Rob Miller named Distinguished Professor in Computer Science

Friday, March 23, 2018 - 12:00pm

Professor Rob Miller

EECS Staff


Rob Miller has been appointed as the inaugural Distinguished Professor in Computer Science, EECS department head Asu Ozdaglar has announced.

"This newly endowed chair was established to recognize faculty with a strong interest in K-12 education and its relation to teaching and research in computer science education," Ozdaglar says. "The appointment recognizes Professor Miller’s leadership in the area of computer science education and research as well as his outstanding mentorship and educational contributions."

Miller is internationally well-known in the field of human-computer interaction (HCI), in which he has pioneered techniques for intelligent text editing using many cursors at once, developed new approaches for end-user scripting of web pages and desktop graphical interfaces, and made seminal contributions in crowdsourcing, particularly in orchestrating small contributions from many people to solve a complex problem.

His work on crowdsourcing and HCI has found new applications in computer science education, where organizing small contributions from a crowd of students can turn the size of a massive online or residential course into a virtue rather than a curse. Much of his group’s current work focuses on tools and techniques for teaching large programming courses, including clustering and visualizing many solutions to the same problem in order to identify common mistakes, find unusual but good solutions, and speed up grading.

Miller also makes substantial contributions to the Institute’s educational mission, Ozdaglar says. He has created or co-created three courses in software design: Software Construction (originally 6.005 (now 6.031); User Interface Design and Implementation (6.813); and Principles and Practice of Assistive Technology (6.811). He has also deployed 6.005 onto MITx, where it formed two modules of the Foundations of Computer Science XSeries. For his teaching contributions, he has received the Louis D. Smullin (’39) Award for Teaching Excellence, the Burgess (’52) & Elizabeth Jamieson Award for Excellence in Teaching, the MacVicar Faculty Fellowship, and the Teaching with Digital Technology Award.

As EECS education co-officer, Miller created a predictive model of student registration that helps distribute more than 200 teaching assistants (TAs) fairly across the department’s courses as well as a calendar tool that allows for better coordination of quizzes and deadlines between large courses.