robert L. and Audrey S. Hancock Professor in the School of Engineering


The Hancock Professorship was established in the School of Engineering in 1999, with a preference that the holder of the chair be a faculty member in the Department of Electrical Engineering. Robert Hancock received his BS in electrical engineering from Stanford in 1949, following a two-year interruption during World War II when he served in the US Navy. After graduation, he accepted an offer from the Boeing Airplane Company to work on the B-47 aircraft program. In 1953, he joined a start-up company, United Control Corporation (forerunner of a major AlliedSignal division in Redmond, Washington), where for 10 years he held positions as chief engineer and sales manager In 1963, Mr. Hancock started AVTECH Corporation, where he was president until his retirement in 1998. The Hancocks are truly a Stanford family. At least one family member attended Stanford every year from the university’s founding until 1955, and Mr. Hancock’s great aunt received $25 for writing the words to “Come Join the Band.”

Bernd Girod is a Professor of Electrical Engineering and of Computer Science, by courtesy. He is also director of the Stanford Center for Image Systems Engineering (SCIEN), and the Max Planck Center for Visual Computing and Communication. He recently became the director of the newly established David and Helen Gurley Brown Institute for Media Innovation, a bicoastal institute between Stanford and Columbia University. In this capacity, he is collaborating with our colleagues on the east coast to revolutionize media with the latest technologies.

In addition to his important role at the Brown Institute, he was recently appointed as the inaugural Senior Associate Dean for Online Learning and Professional Development in the School of Engineering. Online education is becoming an increasingly important topic for us in SoE and across the Stanford campus.

His degrees in electrical engineering came from the University of Hannover (Germany) – where he received his undergraduate degree in 1978 and his doctorate in 1987, and Georgia Tech, which awarded him his MS in 1980. Prior to coming to Stanford, he was a faculty member at the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg, the Academy of Media Arts at the University of Cologne, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

For over two decades, Prof. Girod has worked with numerous start-up ventures as founder, investor, director, or advisor. Most notably, he was co-founder and chief scientist of Vivo Software, Inc. and Dyyno, Inc., chief scientist of RealNetworks, Inc., and a board member of 8x8, Inc. and GeoVantage, Inc. He also served as chairman of the Steering Committee of the Deutsche Telekom Laboratories at the Technical University of Berlin, and currently serves on the board of ToKBox.

His research focuses on algorithms and systems for multimedia analysis and communication. Applications range from wireless media delivery to interactive video streaming to mobile visual search and augmented reality. Over the course of three decades his research has spanned a range of topics including image and video coding, networked media systems, and image-based retrieval.

Author/co-author of one major textbook, five monographs, and many book chapters, journal articles and conference papers, he is also a  inventor on over 25 US patents, and a Fellow of the IEEE and EURASIP, as well as a member of the German National Academy of Sciences (Leopoldina).