Engineering Professor Soffa Re-Elected to ACM Council


For the second time, Mary Lou Soffa of the University of Virginia’s School of Engineering and Applied Science has been elected a member-at-large on the Association for Computing Machinery Council.

ACM is the world’s largest educational and scientific computing society. It contributes significantly to the field of education and delivers resources that advance computing as a science and a profession. The society offers members publications on the field of computing and conferences that allows members to interact and engage in exhibitions and lectures. The council oversees ACM, presiding over its subcommittees, conferences, and educational efforts.

Soffa, the outgoing chair of the Department of Computer Science, is the Owens R. Cheatham Professor of Science. From 1977 until 2004, she was a professor of computer science at the University of Pittsburgh, where she also earned her Ph.D. in computer science.

In 1999, she was elected an ACM fellow, then a member-at-large in 2008. She served on the ACM publications board from 2006 until 2012. Her general research interests are in programming languages/compilers and software engineering. Her current focus is on resource management for multicores, program analysis, virtual execution environments, testing and debugging.

Soffa has worked throughout her career to encourage women and underrepresented minorities consider study and careers in computing. She is co-founder of the Computing Research Association’s Graduate Student Cohort and the Cohort for Associate Professors. In addition, she is an active research mentor. Of the 26 Ph.D. students that she has graduated, 50 percent are women; nationally, 13 percent of Ph.D. graduates are women.

“We need to encourage ongoing projects that are focused on demonstrating the excitement and opportunities that computing offers to students,” she said. “Our science and profession depends on a robust pipeline of students engaged in computing and we must work toward that end.”

Soffa won the Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics and Engineering Mentoring in 1999, and in 2005, the CRA Nico Habermann Award for outstanding contributions aimed at increasing the numbers and/or successes of underrepresented members in the computing research community. In 2011, she received the Anita Borg Technical Leadership Award in recognition of her technological achievements and leadership that impact and inspire women in computer. She was recognized at the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing that same year.

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Josie Pipkin

Director of Communications, School of Engineering and Applied Science