Charles E. Leiserson has been named recipient of the IEEE Computer Society's 2014 Taylor L. Booth Award for his contributions to computer science education.
Noted for coauthoring the textbook “Introduction to Algorithms,” one of computer science’s most cited publications, Prof. Leiserson is recognized by the IEEE Computer Society “for worldwide computer science education impact through writing a best-selling algorithms textbook and developing courses on algorithms and parallel programming.”
A member of the MIT Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science faculty since 1981, Prof. Leiserson created undergraduate courses on algorithms and discrete mathematics as well as an undergraduate class on software performance engineering (6.172) which teaches parallel programming, one of several techniques aimed at writing fast code. In recognition of his contributions to undergraduate teaching, Leiserson was selected as a MacVicar Faculty Fellow in 2007, MIT’s highest recognition for undergraduate teaching. Prof. Leiserson has graduated over two dozen doctoral students and supervised more than 60 master’s and bachelor’s theses.
Since 2002, Prof. Leiserson has developed and led numerous workshops for faculty and students in understanding nontechnical human issues in technical teams in academia. These efforts include the annual workshop available to faculty worldwide known as Leadership Skills for Engineering and Science Faculty and the founding of MIT’s Undergraduate Practice Opportunities Program (UPOP). He was for many years the head of the computer-science program for the Singapore-MIT Alliance, one of the first distance-education collaborations, which produced popular video lectures of his undergraduate course on algorithms.
A principal investigator in the Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL), Prof. Leiserson and his research group, The Supertech Research Group, investigates the technologies that support scalable high-performance computing including hardware, software and theory as related to engineering reality. A graduate of Carnegie Mellon (1981), Leiserson was recognized with the first ACM Doctoral Dissertation Award, as well as the Fannie and John Hertz Foundation’s Doctoral Thesis Award for his PhD thesis titled "Area-Efficient VLSI Computation".
Prof. Leiserson coauthored the first paper on systolic architectures, a specialized form of parallel computing and invented the retiming method of digital-circuit optimization. On leave from MIT at Thinking Machines Corporation, he designed and led the implementation of the network architecture for the Connection Machine Model CM-5 Supercomputer, which incorporated the fat-tree interconnection network he developed at MIT. He introduced the notion of cache-oblivious algorithms and developed the Cilk multithreaded programming technology. His development of several Cilk-based parallel chess-playing programs resulted in numerous prizes in international chess competitions. On leave from MIT as Director of System Architecture at Akamai Technologies, Prof. Leiserson led the engineering team that developed a worldwide content-distribution network numbering over 20,000 servers.
The Taylor L. Booth award will be presented to Prof. Leiserson in early June at the IEEE Computer Society’s Board of Governors meeting in Seattle.