Carnegie Mellon University
February 16, 2012

NITRD Symposium Features Wing and Scherlis

Jeannette Wing, head of the Computer Science Department, and Bill Scherlis, director of the Institute for Software Research, are among the speakers Thursday at a day-long  symposium in Washington, D.C., celebrating two decades of achievements by the federal Networking and Information Technology Research and Development (NITRD) program.

The federal government has supported fundamental research in information technology since the dawn of the digital age, but multi-agency coordination of this investment began with the passage of the High-Performance Computing Act of 1991. The symposium, “The Impact of NITRD,” will explore the accomplishments and prospects of this coordinated effort.

The symposium at the Newseum is by invitation only but will be streamed live via the web. Former Vice President Al Gore, who spearheaded the 1991 legislation, will be the keynote speaker.

Wing’s talk, “A Day in the Life,” is scheduled from 8:45 to 9 a.m. Scherlis will speak on “Software and Strategy” as part of a module on Building Blocks of Information Technology from 1 to 2 p.m. That session also includes Vint Cerf of Google and Stefan Savage, a CMU alumnus who is a professor of computer science and engineering at the University of California, San Diego.

Savage will join in a panel discussion at 4:30 p.m. on “Big Ideas” for the future that includes former CSD Head Peter Lee, now at Microsoft Research.

Other symposium speakers with CMU ties include Kevin Knight, who earned his PhD in computer science at CMU and is now a senior research scientist at the University of Southern California’s Information Sciences Institute, and former CMU faculty member Sebastian Thrun, now at Stanford University and Google.