July 18, 2001
Colloquium Speaker: William A. Wulf
Dr. William A. Wulf is on leave from the University of Virginia to serve as President of the National Academy of Engineering. Together with the National Academy of Sciences, the NAE provides advice to the government on issues of science and technology mainly through the National Research Council, where Dr. Wulf serves as Vice Chair. At U.VA, Dr. Wulf is a University Professor and holds the AT&T Chair in Engineering and Applied Science. In 1988-90, Dr. Wulf was Assistant Director of the National Science Foundation (NSF) where he headed the Directorate for Computer and Information Science and Engineering (CISE) and was deeply involved in the development of the High Performance Computing and Communication Initiative and in the formative discussions of the proper government role in developing the National Information Infrastructure. Prior to joining U.VA, Dr. Wulf founded Tartan Laboratories, serving as its Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, and before returning to academe, he grew it to about a hundred employees. Tartan developed and markets optimizing compilers programs that translate high-level languages such as FORTRAN or C into highly efficient computer codes. Tartan was recently sold to Texas Instruments. The technical bases for Tartan was research by Dr. Wulf while he was a Professor of Computer Science at Carnegie-Mellon University. His research spanned programming systems and computer architecture; specific activities included: the design and implementation of a systems-implementation language (Bliss), architectural design of the DEC PDP-11, the design and construction of a 16 processor multiprocessor and its operating system, a new approach to computer security, and development of a technology for the construction of high quality optimizing compilers. Dr. Wulf also actively participated in the development of Ada, the common DOD programming language for embedded computer applications. While at Carnegie-Mellon and Tartan, Dr. Wulf helped found the Pittsburgh High Technology Council and served as Vice President and Director from its creation. He also helped found the CEO Network, the CEO Venture Fund, and served as an advisor to the Western Pennsylvania Advanced Technology Center. In 1983 he was awarded the Enterprise "Man of the Year" Award for his activities. Dr. Wulf has been a consultant to numerous computing and telecommunications companies. This consulting, together with the experience in his own company and at NSF, has given him a rare opportunity to develop a perspective on the relation between universities, industry and government. Dr. Wulf is a member of the NAE, and a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He is also a Fellow of ACM, IEEE, and AAAS. He has authored over 80 papers and technical reports, has written three books, holds one US patent, and has supervised over 25 PhD's in Computer Science.
It's almost trite to comment on the profound ways that science and engineering are transforming our lives. So trite, in fact, that I have begun to worry that we are ignoring some of the most profound changes on the horizon changes that, perhaps, the technical community is better equipped than others to anticipate. Using examples from Information Technology, this talk will try to illustrate some of the changes that we ought to be thinking about and preparing for.