currentDistinguished Service Award

CRA makes an award, usually annually, to a person who has made an outstanding service contribution to the computing research community. This award recognizes service in the areas of government affairs, professional societies, publications or conferences, and leadership that has a major impact on computing research.

2015Farnam Jahanian

2015 Farnam Jahanian Awardee Vice President for Research, Carnegie Mellon University

Farnam served as NSF Assistant Director for CISE from 2011 to 2014, the highest profile government position for computer science research. During his tenure he fought hard to computer science and launched three presidential initiatives: National Robotics Initiative, Big Data Research and Development Initiative and US Ignite. Farnam led twenty-five new solicitations, including several cross-directorate efforts such as secure and trustworthy cyberspace, cyberlearning and future learning technologies, and big data. He reintegrated the Office of Cyber Infrastructure (OCI) with CISE. Farnam served as co-chair of the NITRD subcommittee of the National Science and Technology Council Committee on Technology, providing overall coordination for the R&D activities of 17 government agencies. He often testified before congress and gave about 100 presentations at universities and conferences.

Former NSF director and current CMU president Subra Suresh writes “Farnam is both a visionary and the pragmatist, and this combination of qualities has allowed him to be effective in whatever he undertakes.”

Tom Kalil, OSTP Deputy Director for Technology and Innovation states “During my more than thirteen years of service at the White House for two Presidents, I have had the opportunity to work with many individuals from the computer science research community who have been willing to serve in leadership positions at federal agencies such as NSF, DARPA, and the Department of Energy. Farnam has been second to none as measured by the breadth and depth of his impact on the direction of the field, and his ability to partner effectively with the research community, and his peers at NSF and other agencies, and the White House. His leadership and hard work has resulted in increased federal investment in critical areas such as Big Data, robotics, cyberphysical systems, cybersecurity, cyber-learning, next-generation networking, and CS education.”

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