Blum and Khosla Among Five Carnegie Mellon Professors Elected Into the National Academy of Engineering

BY Byron Spice - Tue, 2006-02-14 12:00  Printer-friendly version

Manuel Blum, SCS' Bruce Nelson professor of computer science, and Pradeep K. Khosla, dean of the college of engineering and Philip and Marsha Dowd professor of engineering and robotics, are two of five Carnegie Mellon University professors who have been elected this year to the National Academy of Engineering. The others include Christina H. Amon, Egon Balas, and Krzysztof A. Matyjaszewski.

Membership in the NAE honors people who have made important contributions to engineering theory and practice and who have demonstrated unusual accomplishments in pioneering new and developing fields of technology. It is one of the highest professional distinctions an engineer can achieve. The NAE shares responsibility with the National Academy of Sciences to advise the federal government on questions of policy in science and technology.

Blum was elected to the academy for contributions to abstract complexity theory, cryptographic protocols and the theory and applications of program checkers. He is a leader in the world of theoretical computing and one of the founders of computational complexity theory. In 1995 his achievements were recognized with the A. M. Turing Award, the highest honor in computing.

Blum came to Carnegie Mellon as a visiting professor in 1999 after a distinguished career at the University of California at Berkeley. He received Carnegie Mellon's Nelson Chair in the fall of 2001, and has been a member of the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) since 2002. Among the several thousand members of the national academies, as of July 2005, Blum was one of only 154 people who are members of both the NAS and the NAE.

Blum's work has developed around a single unifying theme—finding positive, practical consequences of living in a world where all computational resources are bounded. He showed that secure business transactions and pseudo-random number generation are possible because all computational devices have finite resources.

Blum developed the Completely Automated Public Turing Test, which is used by Yahoo and others to ensure that registrants to Web sites are humans and not robots. Today he is working on CONSCSnews, (conceptualizing, strategizing control system) to help support the development of a truly self-aware robot.

Khosla was elected to the Academy for his contributions to the design and sensor-based control in robotic systems, for the assembly of precision electronics and for innovative leadership in engineering education. He holds a bachelor's degree from the Indian Institute of Technology and masters (1984) and doctor's degrees (1986) from Carnegie-Mellon.

Khosla began his career at the university as an assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering and robotics in 1986 and moved up to become dean of the engineering college in 2004. He was a member of the committee that formulated a curriculum for the university's robotics doctoral program.

He is a co-founder of Quantapoint, Inc., and Halosoft, Inc., two Pittsburgh-based high-tech companies. Halosoft specializes in Internet software. Quantapoint specializes in high-precision laser scanners used to create high fidelity, 3D models of as built structures. The company serves a variety of markets, including architecture and engineering and the movie and video game industries.

"It's been wonderful having Manuel Blum as part of the Carnegie Mellon faculty," said SCS Dean Randall E. Bryant. "He combines deep theoretical understanding with a spirit of creativity and serendipity, leading to important new ideas and insights. His election to the NAE recognizes the many ways his theoretical work has affected the engineering of computers and their applications.

" Pradeep Khosla's election to the NAE demonstrates the important role of robotics research and education in today's world," Bryant continued. "We are pleased to claim him as a member of the Robotics Institute."

"This outstanding recognition is a tribute to the technological savvy and pioneering, innovative spirit of Carnegie Mellon faculty," added Carnegie Mellon Senior Vice President and Provost Mark S. Kamlet. "Our faculty members are unmatched in their multidisciplinary approach to educating tomorrow's leaders, and in helping this country retain its global competitive edge."

Blum, Khosla and other new members of the National Academy of Engineering will be honored Oct. 15, 2006 at a gala celebration at the National Academies building in Washington, D.C.

Other Carnegie Mellon faculty who are members of the NAE include David H. Archer, Alfred Blumstein, Randal E. Bryant, Edmund M. Clarke, Robert F. Davis, Richard J. Fruehan, Ignacio Grossman, Angel Jordan, Takeo Kanade, Mark H. Kryder, Harold W. Paxton, Raj Reddy, Daniel P. Siewiorek, Herbert L. Toor, and Arthur W. Westerberg.

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