Carnegie Mellon Press Release: April 21, 2004
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Press Release

Anne Watzman

For immediate release:
April 21, 2004

Wing Named Head of Computer Science Department In Carnegie Mellon's School of Computer Science

PITTSBURGH—Jeannette M. Wing has been chosen to head the Computer Science Department (CSD) in Carnegie Mellon University's School of Computer Science (SCS). She succeeds Randal E. Bryant, who became dean of SCS on April 1, 2004. Wing, a professor of computer science, is highly regarded for her outstanding contributions in research, teaching and administrative service.

In research, she is recognized as an international leader in formal methods, the use of mathematical models and logics to specify and reason about computing systems. The common thread in her work is the use of precise specifications to describe the behavior of software. She uses these behavioral specifications to define correctness conditions for software design. By characterizing these correctness conditions, Wing, along with her collaborators, has made fundamental contributions to many areas of computer science, including abstract data types, object-oriented programming, concurrent systems and fault-tolerant distributed systems. Since 2001, Wing has been director of Carnegie Mellon's Specification and Verification Center, which conducts research in new advances in formal methods and their applications to safety- and mission-critical systems.

More recently, her research interests have turned to security. She and her students extended model checking, a verification technique developed by her colleagues at Carnegie Mellon, to generate attack graphs automatically. Attack graphs succinctly represent all ways in which an attacker can break into a system, given a formal model of the system and its threats. Further automated analyses of these attack graphs help system administrators visualize tradeoffs when deploying different security measures.

Wing is especially interested in how system components not originally designed to work in concert can lead to surprising behavior when combined. Attackers can exploit these unexpected interactions to their advantage. These kinds of design-level vulnerabilities are of great interest to companies like Microsoft Corp., where she took a sabbatical last year. To kick-start this research effort, Wing ran a summer institute on software security sponsored jointly by Microsoft Research, the University of Washington and Carnegie Mellon.

Wing is the author or co-author of more than 80 refereed journal and conference papers and has presented more than 170 invited, conference and workshop talks. She has been or is on the editorial boards of seven scientific journals, including the Journal of the Association for Computing Machinery. She is a member of the National Academies of Sciences' Computer Science and Telecommunications Board and Microsoft's Trustworthy Computing Academic Advisory Board. She has been on advisory boards for the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency and the National Science Foundation. She is a member of Eta Kappa Nu, Tau Beta Pi, Sigma Xi and Phi Beta Kappa. She is a fellow of the ACM and the IEEE.

Wing has greatly enhanced the educational programs in SCS. One of her most influential contributions has been in the redesign of the master of software engineering program. In 1993, she and her colleagues spearheaded a radical curriculum revision, introducing five new core courses, three of which she has personally taught. These courses now reach students around the world from India to Korea to South Africa through SCS' extensive distance education program.

Administratively, Wing has been SCS associate dean for academic affairs for five years, overseeing and standardizing the school's eight doctoral and 12 master's programs. She has been the associate department head for the doctoral program in computer science for nine years. During that time, she made the curriculum more flexible, created an emigration course, and instituted speaking and writing skills requirements.

"CSD is one of the largest departments at Carnegie Mellon with faculty spanning a wide range of research areas and styles," said SCS Dean Randal E. Bryant. "In her previous roles in CSD and SCS, Jeannette has shown great talent for leadership and a concern for the well-being of everyone. Her unbounded energy and enthusiasm motivates us all to do a better job."

Wing grew up in New York in a family of academics. Her father is a professor emeritus of electrical engineering at Columbia University and was dean of engineering at the Chinese University in Hong Kong. Her brother is a biology professor.

Wing attended the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where she earned bachelor's and master's degrees in electrical engineering and computer science in 1979 and a doctor's degree in computer science in 1983. She began her career as an assistant professor at the University of Southern California and then joined the Carnegie Mellon faculty as a professor in 1985. She has worked or consulted for AT&T Bell Laboratories, Xerox Palo Alto Research Laboratories, Digital Equipment Corp., USC/Information Sciences Institute, the Jet Propulsion Laboratory and Microsoft Corp.

She balances her academic life with ballet and karate. She has performed in the Nutcracker Suite and other shows with local ballet and modern dance companies. She is a third-degree black belt and certified instructor in Tang Soo Do, a traditional Korean martial art, and has amassed more than 80 trophies and medals from competing in tournaments nationally and internationally.

CSD, which was established as a department offering a doctoral program in 1965, is the core unit of what is now Carnegie Mellon's six-division School of Computer Science. Today, it also includes the university's highly regarded computer science undergraduate program, established in 1994. The other divisions of SCS include the Robotics Institute, Language Technologies Institute, Institute for Human-Computer Interaction, the Institute for Software Research, International, and the Center for Automated Learning and Discovery.


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