Anne Condon Wins the Technical Leadership ABIE Award

Originally printed in the Summer/Fall 2014 Newsletter

Anne Condon, professor and head of the Department of Computer Science at the University of British Columbia, is the 2014 recipient of the Grace Hopper Celebration Technical Leadership ABIE Award. She received her Bachelor’s degree (1982) from University College Cork, Ireland, and her Ph.D. (1987) at the University of Washington. Anne’s research interests are in biomolecular computation and computational prediction of RNA and DNA structure and folding pathways, with applications to design of novel structures and to gene synthesis. She and her collaborators have developed algorithms and thermodynamic models that have improved the efficiency and accuracy of state-of-the-art methods for nucleic acid secondary structure prediction. More broadly, her research contributions span computational complexity theory, hardware verification, bioinformatics, biomolecular computation, and combinatorial auctions.

Anne served on the CRA-W board from 1994-2007 and was Co-Chair from 2000-2003. She led the Distributed Men-tor Project (now known as DREU) from 1996-1999. Anne organized an extensive third-party evaluation of the project, conducted by staff at the LEAD (Learning through Evaluation, Adaptation and Dissemination) center, University of Wisconsin. The results of that study had significant impact in raising awareness of why research mentoring is valuable for women in computing. The evaluation also showed that over 50 percent of surveyed DMP participants did indeed go on to graduate school, significantly higher than a comparison with data from the National Center for Educational Statistics. Partly as a result of the significance of this evaluation, the DMP was highlighted as one of four flagship projects in the National Science 2000 budget proposal to U.S. Congress for computer science and engineering. Anne also helped expand CRA-W’s programs to Canada and helped start this newsletter in 2006.

Anne has also served as ACM-W’s Canadian Ambassador. She held the NSERC/General Motors Canada Chair for Women in Science and Engineering (2004-2009). As NSERC Chair, Anne is working on an interdisciplinary approach to teaching introductory computer science, and has created a network of leaders across British Columbia to work towards increasing the representation of women in academic science and engineering programs.  Anne was Program Chair (2007) and Conference Chair (2008) of the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing, and co-organized a Regional Hopper conference in the Pacific Northwest in 2014. She is active in mentoring and supervising women students and researchers, both at UBC and elsewhere.

The Technical Leadership ABIE Award recognizes women technologists who demonstrate leadership through their contributions to technology and achievements in increasing the impact of women on technology. Recipients are honored at the Grace Hopper Celebration and invited to give a presentation on their work and accomplishments at the conference. The award includes a prize of $10,000.