Giving Back: Daniel and Karon Siewiorek

By Mark Dorgan

Daniel Siewiorek has witnessed much in his time at Carnegie Mellon. A graduate of the University of Michigan and Stanford University, Dan worked with pioneers in both artificial intelligence (Allen Newell, Herb Simon, Raj Reddy) and computer architecture (Gordon Bell) who provided him with a unique and broad perspective on those fields.

"From my first encounters, it was clear to me that CMU was a very special culture--multidisciplinary, cooperative, and they built systems that made a difference--all guided by 'the reasonable person principle'--an ideal, nurturing, 'can-do' environment to grow into a mature researcher," says Dan, CMU's Buhl University Professor of Computer Science and Electrical and Computer Engineering.

Dan epitomizes the interdisciplinary approach for which the university is noted, and over a span of four decades at CMU has been involved in leading teams that have designed and constructed over 20 mobile computing systems. Among his seminal contributions was work on the Cm* project that culminated in an operational 50-processor multiprocessor system. He is also a key contributor to the dependability design of more than two-dozen commercial computing systems. Most recently, he served as head of the Human-Computer Interaction Institute in the School of Computer Science.

Dan has encountered many "once in a lifetime opportunities" including working at Digital Equipment Corporation for more than a decade on their new products and creating new research systems from those designs. As the Gates Center for Computer Science was being built, he and his wife Karon recognized the significance and importance the building marked in the history of SCS. "We believe it is important to give back to provide resources for CMU to continue it's mission," Dan says. "CMU has been very efficient at leveraging these resources multiple times over."

He and Karon made a gift to support the Siewiorek-Walker Classroom on the fifth floor of the Gates Center. Dan noted that contributing to the Gates Hillman Complex was an opportunity to help continue that special culture that is CMU.

"Our parents understood the importance of education and gave us opportunities they themselves never had," Dan says. "We chose to support a classroom to honor their commitment to us. In addition we have known the joy of working with students and thriving by sharing in their enthusiasm. We picked the classroom adjacent to the Pausch Bridge to commemorate CMU's multi-disciplinary culture."

Dan and Karon's gifts were made as part of Carnegie Mellon's "Inspire Innovation" campaign, which has raised nearly $688 million as of Jan. 1. To find how you can help the School of Computer Science through scholarships, fellowships, faculty support or gifts toward the Gates and Hillman Centers, please contact me at or call me at 412-268-8576. You can also learn more about the Inspire Innovation campaign by visiting
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Jason Togyer | 412-268-8721 |