The Faculty History Project documents faculty members who have been associated with the University of Michigan since 1837. Key in this effort is to celebrate the intellectual life of the University. This Faculty History Website is intended as a component of the effort to document the extraordinary academic achievements of Michigan’s faculty in building and sustaining one of the world’s great universities. It provides access to a comprehensive database of information concerning the thousands of faculty members who have served the University of Michigan.
Find out more.

The Bentley Historical Library serves as the official archives for the University.


George W. Furnas
Regents' Proceedings 498

George W. Furnas, Ph.D., professor of information in the School of Information, professor of electrical engineering and computer science in the College of Engineering, and professor of psychology in the College of Literature, Science, and the Arts, retired from active faculty status on July 31, 2018.

Professor Furnas received his A.B. degree from Harvard University in 1974 and his Ph.D. degree from Stanford University in 1980. He spent 15 years conducting research at the Bell Labs and Bell Communications Research, where he became director of computer graphics and interactive media research. Professor Furnas joined the University of Michigan faculty as a professor in 1995. He helped found the new School of Information and held additional appointments in the College of Engineering and the College of Literature, Science, and the Arts. He served as the associate dean for academic strategy in the School of Information from 2002-08.

Professor Furnas' research explored the interdisciplinary area of human computer interaction, with a special focus on advanced information access and visualization. He also published work on multivariate statistics and graphical reasoning. Professor Furnas was one of the pioneers of collaborative filtering as well as an inventor of latent semantic indexing and the theory of generalized fisheye views. He made a number of other contributions, including developments in statistical semantics, adaptive indexing, prosection (a high dimensional visualization technique), multitrees, space-scale diagrams, information navigation, and collaborative sensemaking. Professor Furnas was elected to the Association for Computing Machinery CHI Academy in 2004 and became a fellow of the Association for Computing Machinery in 2012. According to Google Scholar, he currently has 15 publications with over 250 citations, four with more than 1,000 citations, and one with over 10,000 citations.

The Regents now salute this distinguished faculty member by naming George W. Furnas, professor emeritus of information, professor emeritus of electrical engineering and computer science, and professor emeritus of psychology.