2020 Presidential Candidate Town Hall

Learn more about our approved candidates, Nita Patel and William D. Gropp
Published 07/07/2020
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Join us on Friday, 31 July at 12:00 PM EDTPresident_TownHall

for IEEE Computer Society’s Presidential Candidate town hall.


This is your chance to learn more about our candidates, William D. Gropp and Nita Patel, prior to voting on Monday, 3 August.

Sign up to attend the virtual town hall by providing some brief details below, and we will follow up with all pertinent information via email.

You don’t want to miss this, trust us!




Candidates for President-Elect

William D. Gropp and Nita Patel will be on the ballot for 2021 president-elect and 2022 president.

The president serves as the chief elected officer of the IEEE CS, representing the entire membership. The president, under the direction of the Board of Governors, provides direction for IEEE CS officers and Society programs, and is responsible for the general supervision of the Society. The president serves one year as president-elect, one year as president, and one year as past president.






Position statement.  The Computer Society will face unprecedented challenges in the next few years as the world adapts to the COVID-19 pandemic and its aftermath. How do we support the community? How do conferences change? How can we use technology to bring people together, supplementing or even replacing the ways that conferences and in-person meetings have in the past? How does open access change the way that the Computer Society serves the community?

The strength of the Computer Society is that it is first and foremost just that – a society and a community. The job of the leadership of the Computer Society is to build and improve on the framework of that society to ensure that it meets the needs of its members and our profession. This is a challenging time for the Computer Society, which needs to reinvent itself to thrive in this rapidly changing environment.

As president, I have three main goals:

Connect. We need to work on connecting those in our profession to the communities of researchers and practitioners in our Society. We must make membership more attractive to students and to those in industry as well as academia. Like much of computer science, our membership must be more diverse. We are a very international field; our membership must reflect that as well. Our most powerful tools in this endeavor are our conferences, journals, and technical committees, along with the technologies that have let us hold virtual conferences and stay connected during the current crisis. We must build on these.

Communicate. Working together, we can increase communication and make that communication more effective and efficient. Within the society, we can provide more ways to communicate with our membership. We are part of the largest professional organization; we can work with IEEE and our sister societies to share ideas and to leverage our resources.

Explore and Adapt. In an era of change, no one has all of the answers. A more robust way to thrive in the midst of change is to explore different options, encourage competition, and see which ones work best. And with success comes the need to adapt; I will work with the Board of Governors to create ways to create pilot projects to help us learn what works best.

See my website
for more information. I look forward to serving you as president of the Computer Society.



Biography.  Dr. William “Bill” Gropp is Director of the National Center for Supercomputing Applications and holds the Thomas M. Siebel Chair in the Department of Computer Science at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He received his Ph.D. in Computer Science from Stanford University in 1982. He was on the faculty of Computer Science at Yale from 1982-1990. From 1990-2007, he was a member of the Mathematics and Computer Science Division of Argonne National Laboratory, including serving as associate division director.

Gropp has served the Computer Society as Vice President for Technical and Conference Activities since 2019 and has been a member of the Board of Governors since 2017. As chair of Technical Program (2009), Finance (2011), and as General Chair (2013) of the SC conference, which at over 12,000 attendees is the largest conference co-sponsored by the Computer Society, Gropp has experience leading volunteers (almost 600 for SC) and running financially successful technical conferences.

He played a major role in the development of the MPI message-passing standard, used around the world to program high performance computing systems. He is co-author of MPICH, a widely used implementation of MPI, and has written many books and papers on MPI. He is also one of the designers of the PETSc parallel numerical library and has developed parallel algorithms for the solution of linear and nonlinear equations. Dr. Gropp co-chaired the National Academy’s Committee on Future Directions for NSF Advanced Computing Infrastructure to Support U.S. Science.

Gropp is a Fellow of AAAS, ACM, IEEE, and SIAM and a member of the National Academy of Engineering. He received the Sidney Fernbach Award from the Computer Society in 2008 and the ACM/IEEE-CS Ken Kennedy Award “for highly influential contributions to the programmability of high-performance parallel and distributed computers, and extraordinary service to the profession” in 2016.








Position statement. As a leader in computing technology, the IEEE Computer Society has a well-earned and highly-respected reputation for innovative conferences, engaged chapter activities, trusted standards, quality publications and dedicated, diverse volunteers.

Computing is an ever-changing and fast-moving field. Therefore, the Computer Society must continually change because, as Charles Kettering said, “the world hates change, yet it is the only thing that has brought progress.” As an active volunteer and manager, I have the leadership skills to encourage innovative solutions from our members, to filter those that align with our mission, and to nurture them to make progress towards the future we envision.

I plan continued progress by focusing on the following:

Nurturing industry engagement through conferences, standards, and services. The Computer Society conferences play an important role in fostering innovation by providing exposure to the latest technical advances, providing continuous learning opportunities, cultivating new perspectives, and enabling networking.

Providing access to critical technology to our members through leading publications, continuing education, and energized Technical Communities. Intentionally evaluating market trends and emerging tech will enable the Computer Society to be the premier source for information, inspiration, and collaboration in computing technology.

Optimizing chapter activities worldwide to expand and strengthen communities within the Computer Society by sharing best practices, by encouraging opportunities to get involved and by developing future leaders. Chapters are the bedrock of direct member contact and can significantly influence both membership and engaged participation.

Increasing volunteer impact by evaluating our tools, processes, and services to make them as simple, relevant, and accessible as possible, by developing student and early-career professionals and by expanding the inclusiveness of our volunteer teams. I am frequently humbled by the incredible dedication and energy of our Computer Society volunteers and would love to enable them to achieve more.

I would be honored to work with you to set in motion strategies that have long-lasting value for our organization. To this end, I would genuinely appreciate your support. Please visit www.nitapatel.org for more information.


Biography. Nita Patel, P.E., is Senior Director, Engineering at L3Harris Technologies, where she leads multidisciplinary design teams in innovative research and new product development and where she was recognized for her significant technical contributions as 2014 L3 Engineer of the Year.

Nita is currently involved with Computer Society sub-committees, is a Director on the IEEE Foundation, is a member of the Industry Engagement Committee, is a mentor for several IEEE WIE Summits and is active in the New Hampshire executive committee. In her over twenty-five years as an IEEE volunteer, Nita served as 1st VP Computer Society, served a three-year term on the Computer Society Board of Governors, founded and led the first five years of the IEEE Women in Engineering International Leadership Conference (WIE ILC), served as Women in Engineering International Chair for which she received the 2014 Larry K Wilson Transnational Award for distinguished contributions to IEEE global activities, served on the Eta Kappa Nu Board of Governors and was IEEE-USA VP of Communications & Public Awareness.

Outside of IEEE, she is active with Toastmasters International and the United States Chess Federation. Nita received her MS Computer Engineering (1998), BS Electrical Engineering (1995) and BS Mathematics (1995) from Southern Methodist University in Dallas. Please visit www.nitapatel.org for more information.