Jeannette Wing Named President's Professor In Carnegie Mellon's School of Computer Science

Byron SpiceMonday, July 12, 2004

PITTSBURGH-Jeannette M. Wing has been named President's Professor in Carnegie Mellon University's School of Computer Science (SCS), effective July 1. She succeeds SCS Dean Randal E. Bryant who held the chair from the time it was established in 1997 until being named a University Professor in April 2004.

The President's Chair was established by the university with proceeds from the sale of stock in Lycos,Inc., a company founded in 1995 by Michael "Fuzzy" Mauldin who developed the Lycos Internet search engine when he was a faculty member in the School of Computer Science Language Technologies Institute.

Wing, a professor of computer science and head of the school's Computer Science Department (CSD), is highly regarded for her outstanding contributions in research, teaching and administrative service. In recognition of her accomplishments, she recently was appointed co-chair of the National Academies' Computer Science and Telecommunications Board where she has a role as one of the primary spokespeople on policy related to information technology.

In research, Wing is recognized as an international leader in formal methods, the use of mathematical models and logics to specify and reason about computing systems. The common thread in her work is the use of precise specifications to describe the behavior of software. She uses these behavioral specifications to define correctness conditions for software design. By characterizing these correctness conditions, Wing, along with her collaborators, has made fundamental contributions to many areas of computer science, including abstract data types, object-oriented programming, concurrent systems and fault-tolerant distributed systems.

Since 2001, Wing has been director of Carnegie Mellon's Specification and Verification Center, which conducts research in new advances in formal methods and their applications to safety- and mission-critical systems.

More recently, her research interests have turned to security. She and her students extended model checking, a verification technique developed by her colleagues at Carnegie Mellon, to generate attack graphs automatically. Attack graphs succinctly represent all ways in which an attacker can break into a system, given a formal model of the system and its threats. Further automated analyses of these attack graphs help system administrators visualize tradeoffs when deploying different security measures.

Wing is the author or co-author of more than 80 refereed journal and conference papers and has presented more than 170 invited, conference and workshop talks. She has been or is on the editorial boards of seven scientific journals, including the Journal of the Association for Computing Machinery. She is a member of Microsoft's Trustworthy Computing Academic Advisory Board. She has been on advisory boards for the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency and the National Science Foundation. She is a member of Eta Kappa Nu, Tau Beta Pi, Sigma Xi and Phi Beta Kappa. She is a fellow of the ACM and the IEEE.

Wing has greatly enhanced the educational programs in SCS. One of her most influential contributions has been in the redesign of the master of software engineering program. In 1993, she and her colleagues spearheaded a radical curriculum revision, introducing five new core courses. These courses now reach students around the world from India to Korea to South Africa through SCS' extensive distance education program.

Administratively, Wing was SCS associate dean for academic affairs for five years, overseeing and standardizing the school's eight doctoral and 12 master's programs. She was the associate department head for the doctoral program in computer science for nine years. During that time, she made the curriculum more flexible, created an emigration course, and instituted speaking and writing skills requirements.

"Jeannette has been a source of energy and enthusiasm to our organization over the years," said Bryant. She has excelled as a researcher and a teacher, while taking on many demanding administrative roles. She also plays important leadership roles in the professional community, most recently as co-chair of the Computer Science and Telecommunications Board. I am pleased that we can recognize her hard work and achievements via the awarding of the President's Professorship."

A native of New York, Wing attended the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where she earned bachelors and master's degrees in electrical engineering and computer science in 1979 and a doctor's degree in computer science in 1983. She began her career as an assistant professor at the University of Southern California and then joined the Carnegie Mellon faculty as a professor in 1985. She has worked or consulted for AT&T Bell Laboratories, Xerox Palo Alto Research Laboratories, Digital Equipment Corp., USC/Information Sciences Institute, the Jet Propulsion Laboratory and Microsoft Corp.

A celebration honoring Wing as the new President's Professor of Computer Science will be held on September 8, 2004.

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Byron Spice | 412-268-9068 |