2017 Doherty Award Recipient
A.J. Perlis University Professor of Computer Science, Institute for Software Research
Mary Shaw has served on the Computer Science faculty at Carnegie Mellon since completing her Ph.D. here. She and her colleagues have developed innovative new programs and courses at the undergraduate and graduate levels, both at Carnegie Mellon and in the wider community. This work is rooted in Robert Doherty’s Carnegie Plan and emphasizes foundational knowledge in the context of practice, together with broad preparation for critical thinking and lifetime learning.
Shaw led the design of the 1985 CMU Curriculum for Undergraduate Computer Science, which presented a principled undergraduate curriculum at a time when "official" curriculum designs were documenting current practice rather than leading the way. Her redesign, with colleagues, of the sophomore data structures course in the mid-1970s, pioneered the abstraction and formal specification approach that is now widely favored and disseminated the approach through an influential textbook. In 1991, restructuring CMU's Master of Software Engineering program focused the program on the technical side of software engineering. The reformulated curriculum set the stage for Shaw and colleagues to develop novel courses on software architectures and on getting from requirements to early design. Both courses were disseminated to other institutions via publications, mentoring of visiting instructors and the publication of the first textbook on software architecture.
Outside of Carnegie Mellon, Shaw has spoken and published extensively on educational issues, including Carnegie Mellon’s educational programs, the maturing discipline of software engineering, and professional certification. She collaborated on a model curriculum for professional master’s programs in software engineering, which was endorsed by three professional societies.
Shaw’s research interests are in software engineering and software design, particularly software architecture and design of systems used by real people. She and her collaborators have made fundamental and significant contributions to an engineering discipline for software through developing data abstraction with verification and by establishing software architecture as a major branch of software engineering. This research has both shaped and been shaped by related courses.
Shaw earned a B.A. cum laude from Rice University and a Ph.D. in computer science from Carnegie Mellon. Her educational contributions have been recognized by the U.S. National Medal of Technology and Innovation, the IEEE Computer Society TCSE Distinguished Educator Award, the CSEE&T Nancy Mead Award for Excellence in Software Engineering Education, the George R. Stibitz Computer & Communications Pioneer Award, the ACM SIGSOFT Outstanding Research Award (with David Garlan), and elected Life Fellowship in the ACM and the IEEE.