ACM and IEEE-CS co-sponsor the Kennedy Award, which was established in 2009 to recognize substantial contributions to programmability and productivity in computing and significant community service or mentoring contributions. It was named for the late Ken Kennedy, founder of Rice University’s computer science program and a world expert on high performance computing.
Learn more about Kennedy Award and nominations process
Winner of the 2015 Award: Katherine Yelick, University of California at Berkeley and Lawrence Berkely National Laboratory
Yelick was Director of the National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center (NERSC) from 2008 to 2012 and currently leads the Computing Sciences Area at Berkeley Lab, which includes the NERSC supercomputing center, the Energy Sciences Network (ESnet) and a research division of scientists and engineers in applied math, computer science, data science and computational science. She earned her Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science from MIT and has been a professor at UC Berkeley since 1991 with a joint research appointment at Berkeley Lab since 1996.
Yelick is an ACM Fellow and recent recipient of the ACM-W Athena award. She is a member of the National Academies Computer Science and Telecommunications Board (CSTB), and previously served on the California Council on Science and Technology and the LLNS/LANS Science and Technology Committee overseeing research at Los Alamos and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratories.
The coauthor of “Introduction to Algorithms,” one of computer science’s most cited publications, Leiserson is also the creator of MIT undergraduate courses on algorithms and on discrete mathematics for computer science. He headed the computer science program for the pioneering Singapore-MIT Alliance distanceeducation program and developed MIT’s undergraduate class on software performance engineering, which teaches parallel programming as one of several techniques for writing fast code. Leiserson’s annual workshop on Leadership Skills for Engineering and Science Faculty has educated hundreds of faculty at MIT and around the world in the human issues involved in leading technical teams in academia. He was the founding Workshop Chair for the MIT Undergraduate Practice Opportunities Program (UPOP), which teaches MIT Engineering sophomores how leadership skills can leverage their technical skills in professional environments. He is a Margaret MacVicar Faculty Fellow at MIT, the highest recognition at MIT for undergraduate teaching.
Leiserson’s research centers on the theory of parallel computing, especially as it relates to engineering reality. His PhD thesis, “Area-Efficient VLSI Computation,” won the 1982 ACM Doctoral Dissertation Award, as well as the Fannie and John Hertz Foundation’s Doctoral Thesis Award. A coauthor of the first paper on systolic architectures, Leiserson invented the retiming method of digitalcircuit optimization, and developed the algorithmic theory behind it. On leave from MIT at Thinking Machines Corp., 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.
As Director of System Architecture at Akamai Technologies, he led the engineering team that developed a worldwide content distribution network numbering over 20,000 servers. He also founded Cilk Arts Inc., which produced the Cilk++ multicore concurrency platform and was acquired by Intel in 2009. Leiserson joined the MIT faculty in 1981, where he heads the Supertech research group in MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory. He received a BS degree from Yale University and a Ph.D. degree from Carnegie Mellon University. He is an ACM Fellow, a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), and a Senior Member of IEEE and the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics (SIAM).
Earlier this year, he was recognized with an IEEE Computer Society Taylor L. Booth Education Award for his contributions to computer science education. He is also a co-recipient of the 2013 ACM Paris Kanellakis Theory and Practice Award for contributions to efficient and robust parallel and distributed computing.
In addition to his role as a Distinguished Professor at the University of Tennessee, Dongarra is a Senior Research Staff Scientist at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, a Turing Fellow at the University of Manchester, and an Adjunct Professor at Rice University. He is also the Director of the Innovative Computing Laboratory and the Center for Information Technology Research at the University of Tennessee.
As well as being an elected an ACM Fellow in 2001, Dongarra is also an AAAS, IEEE, and SIAM Fellow, and a member of the National Academy of Engineering. In addition, he received the IEEE Sidney Fernbach Award in 2004 for his innovations in HPC; the IEEE Medal of Excellence in Scalable Computing in 2008; the SIAM Special Interest Group on Supercomputing award for his career achievements in 2010; and the IEEE IPDPS Charles Babbage Award in 2011.
After receiving a bachelor’s in Mathematics from Chicago University in 1972, Dongarra pursued a master’s in Computer Science from the Illinois Institute of Technology in 1973. Dongarra received his Ph.D. in Applied Mathematics from the University of New Mexico in 1980.
A leading researcher in programming languages, Dr. Soffa provided analytical and experimental models for understanding, predicting, and verifying the optimization of software. In her recent work, she developed a unifying framework for optimizations which included code, optimization, and resources models. Her model-based strategies enabled optimizing compilers to produce higher-quality code, and to employ different paradigms than those previously in use.
2011: Susan L. Graham (University of California, Berkeley): For foundational compilation algorithms and programming tools; research and discipline leadership; and exceptional mentoring
2010: David Kuck (University of Illinois Urbana/Champaign): For pioneering contributions to compiler technology and parallel computing, the profound impact of his research on industry, and the widespread and long-lasting influence of his teaching and mentoring.
2009: Francine Berman (University of California, San Diego): For influential leadership in the design, development and deployment of national-scale cyberinfrastructure, inspiring work as a teacher and mentor, and exemplary service to the HPC community.