Farnam Jahanian Receives Computing Research Association Distinguished Service Award-CMU News - Carnegie Mellon University

Monday, June 22, 2015

Farnam Jahanian Receives Computing Research Association Distinguished Service Award

By Abby Simmons / 412-268-4290 / abbysimmons@cmu.edu

Farnam Jahanian

Carnegie Mellon University Provost Farnam Jahanian, who has been instrumental in the creation of numerous federal computer science initiatives, was presented with the Computing Research Association’s 2015 Distinguished Service Award at the annual Association of Computing Machinery Awards Banquet, June 20, in San Francisco.

The CRA is an association of more than 200 North American academic departments of computer science, computer engineering and related fields; laboratories and centers in industry, government and academia engaging in basic computing research; and affiliated professional societies.

The Distinguished Service Award is presented to a person whose leadership and service in government affairs, professional societies, publications or conferences has had a major impact on computing research. The CRA selected Jahanian for his work as the National Science Foundation's assistant director for Computer and Information Science and Engineering (CISE) from 2011 to 2014.

“Farnam is both a visionary and the pragmatist, and this combination of qualities has allowed him to be effective in whatever he undertakes,” said CMU President Subra Suresh.

Tom Kalil, White House Office of Science and Technology Policy deputy director for Technology and Innovation, noted Jahanian’s ability to develop strong partnerships as a key to success in attracting support for computer science research.

“Farnam is both a visionary and the pragmatist, and this combination of qualities has allowed him to be effective in whatever he undertakes.” — CMU President Subra Suresh

“During my more than 13 years of service at the White House for two presidents, I have had the opportunity to work with many individuals from the computer science research community who have been willing to serve in leadership positions at federal agencies such as NSF, DARPA and the Department of Energy. Farnam has been second to none as measured by the breadth and depth of his impact on the direction of the field, and his ability to partner effectively with the research community, and his peers at NSF and other agencies, and the White House. His leadership and hard work has resulted in increased federal investment in critical areas such as Big Data, robotics, cyberphysical systems, cybersecurity, cyber learning, next-generation networking and computer science education,” Kalil said.

The CRA cited Jahanian’s work in launching three presidential initiatives: the National Robotics Initiative, the Big Data Research and Development Initiative, and US Ignite. An advocate for how basic research can be uniquely central to an innovation ecosystem that drives global competitiveness and addresses national priorities, Jahanian has testified before Congress on a broad range of topics.

“Farnam has been second to none as measured by the breadth and depth of his impact on the direction of the field, and his ability to partner effectively with the research community.” — Tom Kalil

While at the NSF, he led 25 new solicitations, including several cross-directorate efforts focused on secure and trustworthy cyberspace, cyberlearning and future learning technologies, and big data. He also reintegrated the Office of Cyber Infrastructure with CISE and served as co-chair of the National Information Technology Research and Development subcommittee of the National Science and Technology Council Committee on Technology, providing overall coordination for the research and development activities of 17 government agencies.

Jahanian assumed the role of provost at CMU in May 2015. As the university's chief academic officer, he has broad responsibility for leading the university’s schools, institutes and campuses and is instrumental in long-range institutional and academic planning and implementation. He joined the university as vice president for research in 2014, a position in which he was responsible for nurturing excellence in research, scholarship and creative activities.

Prior to his service at the NSF, Jahanian was the Edward S. Davidson Collegiate Professor at the University of Michigan, where he served as chair for Computer Science and Engineering from 2007 to 2011 and director of the Software Systems Laboratory from 1997 to 2000.

Jahanian, who holds a doctorate in computer science from the University of Texas at Austin, serves as chair of the National Research Council’s Computer Science and Telecommunications Board. He is a member of the Computing Research Association and National Center for Women and Information Technology boards. Jahanian also is a fellow of the Association for Computing Machinery, the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers, and the American Association for the Advancement of Science.