Dr. Hsinchun Chen Named UA's 2013 Innovator of the Year

March 28, 2013

By  StartUp Tucson

On an afternoon in late March, Dr. Hsinchun Chen, 54, is sitting with his wife and son, Hugh, in a large ballroom at the university, smiling and looking dapper in sports jacket and tie. More dapper than one might expect for a MIS professor, but fitting attire for the successful tech entrepreneur that he also happens to be. Dr. Chen has a very good reason to smile he has just been named 2013 Innovator of Year at the University of Arizona. It is his second such award. The first one came in 2004. In a room full of world-class researchers, educators and entrepreneurs, he is the only one recognized twice.

The road to academic, research and entrepreneurial success for Dr. Chen started three decades ago back in his native Taiwan. “I was educated at National Chiao Tung University, which is like the MIT of Taiwan,” says Chen. “Then I studied at SUNY Buffalo and at NYU, but Arizona was always my target school when I was looking for a job. And, it’s the only job I’ve ever had. Even at the time I was looking, the UA MIS department was already ranked in the top five nationally. This is where I wanted to be. I chose this department, and it has allowed me to pursue my career.”

At most universities, Management Information Systems (MIS) departments tend to be research oriented to the exclusion of real-world applications.  Not so with the MIS department at Eller. Dr. Chen explains the direct, hands-on approach. “We do systems development, and we create tangible products. Our research leads to new systems and new aggregates, and this is different from what most MIS departments do. It’s hands-on work, creating the mathematics, then the system to gather the information, and then analyzing the information to gain the knowledge.”

Dr. Chen was was recognized for  developing COPLINK a sophisticated systems for law enforcement agencies. In 1999, he founded Knowledge Computing Corporation, a UA spinoff software company to commercialize the COPLINK system. KCC was then bought out by i2, a leader in intelligence analytics, in 2009. The combined KCC/i2 firm was then bought out by IBM for $500 million in 2011.

Read more about Dr. Chen and this award by viewing the entire article here.