Computer Scientist William Wulf Honored With National Diversity Award

April 5, 2011 — William Wulf, AT&T Professor of Computer Science at the University of Virginia and former president of the National Academy of Engineering, received the 2011 Richard A. Tapia Achievement Award for Scientific Scholarship, Civic Science and Diversifying Computing. The award was presented April 5 at the Tapia Conference 2011 in San Francisco.

Wulf, also a University Professor in the School of Engineering and Applied Science, is noted for his work in programming languages and compilers. He received the first computer science Ph.D. ever awarded at U.Va. in 1968. He joined the University's faculty in 1990.

The Tapia Award recognizes an individual with outstanding achievements in scientific scholarship, a strong civic presence within the scientific community and a dedication to the attainment of true ethnic diversity in computing and related disciplines. The award's criteria include demonstrated attention to the principle of equity in both theory and practice, and leadership in applying creative solutions to the difficult social, cultural, technical and political problems of diversifying computing fields.

The award is named for Richard A. Tapia, a mathematician at Rice University in Houston and a national leader in education and outreach programs. The Tapia Conference is organized by the Coalition to Diversify Computing and sponsored by the Association for Computing Machinery, in cooperation with the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers' Computer Society and the Computing Research Association.

"As immediate past president of the National Academy of Engineering and former vice chair of the National Research Council, Bill Wulf has given America outstanding scientific leadership while constantly promoting an awareness of the nation's need for diversity and gender equity within science and engineering," Tapia said. "He has followed up by initiating critical steps to achieve these objectives.

"Moreover, he is a distinguished teacher, mentor and developer of computer science curricula."

Wulf, a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, is a fellow of the National Academy of Engineering, of the Association for Computing Machinery and of the IEEE. In 1997, he was elected president of the National Academy of Engineering, which operates under a congressional charter and presidential executive orders that call on it to provide advice to the government on issues of science and engineering. He is the author or co-author of three books, two patents and more than 100 papers.

Wulf was on the Carnegie-Mellon University computer science faculty until 1975. In 1981, he founded Tartan Laboratories and served as chairman and chief executive officer until 1988.

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