Issue No. 05 - September/October (2011 vol. 28)
DOI Bookmark: http://doi.ieeecomputersociety.org/10.1109/MS.2011.104
Ann Miller, a former editorial board member who contributed a great deal to IEEE Software for many years, passed away in December 2010. I'd like to share a few personal memories.
After finishing grad school in 1990 and getting a few publications under my belt, I received an email from a stranger. We began an informal and infrequent email dialogue about the research I had done in software testing stoppage criteria. She had read a few articles on this topic and found them interesting. At the time, I knew the person I was communicating with was leading a software effort in satellite telephones, and I knew the person's name was Ann Miller. But to me at that time, it was just email chat; we had never met nor had any plans to.
When she moved to DoD from Motorola, I lost track of Ann, a usual side effect of email conversations that never result in face-to-face meetings. One day, years later, a Navy colleague of hers mentioned to me that I should go with him to talk to Ann Miller about trustworthy software. I didn't mentally connect the Ann Miller from Motorola with the Navy CIO Ann Miller that I was about to meet.
I prepared a short briefing of slides, knowing we only had 30 minutes in her office. I was slightly nervous, given her position and title in the Navy. Upon arrival, she greeted us with a wonderful, warm smile and personality. She listened, and we left.
From that point forward, Ann and I developed a long and rewarding collegial friendship. I worked to get her on conference panels, and she invited me to NATO events. I advocated getting her onto the IEEE Reliability Society Administrative Committee, and she invited me to the University of Missouri—Rolla to speak. She invited me to her home, and I invited her to mine. You get the picture.
The story here is that Ann, no matter how far she had risen in .gov or .com circles, was always just Ann, a good-natured, storytelling person, who adored rescuing animals and never forgot who she was or where she'd come from. She gave far more to me than she ever received in return, and I'm not the only benefactor of her generosity and kindness.
Her life was cut short, but I know she would admit that she had lived a very rich one. Besides her rescued hounds that she adored and called her "girls," her other passions included IEEE, her family, a belief that somehow, someday we'd get this thing called software "right," and single malt scotch.
I hope she is enjoying a glass of it, wherever her spirit is today.
National Institute of Standards and Technology