300x175.20100921.plemmons0637(Last updated September 23, 2023)

Robert J. Plemmons, Emeritus Z. Smith Reynolds Professor of Mathematics and Computer Science, joined the Wake Forest University faculty in 1990, and retired from teaching, but not research, in 2013.  

He is a Fellow of the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics (SIAM).  Plemmons’ current research includes computational mathematics applied to problems arising in image and signal processing, optics, and photonics. His recent work, until 2019, was supported by the Air Force Office of Scientific Research (AFOSR) on the topic of “space situational awareness”, in collaboration with Sudhakar Prasad at the University of New Mexico, Grey BallardPaul Pauca and Todd Torgersen at Wake Forest University. His current projects are on remote sensing analysis in the Amazon and in India, through Wake Forest Univ., and the Univ. of Cambridge, respectively. See the sidebar for links.

In U.S. Defense Department research for over 40 years, Plemmons’ efforts have focused on using applied mathematics (algorithms) in imaging and optics. He is a member of the Wake Forest Intelligent Remote Sensing in Conservation & Discovery Group (IRSC Lab) which is an interdisciplinary group of researchers from Wake Forest’s Biology and Computer Science departments in collaboration with researchers and conservationists at Dartmouth College and The Center for Amazonian Scientific Innovation in Peru. This lab works on methods to apply machine learning, artificial intelligence, and statistics to the problems of conservation in the Peruvian Amazon and around the world. He also currently works closely with Raymond Chan at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, and his students, including Jason Cui and former students Chao Wang and Kelvin Kan, on grants from the Hong Kong government.

At the Great Wall, after a workshop in Beijing, with Raymond Chan, April 2018

Plemmons received his bachelor’s degree in mathematics from Wake Forest in 1961 and his doctorate in applied mathematics from Auburn University in 1965. Before joining the Wake Forest faculty in 1990, Plemmons’ experience included founding the University of North Carolina System’s Center for Research in Scientific Computation at North Carolina State University, as a faculty member from 1981-90. He was a professor in the Mathematics and Computer Science Departments (and head of CS) at the University of Tennessee Knoxville (1967-81), and was also on the faculty at the University of Mississippi, 1966-67.

He is the author of more than 250 articles and books on computational mathematics. Plemmons has served on the editorial boards of six journals. He has held research positions at Martin-Marietta Company (1965) and the National Security Agency (1965-66). He has also testified before two U.S. Congressional Committees as a consultant on Department of Defense basic research priorities.

Workshop lecture at the Issac Newton Institute,      University of Cambridge, November 2017


During his career, Plemmons has presented over 350 invited research lectures, including lectures in over 30 foreign countries, and received research grants from the Air Force Office of Scientific Research (AFOSR), the Army Research Office (ARO), the Department of Energy (DOE), the National Science Foundation (NSF), and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NAT0).

Plemmons played professional baseball in the Baltimore Orioles System for four years in the 1960’s after graduating from Wake Forest on a baseball scholarship.

See Robert Plemmons’ Google Scholar Citations page referencing over 20,000 citations.