Computer Pioneer William Wulf Honored for Distinguished Service

May 18, 2012 — One of the University of Virginia's renowned computer scientists, William Wulf, has been awarded the Association for Computing Machinery Distinguished Service Award. Wulf, the AT&T Professor of Computer Science in U.Va.'s School of Engineering and Applied Science, will be honored June 16 at the association's awards banquet in San Francisco.

Wulf is one of the pioneers who set the stage for advances in computing that influenced practitioners, researchers, educators and policymakers throughout the world, according to the association.

He is being recognized for distinguished service as a leader: He is the only computer scientist to serve in both the National Science Foundation's Computer & Information Science & Engineering Directorate and the National Academy of Engineering, as president.

At the National Science Foundation, Wulf helped develop the High Performance Computing and Communication Initiative to spur the construction of a national information infrastructure. He oversaw the merger and conversion of the Advanced Research Projects Agency Network from the U.S. Defense Department to the National Research and Education Network, a critical step that evolved into the Internet.

At the National Academy of Engineering, he advocated for engineering education and technical literacy, and oversaw the publication of two influential reports that urged educators to prepare for the future of engineering in a dynamic technology-driven global environment. He promoted the academy's technology literacy movement to illuminate the potential for teaching engineering concepts at the kindergarten through 12th-grade level.

He also created the Center on Engineering, Ethics and Society at the academy to raise the importance of ethics in the profound impact of engineering on our society.