Robert M. Owens received the M.S. degree in computer science from the Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Blacksburg, and the Ph.D. degree in computer science from Pennsylvania State University, University Park.
Before joining the Penn State faculty in 1980, he worked for IBM and the Naval Surface Weapons Center. He was promoted to Associate Professor in 1987 and to Full Professor in 1995. His versatility was renowned; he taught courses ranging from computer graphics, to compiler construction, to operating systems, to his core research fields of computer architecture, VLSI design, and electronic CAD tools. During 1983–1997, he was an author on over 125 refereed publications and was a PI on more than $4 250 000 of research grants and contracts. He supervised nine Ph.D.’s (the first graduating in 1989), many of whom currently hold senior positions in academia or in industry, as well as numerous M.S. and B.S. honors students.
Dr. Owens was spending the 1997–1998 academic year on sabbatical leave
with the University of Pavia, Pavia, Italy. At the time of his death, his research team at Penn State included seven Ph.D. students and faculty colleague M. J. Irwin, working on three separately funded projects. He served on the VLSI Technical Committee of the IEEE Signal Processing Society and on the Editorial Board of the Journal of VLSI Signal Processing.
In honor of Dr. Owens contributions to Signal Processing, the Springer Journal of Signal Processing Systems is sponsoring a Best Student Paper Award for SiPS 2016.