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Carnegie Mellon Names Randal E. Bryant as New Dean of Its Top-Ranked School of Computer Science

BY Byron Spice - Tue, 2004-03-16 12:00  Printer-friendly version

PITTSBURGH---Randal E. Bryant, the Robert Mehrabian Professor ofComputer Science and head of the Computer Science Department in CarnegieMellon University's School of Computer Science (SCS), has been nameddean of the college, effective April 1.

He succeeds James H. Morris, who will step down as dean to pursue otherduties at the university, including greater involvement in CarnegieMellon's West Coast Campus. Morris had served as dean of SCS since1999.

Bryant has been a member of the SCS faculty since 1984. He has achievedwide recognition in academia and industry for developing computer-aideddesign tools that simulate and verify digital circuits, and for hisresearch in symbolic manipulation and parallel computation.

Last year Bryant was elected to the National Academy of Engineering forpioneering new abstractions for logic circuit simulation, especially theswitch-level model for transistor circuits.

``Randy Bryant is the quintessential computer science professor,'' saidCarnegie Mellon President Jared L. Cohon. ``He has done outstandingresearch that many companies depend upon to verify the basic soundnessof their computer systems. He is also known for excellence in teachingand for creating exciting new courses of study for undergraduatestudents in computer science. He has been an outstanding department headand he will be a great dean.''

In research Bryant is best known for developing switch-level chipsimulation and ordered binary decision diagrams (BDDs). The MOSSIMsimulator was the first tool that could efficiently model the logicalbehavior of very large-scale integrated (VLSI) circuits. IntelCorp. used the program for more than a decade in developing severalgenerations of their microprocessors. Versions of the COSMOS simulator,which Bryant developed to succeed MOSSIM, are still being used at Inteland other companies.

Binary decision diagrams are a tool that has enabled breakthroughs inthe formal verification of hardware and software systems, including thewidely acclaimed symbolic model checking, developed at Carnegie Mellonby graduate student Ken McMillan and his advisor, Edmund Clarke.

Bryant is also co-author of a best-selling textbook which, for the firsttime, offers a core text that provides an integrated view of thehardware, software and networks that underlie computer systems. Thebook, ``Computer Systems: A Programmer's Perspective,'' written inconjunction with SCS colleague David O'Hallaron, was published in 2002by Prentice Hall. To date, more than 63 colleges and universities in theU.S. and another 15 abroad are using the book in their basic computercurricula.

Bryant earned a bachelor's degree in applied mathematics from theUniversity of Michigan in 1973. He received a doctor's degree inelectrical engineering and computer science from the MassachusettsInstitute of Technology in 1981. He spent three years as an assistantprofessor of computer science at the California Institute of Technologybefore coming to Carnegie Mellon as an assistant professor in1984. Bryant became an associate professor of computer science in 1987and a full professor in 1990. He was named head of the Computer ScienceDepartment in 1999. He also holds a courtesy position in CarnegieMellon's Electrical and Computer Engineering Department.

Bryant is a Fellow of the Institute of Electrical and ElectronicsEngineers (IEEE) and the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM). Hehas received several awards from the Semiconductor Research Corp.,including inventor recognition awards in 1989 and 1990, plus a technicalexcellence award shared with Carnegie Mellon colleagues in 1996.

He is also a co-recipient of ACM's Kanellakis Theory and PracticeAward for his contributions to the development of symbolic modelchecking. The Kanellakis award recognizes theoretical work in computerscience that ultimately has an impact on the commercial world. He hasreceived a number of best paper awards, including the 1989 IEEE BakerPrize, awarded to the single best paper among the thousands publishedeach year across the entire IEEE. He received Carnegie Mellon's NewellMedal for Research Excellence in 1998.

During his career Bryant has consulted for numerous companies, includingHewlett-Packard Corp., IBM and Fujitsu. He also serves on the technicaladvisory boards of several companies.

Bryant is an avid athlete. Over the years, he has competed as a runner,speed skater, rower and triathlete. Most recently he has been rowing onPittsburgh's rivers. As a member of the Steel City Rowing Club, he hascompeted three times in the ``Head of the Ohio.''

Bryant also serves on the board of the Bellefield Presbyterian Churchin Pittsburgh, where Janice Bryant, his wife of 21 years, works asdirector of Children's Ministries. The couple has three children: ason Jacob, 19, a student at Harvard University; and two daughters,Claire, 17, a student at the International Baccalaureate program atSchenley High School in Pittsburgh, and Elizabeth, 11, a fifth grader atthe Pittsburgh Urban Christian School in Wilkinsburg, PA.

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