Meet the Candidates for 2020 President-Elect (2021 President)
The opinions expressed in the statements are those of the individual candidates and do not necessarily reflect Computer Society positions or policies.

Sumi Helal - Candidate


Position statement. The value of the Computer Society to its members and volunteers, and the broader impact it is expected to have on the profession and the advancement of computer and information science and engineering must be critically reviewed and analyzed. Many constants have rapidly changed lately for the 72-year old powerful brand! Time has come for its rejuvenation –to redefine its value prepositions, envision and implement new ideas and engagement models, design the supportive policies and mechanisms to deliver on the values, and to sustain a high impact and leadership role.

The Computer Society must offer valuable products, services and opportunities that meet the needs and aspirations of its members –all of its individual and organizational members around the globe. The Computer Society must do so cost-effectively to remain nimble and financially viable. It must be relevant, influential, engaging, and of a definitive personalized value to its members, including the rising generation of young students and professionals. Urgently, the Computer Society must become much more “tangible” digitally and physically, with a powerful world-wide presence that far exceeds receiving periodic emails through distribution lists, sometimes mistaken by email systems as spam. Engaging current and potential members with us as volunteers to co-create and redefine the society’s desired value/opportunity prepositions will be the highest-priority goal in my agenda as President.

Volunteers are the secret sauce and the key driving force behind any value and impact the society can ever realize. Hence, as President, I will also focus on incentivizing volunteering and turning it into highly sought-after opportunities. The technical committees, in particular, are a good ground that holds a great promise for advancement and impact. As President, I will pursue a more energizing support model for the technical committees to bolster their role and prestige as ground zero for highly-rewarded volunteering.

Current Computer Society publications are influential, yet there is room for advancement by revising the titles lineup and by investing in and changing the magazines to serve a more powerful and complimentary role to transactions – become platforms for timely communication, interpretations, debates and critical surveys of the various forces shaping emerging research and technology evolutions.

Governance is also needy of some improvements! Particularly, bolstering the role of the board of governors to provide a tighter oversight of the operational and financial performance of the Computer Society.

As President, I will unwaveringly thrive to pursue the aforementioned initiatives and affect critically needed changes.


Biography.  Sumi Helal is a Professor and Chair in Digital Health in the School of Computing and Communications at Lancaster University, UK. He directs the center on Digital Health and Quality of Life Technologies where he explores the use of computing technology and health data into the pathways of healthcare to improve outcomes and enhance the quality of life of all people including individuals with special needs.

Before joining Lancaster, Helal was Computer Science and Engineering Professor at University of Florida and Director of its Mobile and Pervasive Computing Laboratory. He co-founded and directed the Gator Tech Smart House – a real-world deployment to identify key barriers and opportunities to making the Smart Home concept a common place (creating the “Smart Home in a Box” concept). His published research is widely cited (300+ publications with over 12,300 citations, h-index of 49, and i10-index of 156, according to Google Scholar). His research received substantial press coverage over the past 20 years, including New York Times, Chicago Tribune, Discovery Channel, and MIT Technology Review. He is inventor on nine US patents, and cofounder of several startups on Mobile Computing and Internet-of-Things.

Helal is a long-time IEEE Computer Society volunteer. He served on numerous editorial boards including as Editor-in-Chief of IEEE Computer, the Society’s flagship publication (2015-2018). He chaired over 25 conferences including 12 IEEE-sponsored. He was chair of the IEEE CS Technical Committee on the Internet (2000-2003). He was coordinator of IEEE CS Region 3 (2009). He serves as member of IEEE CS Board of Governors since 2017, and currently chairs the Publications Board’s Magazine Operations Committee. He chaired the CS Financial Audit subcommittee (2017). Helal is a Boilermaker (Ph.D. 1991, Purdue University), Fellow of the IEEE, Fellow of the Institute of Engineering and Technology, and IEEE CS Golden Core recipient.



Position statement. Over my decade of volunteering with the IEEE Computer Society (CS), I have found it immensely rewarding to work with all CS stakeholders to make our offerings better suited to the needs of our fast-moving field. I aim to continue this work during what is a critical, transformative time for the CS. We rely on our Society to keep ourselves competitive, regardless of whether we are researchers or practitioners. The Society’s products and services must continue to evolve to maintain their relevance in today’s world.

To advance this focus on relevance, I commit to:

Work to ensure that we provide content and opportunities in critical technology areas, which keep members up to date on the skills they need. Achieving this requires providing more visibility into, and opportunities for participation in, our Technical Communities. We must be intentional about investing in emerging tech areas and continuously revitalize our existing communities.

Increase industry engagement. My career at the intersection of research and practice convinces me that the CS has an important role in helping meet the needs of industry computing professionals for continuous learning. We need to make sure that we are getting content to people in the ways they prefer to consume it and that we are addressing the needs of all segments of our field.

Expand activities and opportunities aimed at students and early-career professionals. These groups are the future of the CS and have different needs than other types of members. It is important for us to help young members be more competitive in today’s market. We also benefit from the new ideas and new approaches they bring.

Improve support for Chapter activities, making it easier for good ideas to flow among chapters and for chapter members to participate in Society initiatives. These opportunities for networking and volunteerism help our members stand out as technical leaders.

Improve inclusivity in volunteer representation. The CS benefits from leadership that reflects our community, which requires supporting diversity at all levels of the Society.

Improve basic volunteer processes. As someone who uses our services myself, to publish, do reviews, and run conferences, I know the importance of having them be easy and reliable. Maintaining relevance requires focusing on the volunteer experience.

For more information on my vision and my history of volunteering, which make these commitments achievable, and endorsements from fellow volunteers, please visit my webpage at


Biography.  Dr. Forrest Shull is Assistant Director for Empirical Research at Carnegie Mellon University’s Software Engineering Institute (SEI). His role is to lead work with U.S. government agencies, national labs, industry, and academic institutions to advance the use of empirically grounded information in software engineering and cybersecurity. Before joining the SEI, he was at the Fraunhofer Center for Experimental Software Engineering, where he founded and served as Director of the Measurement and Knowledge Management Division.

He has been a lead researcher on projects for the U.S. Department of Defense, NASA’s Office of Safety and Mission Assurance, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), the National Science Foundation, and commercial companies.

While Editor in Chief of IEEE Software (2011-2014), he launched the digital edition of the magazine, leading to new subscribers. He created the annual Software Experts Summit, which forged connections with local software industry in cities worldwide. He integrated the free Software Engineering Radio podcast into Software and maintained the high quality that helps each episode reach 40-50,000 downloads. He currently serves as Associate Editor of IEEE Transactions on Software Engineering. He has served in leadership roles on IEEE conferences including ICSE, ESEM, and STC.

Since 2015 he has been a member of the Computer Society Board of Governors and since 2016 has served on the Executive Committee, where he helped institute a metrics-based Portfolio Review initiative, which reviews all of the Society’s member offerings for vitality and ongoing relevance to membership. He has served as Society Treasurer, Finance Chair of the Publications Board, and VP for Membership. He is an IEEE Senior Member and a Computer Society Golden Core Member.

He received his PhD in 1998 from the University of Maryland College Park. He is the author of 100 peer-reviewed publications and co-editor of a handbook on empirical software engineering.