The School of Computer Science paid tribute to faculty and staff at its annual Founders' Day celebration on Thursday, April 7. Founders' Day honors members of the SCS community whose work best exemplifies the tradition of excellence established by Allen Newell (TPR’57), Herbert A. Simon (H’90) and Alan Perlis (S’42) — the fathers of computer science at Carnegie Mellon.
Kayvon Fatahalian, assistant teaching professor in the Computer Science Department (CSD), earned the Joel and Ruth Spira Teaching Award, sponsored by Lutron Electronics Co. to honor its founders. "What set Kayvon apart … is that he relentlessly cares about his responsibilities as a teacher," one nominator wrote.
SCS presented its Allen Newell Award for Research Excellence to Human-Computer Interaction Institute (HCII) faculty members Robert Kraut and Aniket Kittur, their former students Moira Burke and Haiyi Zhu and former post-doc Yuqing Ren for their work on "Evidence-Based Design of Online Communities." The Newell Award recognizes research that epitomizes Allen Newell's research style, as expressed in his words: "Good science responds to real phenomena or real problems, good science is in the details, and good science makes a difference."
"The body of work being nominated … has shaped the entire field of what is now called 'social computing,' it uses systematic, careful methodologies, ranging from online experiments to computational modeling, to learn how online social systems alter behavior and how to improve these systems," their nominators said.
Ryan O'Donnell, associate professor in CSD, won the Herbert Simon Award for Teaching Excellence in Computer Science. The award, chosen by students, recognizes the excellence and dedication to teaching that was a hallmark of Simon's career at CMU.
"Taking 251 with Ryan my first year here really had a huge influence on my CMU trajectory," wrote a student from O'Donnell's Great Theoretical Ideas in Computer Science course. "He's a well-paced, funny, down-to-earth lecturer who’s incredibly good at keeping things motivated and not losing his audience," another student wrote.
SCS staff members were recognized in the following categories:
- Outstanding Teamwork: Monika De Reno, Mike Boydos, and Bernadette Dayak (Institute for Software Research)
- Outstanding Staff: Marilyn Walgora, administrative assistant for CSD; Walter Schearer, associate dean for finance and administration, SCS Dean's Office
- Citizenship Award: George Darakos, associate director of corporate relations, SCS Dean's Office
- Sustained Excellence: Deborah Zalewski, senior associate business manager, Robotics Institute
- Individual Dedication: Royal Harvard, receiving coordinator, SCS Computing Facilities
- Rookies of the Year: Christina Melucci, administrative coordinator, Language Technologies Institute; Melissa Tetrick, business manager, Computational Biology Department.