This article is published in the March 2023 issue.

Lynne Parker Receives the 2023 CRA Distinguished Service Award

Lynne-ParkerThe Computing Research Association (CRA) has selected Lynne Parker, Associate Vice Chancellor and Director of the AI Tennessee Initiative at the University of Tennessee, as the recipient of the 2023 CRA Distinguished Service Award for her unparalleled impact on the computing research community.

Parker has made numerous outstanding contributions over the course of six years in federal government positions, leading national artificial intelligence (AI) policy across the Executive Branch and fashioning key strategic policies in support of AI research, development, and deployment.

As Division Director of Information and Intelligent Systems at the National Science Foundation (NSF) Computer and Information Science and Engineering Directorate (CISE), Parker demonstrated technical vision and the ability to forge new national-scale research initiatives and teams across the CISE directorate, NSF, and government agencies. She took a leadership role in several new cross-agency federal research initiatives while founding a new Networking and Information Technology Research and Development program (NITRD) interagency working group on Robotics and Intelligent Systems. She conceived and led the development of several new strategic research initiatives, including the Smart and Autonomous Systems program, the re-visioning of the National Robotics Initiative, and the development of NSF’s new Big Idea on “The Future of Work at the Human-Technology Frontier.”

Parker co-led the 2016 NITRD effort that produced the National AI R&D Strategic Plan, which “establish[ed] a set of objectives for Federally-funded AI research.” The plan was extremely impactful and established national directions and intent during a time of growing concern about U.S. research leadership in AI. It has transcended three U.S. Administrations, spanned political ideologies, and also served as a model that dozens of nations around the world have adopted.

In 2018, Parker joined the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) as the Assistant Director for AI, and later became Deputy U.S. Chief Technology Officer in 2019, as well as Founding Director of the National AI Initiative Office in 2021. In these roles, Lynne served as the White House lead for national AI policy, managing efforts to promote and foster the nation’s leadership in AI for economic growth, improved quality of life, and national security. 

Parker has displayed strategic vision, dedication, and forward-looking perspective while leading the nation’s strategic approach to AI research, workforce development, and infrastructure.

About the Award
The CRA Distinguished Service Award recognizes service in the areas of government affairs, professional societies, publications or conferences, and leadership that has a major impact on computing research.