This article is published in the May 2010 issue.

Condon and Vardi Honored for Service

CRA is pleased to announce the winners of its 2010 service awards, which will be presented at the CRA Conference at Snowbird on the evening of July 19.

CRA A. Nico Habermann Award

The CRA Board of Directors has selected Anne Condon, Professor of Computer Science and Associate Dean for Faculty Affairs and Strategic Initiatives at the University of British Columbia, the winner of the 2010 A. Nico Habermann Award for her long-standing and impactful service toward the goal of increasing the participation of women in computer science research.

Anne joined CRA-W Board in 1994 and became Co-Chair (with Mary Lou Soffa) from 2000 to 2003. She coordinated the Distributed Mentoring Program (DMP), CRA-W’s largest and most complex activity, from 1995 to 1998. It matches undergraduate women with mentors and funds summer research experiences for the students at their mentors’ institutions. During her leadership she commissioned an external evaluation to determine DMP’s effectiveness, which found that 50 percent of DMP women go on to graduate school compared to about 3 percent of all women who earn undergraduate degrees in computer science. Evidence of effectiveness like this assured that the DMP would receive funding for years to come. Anne’s foresight in commissioning an external review means that many more young women have undergraduate research experiences that motivate them to try for a graduate degree.

With Faith Ellen at the University of Toronto, Anne initiated the Canadian Distributed Mentor Project (CDMP) in 2001 and solicited funds to make it happen. Of the 34 women who participated in the program between the years 2005 and 2009, at least 17 are in graduate school and another 8 plan to attend graduate school. The development and success of the CDMP is one of her major achievements.

In 2004, Anne was awarded the NSERC/General Motors Canada Chair for Women in Science and Engineering. With the chair came the responsibility to help increase the participation and success of girls and women in the physical sciences and engineering at all levels of the pipeline in BC and the Yukon. There are similar chairs for the Prairie Provinces, Ontario, Quebec, and the Atlantic Provinces. Her work had to expand to a broader arena both in terms of including more science and engineering and in including K-12 education. To support this effort, Anne created the Jade Bridges Network to build a supportive community of people who work on projects and to provide financial support to some of the projects. Over the five years she held the chair, 13 projects have focused on computing events for K-12 and one project supported undergraduates in computer science to attend a conference. In addition to computing activities her work has helped girls and women more broadly in the sciences and engineering. Her term as Chair ended in 2009, but her legacy is the creation of the Jade Bridges Network which still functions for the betterment of girls and women in BC and the Yukon.

CRA Distinguished Service Award

The CRA Board of Directors has selected Moshe Y. Vardi, Karen Ostrum George Professor in Computational Engineering and Director of the Computer and Information Technology Institute at Rice University, to receive the 2010 Distinguished Service Award.

Moshe was nominated for the award for two fundamental contributions to the computing research community. The first was leading the effort to produce a definitive report on offshoring that has contributed significantly to debunking myths about the future health of the computing field and, in the process, helped ensure a steady flow of the best and brightest students into computer science. The ACM report, Globalization and Offshoring of Software, remains a core reference underpinning the arguments many of us continue to make that the study of computer science is a viable endeavor and one that leads to fulfilling and rewarding careers. Doing this study was not only a great service to the research community at the time, but–as it has turned out–something that is serving the community long beyond the time frame initially envisioned.

Moshe’s second contribution was leading the effort to redefine Communications of the ACM with the goal of engaging the computing research community to create a compelling magazine for computing. Today, eighteen months into the new CACM, the evidence is overwhelming that he has been successful with the revitalization of CACM. Whether it’s the hundreds of blog posts praising the new CACM—or the fact that cover stories like October’s “The Status of the P Versus NP Problem” are being picked up by The New York Times – Moshe has indeed created a Science for computing which serves the computing research community well. And as was pointed out in the nomination, “He [Moshe] has done this not because of any allegiance to ACM, but because of his deep commitment to serving our field.”


Condon and Vardi Honored for Service