Sep 17
Atlanta, GA

Richard Lipton, a professor and the Frederick G. Storey Chair in Computing in the School of Computer Science, added a second major award to his credentials this year as he was recently named the winner of the 2014 Knuth Prize for his contributions to the foundations of computer science.

In receiving the award, Lipton was cited for “inventing new computer science and mathematical techniques to tackle foundational and practical problems in a wide range of areas in graph algorithms, computation, communication, program testing, and DNA computing.”

The Knuth Prize is jointly presented by ACM’s Special Interest Group on Algorithms and Computation Theory (SIGACT) and the IEEE Computer Society Technical Committee on the Mathematical Foundations of Computing (TCMF). The award will be presented at the Foundations of Computer Science (FOCS) Conference in Philadelphia, PA, from Oct. 18 to 21, where Lipton will give the Knuth Prize Lecture.

Earlier this year, Lipton was elected to the 2014 class of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. With the Knuth Prize, Lipton joins a short list of extraordinary computer scientists.

“The Knuth Prize means a great deal,” Lipton said. “It is very exciting to be recognized by your peers for work that spans over 40 years. I feel very special and thankful to have been selected.” 

Lance Fortnow, chair of the School of Computer Science, offered his praise:

"Dick's work has had a major impact in quite diverse areas across theoretical computer science and has heavily influenced many researchers including myself. I can think of no one more deserving of this award."

In presenting the award, the selection committee cited:

  • Lipton’s development of the planar separator theorem. Working with Turing Award winner Robert Tarjan, Lipton created a “divide-and-conquer” approach to solving difficult network problems by breaking problems into two or more sub-problems of the same or related type.
  • Lipton’s pioneering work in the design of algorithms that make random choices in order to solve computational programs. He showed that when working with complex algebraic problems, it was sufficient to check a program by running it against randomly chosen but related inputs and comparing the results for consistency.
  • His development of a fundamental theorem in circuit complexity with Richard Karp, another Turing Award recipient. This demonstrated that NP-complete problems are unlikely to be solved by the best algorithms even with specialized hardware.
  • His status as an early developer of communication complexity, the study of the number of bits of communication needed for agents to solve computational tasks, and in DNA computing, which uses the combination and replication of the vast numbers of DNA strands that fit in a test tube as a basis for parallel computation.

The Knuth Prize is named in honor and recognition of Turing Award winner Donald Knuth, professor emeritus at Stanford University. Knuth is well-known for his ongoing multivolume series, The Art of Computer Programming, which played a critical role in establishing and defining computer science as a rigorous, intellectual discipline.

Lipton earned his undergraduate degree in mathematics from Case Western Reserve University and his Ph.D. from Carnegie Mellon University. He taught at Yale, the University of California in Berkeley and Princeton before joining the Georgia Tech faculty in 2000.

Lipton explores one of the most daunting puzzles in computation theory in his blog Gödel’s Lost Letter and P=NP and recently published his second book based on the blog, People, Problems, and Proofs: Essays from Gödel's Lost Letterwhich he co-authored with Kenneth W. Regan of the University of Buffalo.

Richard Lipton
Sep 03
Inside Higher Ed
Aug 13
Atlanta, GA

The Center for 21st Century Universities (C21U) has opened a new Studio/Innovation Lab located in the Klaus Advanced Computing Building.

The digitally enabled classroom and production studio is jointly managed by C21U and Georgia Tech Professional Education on behalf of the Provost. The space offers the ultimate studio experience for faculty and instructors producing MOOC content and experimenting with innovative educational approaches.

The lab allows instructors to experiment with new forms of blended or flipped classrooms. It also allows for interaction with an external group, and is ideal for presentations, interviewing remote experts, and bridging global classrooms.

“This facility is intended as an experimental laboratory for pedagogical innovation,” said Rich DeMillo, director of C21U. “If there are things you want to try as a Georgia Tech faculty member, come to us with your ideas and let's talk. We're looking for innovative things that can't be done in other classrooms.”

“One obvious example is to use the space for flipped classrooms. It will enable instructors to watch what students do in such an environment and allow for the possibility to capture a lot of learning data and relate them to pedagogy,” he added.

The Klaus studio works in tandem with the main production complex for interactive instructional media at the Georgia Tech Global Learning Center in Tech Square. While the studios are similarly outfitted with many shared features, each possesses its own unique menu of extra options.

The state of the art facility includes a highly connected classroom, control room, and broadcast quality studio, as well as a dedicated support team. At this time there is no cost for faculty to use the space.

Interested parties should email for more information on touring the space or to make a reservation for its use.


C21U Innovation Lab
Jul 30
Atlanta, GA

Join the staff of C21U in wishing Paul M.A. Baker good luck and continued success as he transitions into his new role as the Senior Director, Research and Strategic Innovation at Georgia Tech's Center for Advanced Communications Policy (CACP).

He will continue to serve as a contributing researcher for C21U.

Paul Baker
Jul 30
Atlanta, GA

Mike McCracken, C21U's emeritus director of Online Course Development and Innovation and Principal Research Scientist has retired after 30 years of service to Georgia Tech.

He was honored on campus by the many faculty and staff members he had worked with over the years.

Colorado University Spring Online Symposium 2014

Rich DeMillo, director of the Center for 21st Century Universities was the keynote speaker at the Colorado University (CU) Spring Online Symposium 2014 in Denver on May 22.
Regular people are using readily available tools and technology to make extraordinary things. DeMillo spoke to teachers, designers and technologists as they explore the Maker movement in the context of teaching online.


Apr 15

The physical implications of the digital transformation of higher education are becoming visible.

