Barbara H. Liskov, the Associate Provost for Faculty Equity and Ford Professor of Engineering in the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science and member of the Computer Science and Artifical Intelligence Lab, was named today, July 1, 2008, an Institute Professor, the highest honor awarded by MIT's faculty and administration.
"Barbara is revered in the MIT community for her role as scholar, mentor and leader," President Susan Hockfield stated for the MIT News Office. "Her pioneering research has made her one of the world's leading authorities on computer language and system design. In addition to her seminal scholarly contributions, Barbara has served MIT with great wisdom and judgment in several administrative roles, most recently as Associate Provost for Faculty Equity."
Institute Professorships are reserved for those few individuals who have "demonstrated exceptional distinction by a combination of leadership, accomplishment and service in the scholarly, educational and general intellectual life of the Institute or wider academic community," according to MIT's Policies and Procedures manual. In addition to the 12 other current Institute Professors, including Thomas Magnanti and Joel Moses in EECS, there are an additional ten emeritus professors with this distinction including EECS Professor Emeritus Mildred S. Dresselhaus.
As an indication of the widespread support for Liskov's nomination to this post, Bishwapriya Sanyal, the Chair of the Faculty, reported to the MIT News Office: "I was very impressed with the letters of support for her from across the Institute, including from all five schools. People who nominated her included faculty from all levels, deans, past presidents, department heads and lab directors just to name a few." He also praised her as a role model to younger faculty.
Provost L. Rafael Reif said, "We all respect her ability to find elegant solutions to the most complex problems, whether in the classroom, in the lab or in her committee work."
Reif also described for the MIT News Office her inspirational role as an educator: "Barbara has taught countless undergraduates and graduate students who have gone on to help lead top universities, research labs and IT companies. As a computer scientist, she has made a tremendous impact not only through her groundbreaking research, but through the legions of those she has taught along the way."
Liskov is a member of the National Academy of Engineering, and a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the Association for Computer Machinery (ACM). She received the Society of Women Engineers' Achievement Award in 1996 and the IEEE John von Neumann medal in 2004. She received the ACM SIGPLAN Programming Languages Achievement Award in 2008, where she was cited for having "changed the way that a generation of engineers thought about and constructed large software systems." Liskov was singled out by Discover magazine as one of the 50 most important women in science.
Read more about Barbara Liskov's accomplishments and this new distinction in the July 1, 2008 MIT News Office article.