LOS ALAMITOS, Calif., 25 February 2014 – Massachusetts Institute of Technology professor of computer science and engineering Charles E. Leiserson has been named 2014 recipient of the IEEE Computer Society Taylor L. Booth Award for his contributions to computer science education.
An MIT professor since 1981 and the coauthor of the textbook, “Introduction to Algorithms,” one of computer science’s most cited publications, Leiserson was recognized “for worldwide computer science education impact through writing a best-selling algorithms textbook and developing courses on algorithms and parallel programming.”
The creator of MIT undergraduate courses on algorithms and on discrete mathematics for computer science, he headed the computer-science program for the pioneering Singapore-MIT Alliance and developed MIT’s undergraduate class on software performance engineering, which teaches parallel programming as one of several techniques for writing fast code.
His annual workshop on Leadership Skills for Engineering and Science Faculty has educated hundreds of faculty at MIT and around the world in the human issues involved in leading technical teams in academia. He was the founding Workshop Chair for the MIT Undergraduate Practice Opportunities Program (UPOP), which teaches MIT Engineering sophomores how leadership skills can leverage their technical skills in professional environments. He is a Margaret MacVicar Faculty Fellow at MIT, the highest recognition at MIT for undergraduate teaching.
Leiserson joined the MIT faculty in 1981, where he heads the Supertech research group in the MIT Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory. He received a BS from Yale University in 1975 and a PhD from Carnegie Mellon University in 1981.
Leiserson’s research centers on the theory of parallel computing, especially as it relates to engineering reality. His PhD thesis, “Area-Efficient VLSI Computation,” won the first ACM Doctoral Dissertation Award, as well as the Fannie and John Hertz Foundation’s Doctoral Thesis Award.
He coauthored the first paper on systolic architectures, invented the retiming method of digital-circuit optimization, and developed the algorithmic theory behind it. On leave from MIT at Thinking Machines Corp., he designed and led the implementation of the network architecture for the Connection Machine Model CM-5 Supercomputer, which incorporated the fat-tree interconnection network he developed at MIT. He developed the Cilk multithreaded programming technology, and led the development of several Cilk-based parallel chess-playing programs, winning numerous prizes in international competition. On leave from MIT as Director of System Architecture at Akamai Technologies, he led the engineering team that developed a worldwide content-distribution network numbering over 20,000 servers. He founded Cilk Arts, Inc., which developed the Cilk++ multicore concurrency platform and was acquired by Intel in 2009.
He is an ACM Fellow, an AAAS Fellow, and a Senior Member of IEEE and SIAM.
The Taylor L. Booth award commemorates outstanding records in computer science and engineering education. Accompanied by a bronze medal and $5,000 honorarium, the award recognizes achievement as a teacher of renown through writing an influential text; leading, inspiring, or providing significant education content during the creation of a curriculum in the field; or inspiring others to a career in computer science and engineering education.
The award is named after Taylor L. Booth, a professor of computer science and engineering at the University of Connecticut who was instrumental in defining computer science and engineering curricula for program accreditation. His name was on the ballot as a candidate for president-elect of the Computer Society when he died of a heart attack in 1986.