Mar 25
Atlanta, GA

Rich DeMillo, a former dean of the College of Computing, last week was named as the first Charlotte B. and Roger C. Warren Chair of Computing, the newest endowed chair for the College.

Alan Warren, vice president of engineering of Google and vice-chair of the College of Computing’s Advisory Board, announced the College’s newest endowed chair last year, naming it for his parents, Charlotte and Roger Warren. Last week, the Board of Regents formally approved both the establishment of this chair and DeMillo as its first holder. Warren is also a Georgia Tech alumnus, having earned a bachelor’s degree in physics and mathematics in 1978.

At the time he offered the endowment, Warren said Georgia Tech holds a special place for his family, particularly since his parents met here when Roger Warren was earning a chemical engineering degree and Charlotte Warren was a nursing student at the former Crawford Long Hospital.

"After being at Georgia Tech, you want to be able to give back," Warren told Georgia Tech's Campaign Quarterly last August. "The question is, at what time, and how to go about doing that. There were a lot of pieces that went into this being the right time and the right thing to do."

Last week, the final piece fell into place with the approval of DeMillo as the first chair. DeMillo’s long career of scholarship and leadership in computing includes a six-year tenure as the Imlay Dean of Computing from 2002 to 2008, as well as his current role as director of the Center for 21st Century Universities. He was also recently named as one of the first fellows of the Lumina Foundation, a private foundation focused on education.

“I am thrilled and honored to be the first to hold the Charlotte B. and Richard C. Warren Chair,” DeMillo said. “Alan Warren has been an important guiding voice in the College and a source of wisdom and support for me when I was dean. So holding the chair that bears the names of his parents has special meaning for me personally.”

“I want to both congratulate Rich for this well-deserved honor and to Alan Warren for his generosity in endowing this chair,” said Zvi Galil, the current Imlay Dean of Computing. “It’s especially appropriate for Rich to be the first Warren Chair since he recruited Alan to our Advisory Board. I look forward to creating more endowed chairs so we can appropriately recognize our most accomplished senior faculty.”  

Rich DeMillo
Oct 08
Atlanta, GA

Lumina Foundation recently appointed Distinguished Professor Rich DeMillo, director of the Center for 21st Century Universities (C21U) at Georgia Tech, as one of its inaugural Lumina Fellows.  Lumina Foundation is an independent, private foundation committed to designing and building a more accessible, responsive and accountable higher education system.

As one of four Lumina Fellows, DeMillo will help the foundation achieve some of the objectives outlined in its 2013 to 2016 Strategic Plan. Specifically, they will focus on the foundation’s Goal 2025: to increase the proportion of Americans with high-quality college degrees, certificates and credentials to 60 percent by 2025.

“It's a great honor to be selected by Lumina for this important role,” DeMillo said. “Reaching Lumina's 2025 goal is a challenge for all of us in higher education, and it will take innovation on a large scale to be successful. I look at my role as painting futures for colleges and universities. The alternative is to be left behind as the rest of society figures out how to meet the challenge.”

As a former dean of the College of Computing at Georgia Tech, DeMillo founded C21U in 2011 and continues to direct this “living laboratory” for fundamental change in higher education. Also as chair of the Provost’s Council for Educational Technology, DeMillo is responsible for educational technology innovation on the Georgia Tech campus. He is a frequent speaker on higher education and the author of Abelard to Apple: The Fate of American Colleges and Universities, published in 2011 by MIT Press.

DeMillo joins three other thought leaders as the first group of Lumina Fellows for an initial two-year appointment. Together the fellows will, through various forms of public communication, enrich the conversations about college attainment and provide recommendations for policy makers, higher education and business leaders and other important stakeholders to help the ability for the United States to dramatically increase college attainment levels.

The other fellows include:

“Mobilizing a broad cross section of society is critical if we are to reach Goal 2025,” said Jamie Merisotis, president and CEO of Lumina Foundation. “The four Lumina Fellows represent a variety of talents and backgrounds, which will help us address the challenges in system redesign and in rethinking policy to dramatically increase education attainment in the United States—the only acceptable outcome if the country is to maintain a competitive workforce and a healthy democracy.”


Lumina Foundation Announcement

Rich DeMillo
Sep 17
University System of Georgia website
Sep 05
Atlanta, GA

The College of Computing Threads curriculum for undergraduate computer science majors was recognized this month as one of the most effective courses of study throughout the entire University System of Georgia, as the Board of Regents honored the College with its 2014 Teaching Excellence Award for Departments and Programs.

“We received several outstanding nomination portfolios this year, and each portfolio was thoroughly reviewed by a panel of faculty and administrators from across the University System,” wrote Houston Davis, executive vice chancellor and chief academic officer, in a letter announcing the award. “When the review committee met to discuss the nominations and finalize their recommendations, they voted unanimously to recommend this department as one of this year’s winners.

The College of Computing adopted the Threads curriculum in Fall 2006. In a traditional course of study, students can be forced into a one-size-fits-all experience with little room for specialization and application of their studies toward real-world situations. Through Threads, students experience a cohesive, coordinated set of contexts for understanding computing skills thereby spending their entire four years of study engrossed in real-world computing.

“Our faculty adopted Threads to more accurately and effectively reflect what our students will experience in the actual world of today,” said Charles Isbell, senior associate dean for the College. “We are humbled by the receipt of this prestigious award from the Board of Regents recognizing the leadership role the College has played and continues to play in computing education. Our students also share in this award, as they have been the ones to validate through their success the value of Threads in preparing them for computing careers.”

Aug 17
New York Times

Zvi Galil, dean of the College of Computing, discusses the Institute's new master’s degree in computer science, which is offered entirely through massive open online courses (MOOCs).