Message From the Chair
Around the department I hear people say, "It's been an exciting year!" From my perspective, that doesn't do it justice. It's been more like sailing through a storm in the America's Cup competition, but with half a crew! Of our authorized 26 faculty, we had only 17 "hands on deck" this year, and several of those have been with us fewer than three years. Together we faced the largest Master of Engineering class ever (78). We converted our elementary programming course CS100 from Pascal to C and the intermediate course CS211 from Pascal to C++. We initiated support for the PC platform, bringing them into our systems research environment in a dramatic way with generous donations of machines from Intel and software from Microsoft, as well as a major gift from David Duffield, CEO of PeopleSoft. We undertook new collaborations with Electrical Engineering, connecting infotech labs and offices via videolink, and planned a joint laboratory and teaching space. We hired four new faculty in areas that will significantly strengthen the department.
On a sad note, we mourned the loss of Gerard Salton, one of our most prolific faculty members and for decades the most distinguished person in the field of information organization and retrieval, whose influence here has had much to do with the outstanding reputation of this department today.
To keep the Department afloat this year required exceptional effort from all quarters: we had to stretch and learn to handle more than one line to keep the ship on course. Juris Hartmanis served as Acting Chair in the fall semester, and Keshav Pingali as Acting Director of Undergraduate Studies in the spring semester. Thorsten von Eicken served as Acting Director of our Master of Engineering Program. David Gries represented us in the newly formed University Senate, as well as on numerous College committees. But even in this difficult year with its sad moments, there has been much to celebrate.
This was the year for recognition of outstanding teaching. Brian Smith received the Stephen and Margery Russell Distinguished Teaching Award, the highest award for teaching in Cornell's College of Arts & Sciences. Within the College of Engineering, Claire Cardie, Ronitt Rubinfeld, Tim Teitelbaum, and Thorsten von Eicken received recognition awards for their fine teaching. Dan Huttenlocher was designated a Stephen Weiss Presidential Fellow for his dedication to undergraduate teaching-an honor conferred on only three Cornell faculty each year. (Our Department has two of the twelve Cornell Weiss Presidential Fellows.) David Gries received the Association for Computing Machinery's Karlstrom Outstanding Educator Award, the IEEE Computer Society's Taylor Booth Education Award, and an honorary degree from Daniel Webster College for the positive influence his philosophy of teaching has had upon the faculty there.
Another of this year's peak successes was achieved through the hard work of our Recruiting Committee, chaired by Juris Hartmanis. Dr. Joseph Halpern (IBM Almaden and Stanford University) will join us in Fall 1996. Joe is known for his work in distributed systems, logic, nonmonotonic reasoning, and AI. We are also pleased to announce that next year's faculty will include Dr. S. Keshav (AT&T) in networking and communications, Dr. Jon Kleinberg (MIT, 1996) in theory and computational biology, Dr. Praveen Seshadri (Wisconsin, 1996) in databases, and Dr. Michael Godfrey (University of Toronto, 1996) in software engineering. We are delighted that these individuals will be making their intellectual homes with us, and we look forward to having them "on board".
The addition of Praveen Seshadri to the faculty brings a key component of Information Technology into place. Database issues are emerging in many aspects of our work such as creating repositories of multimedia data and knowledge bases of formal mathematics. The NCSTRL project is creating an example of one widely used database-a distributed digital library. Cornell's Digital Library Group (CDLRG) has provided the key systems technology (see page 20).
The year's journey would have been significantly more difficult without the assistance of our superb administrative and technical staff. These dedicated individuals logged many extra hours, providing continuity for those in "acting director" positions, expertise of all kinds, moral support, humor, and equanimity in the squalls. Literally, we could not have done it without them.
The year was not without its nicks and scrapes. There were not enough
people available to do everything we had hoped, but we have emerged from the storm with a
better sense of our strengths as well as a greater vision for what we are capable of
doing. We are setting off in new directions, continuing to explore uncharted territory and
to search for the most effective ways to mentor those who will join us.
This Annual Report contains more details and photos about Computer Science at Cornell. As usual, the report will be available on-line at the Cornell Web site, http://www.cs.cornell.edu.
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