Brian D. Noble

Brian Noble is Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science in the College of Engineering at the University of Michigan. He is well known as an advocate for multidisciplinary and experiential learning, and a champion for diversity, equity, and inclusion.

As a researcher, Noble’s work has been in the area of operating and storage systems, mobile and pervasive computing, and vehicle informatics. Projects he has undertaken have included securing mobile devices against physical possession attacks; providing for fairness in collaborative, peer-to-peer storage systems; measuring and modeling network availability and host mobility; and improving access to the information economy in the developing world. In addition to operating systems, distributed systems, and mobile computing, he also has interests in incentive-centered design, the usability of mobile systems, and automotive telematics.

With several collaborators in 2003, Noble identified and corrected a serious flaw in the mobility model used almost universally in mobile system simulation. In 2010, he and his colleagues looked ahead to the transformation of the automotive user experience and piloted a system for automatically screening in-vehicle apps for user interface guideline violations, increasing efficiency for the humans who would one day be evaluating numerous apps.

Noble served chair of CSE from July 2017 through mid-February 2020, and prior to that as associate dean for undergraduate education at the College of Engineering from 2013–2017. Under his leadership, the College enhanced the opportunities and overall experience available to undergraduate students, which has included the launch of an interdisciplinary undergraduate program in the rapidly-growing area of data science with the U-M College of Literature, Science and the Arts. Also under Noble’s tenure, the College’s Multidisciplinary Design Program – which offers hands-on opportunities for students to work on projects with others outside their fields – expanded to 1,600 students, more than 180 projects, and 70 sponsors. Participation in the International Programs in Engineering increased by 50 percent.