David L. Gries

Award Recipient
Share this on:

I was born in Flushing, New York, and spent 21 years there before I escaped. I received a B.S. Queens College in 1960 and went to work for the U.S. Naval Weapons laboratory (as a civilian) as a mathematician-programmer. I met my wife-to-be, Elaine, a few months later, and we were married in November 1961.

We went to Illinois for more education. I received a Masters degree in math from Illinois in 1963. My assistantship was to help two Germans, Manfred Paul and Ruediger Wiehle, write a full Algol compiler for the IBM 7090 computer –it was fun, figuring out how to implement recursion efficiently before there were many papers on the topic. This ended up in my wife and I going to Munich for almost three years. I received my doctorate under F.L. Bauer and Joseph Stoer from MIT (the Munich Institute of Technology, Germany) in June 1966. This was in math, or numerical analysis, since computer science theses were not yet kosher.

I was an assistant professor of Computer Science at Stanford from 1966 to 1969. While at Stanford, our twins Paul and Susan were born. What made it more exciting than usual was that they were born on the birthday of myself and my twin — 26 April. So, when my twin is in town, Elaine makes four birthday cakes.

We left Stanford because it had no weather. We moved to Cornell, which has weather, in 1969 and have been snowed in ever since. I was Department Chair in 1982-87, and I became the William L. Lewis Professor of Engineering in 1992. I had a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1984-85.


1994 Taylor L. Booth Education Award
“For your commitment to education in Computer Science and Engineering as demonstrated by your record of outstanding teaching and mentoring, writing of textbooks, curriculum development and professional.”
Learn more about the Taylor L. Booth Education Award