Blum, Forlizzi Named ACM Fellows

Byron SpiceWednesday, January 13, 2021

Faculty members Manuel Blum and Jodi Forlizzi have been named 2020 fellows by the Association for Computing Machinery.

School of Computer Science faculty members Manuel Blum and Jodi Forlizzi are among 95 distinguished computer scientists named 2020 fellows by the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM).

The ACM Fellows program recognizes the top 1% of the association's membership for outstanding accomplishments in computing and information technology and/or outstanding service to ACM and the larger computing community.

Blum, University Professor Emeritus in the Computer Science Department (CSD), was recognized "for contributions to the foundations of computational complexity theory and its application to cryptography and program checking." That's the same citation that the ACM used in 1995, when it awarded Blum its highest honor, the A.M. Turing Award.

Blum developed methods for measuring the intrinsic complexity of problems, and his Speedup theorem is an important proposition about complexity of computable functions. Much of his research focused on finding positive, practical aspects of the fact that all computational devices are resource-bounded. That work produced such innovations as pseudo-random number generation and the development of CAPTCHAs for detecting online bots. Most recently, he and his wife, Lenore Blum, have explored architectures that might demonstrate machine consciousness.

Forlizzi, the Geschke Director of the Human-Computer Interaction Institute, was recognized "for contributions to design research in human-computer interaction." A faculty member since 2000, Forlizzi has studied designing and analyzing systems ranging from peripheral displays to social and assistive robots. Her work has included designing educational games that are engaging and effective, designing services that adapt to people's needs, and designing for healthcare.

"This year our task in selecting the 2020 fellows was a little more challenging, as we had a record number of nominations from around the world," said ACM President Gabriele Kotsis. The contributions of this class run the gamut of the computing field, including algorithms, networks, computer architecture, robotics, distributed systems, software development, wireless systems and web science.

"These men and women have made pivotal contributions to technologies that are transforming whole industries, as well as our personal lives," she added.

Other fellows named this year include five CSD alumni. Peter Stone, the David Bruton Jr. Centennial Professor of Computer Science at the University of Texas at Austin, was recognized "for contributions to automated planning, learning, and multiagent systems with applications in robotics and ecommerce." Sven Koenig, professor of computer science at the University of Southern California, was recognized "for contributions to artificial intelligence, including heuristic search and multiagent coordination." David Maltz, distinguished engineer at Microsoft, was recognized "for contributions to networking infrastructure, including data center networking, network operating systems and cloud networking." Andrew Tomkins, engineering director at Google, was recognized "for contributions to face recognition, computer vision and multimodal interaction." And Sanjit Arunkumar Seshia, professor of electrical engineering and computer science at the University of California, Berkeley, was cited "for contributions to formal verification, inductive synthesis and cyber-physical systems."

Dieter Fox, a former post-doctoral researcher in the Robotics Institute now starting a robotics research lab for Nvidia, was recognized "for contributions to probabilistic state estimation, RGB-D perception, and learning for robotics and computer vision."

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