Former CRA Vice Chair Laura Haas Reflects on 35+ Years at IBM


On June 30, Laura Haas, former CRA vice chair, will retire from IBM research after 36 years in order to tackle a new challenge. In August, she will become dean of the new College of Information and Computer Sciences at the University of Massachusetts Amherst.

She reflects on her time at IBM a blog post – “Laura Haas: 36 years of making IBM Research ‘Famous for our science, vital to the world.'”

As the end of June rushes towards me, I find myself reflecting on my career at IBM, my colleagues at the IBM Research – Almaden lab, and the many other good things that I will miss! I am retiring from IBM on June 30th and will head across country to take on a new challenge: Dean of the new College of Information and Computer Sciences at UMass Amherst.

I started at IBM Research 36 years ago (!), when the research team was down on “plant site” (Cottle Road) in Building 28.  The database team at the time was about fifteen people; only Ted Codd, the inventor of relational databases, was an IBM Fellow. IBM had just shipped its first relational database system, SQL/DS. DB2 was in process, but not yet birthed.  We worked on big mainframe systems, on CRTs (cathode ray terminals), debugging in hexadecimal.  Our research projects were focused on distributed databases and highly available systems – topics that turned out to be years ahead of their time, but have become essential to our modern world.

In August, Laura Haas will leave California behind to join the University of Massachusetts Amherst as Dean of the College of Information and Computer Sciences

Fast forward 36 years, and a lot has changed.  We sit now in a beautiful lab surrounded by nature; a lab and setting so beautiful that it turns every work day into a magical experience.  Deer, turkeys, cows, and our own totally confused roadrunner are just a few of the creatures we share this site with.  Walk out the door at dusk to the sound of coyotes baying in the hills, and cares melt away (or at least fade to the background for a while).

Click here to read the full post. CRA wishes her well as she takes on this new adventure in academia.