ACM Elects New Leaders Committed to International Initiatives

ACM Elects New Leaders Committed to International Initiatives

Computing Society Officers Pledge to Expand International Programs and Increase Diversity

The Association for Computing Machinery
Advancing Computing as a Science & Profession

Contact: Virginia Gold


NEW YORK, June 3, 2008 – The Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) today announced the election of Wendy Hall as president for a two-year term beginning July 1, 2008. Hall, professor of computer science at the University of Southampton, UK, said her goal as president is to help ACM reach its full potential by expanding international initiatives and increasing gender diversity in all aspects of computing. Also elected to two-year terms were Vice President Alain Chesnais, chief technical officer for, and Secretary-Treasurer Barbara Ryder, who was recently named Head of the Department of Computer Science in the College of Engineering at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, VA as of September 2008.

The election of officers by ACM's worldwide membership of nearly 90,000 computing professionals and students marks six years of increasing involvement in initiatives aimed at ensuring the health of the computing discipline and the profession. Over the past two years, ACM's leaders opened an ACM office in Beijing, China to extend ACM's worldwide relationships, and established the Education Policy Committee, charged with improving opportunities for quality education in computing and computer science. They also launched a project with the WGBH Educational Foundation, the public broadcasting station in Boston, to enhance the image of computer science among high school students in the U.S., with a focus on Latina girls and African-American boys.

As a Past President of the British Computer Society from 2003-2004, and a researcher with many international connections, Hall expressed her commitment to guiding ACM toward more initiatives in India and China. She also indicated her interest in rethinking the society’s relationship with Europe, and exploring relevant opportunities in South America and other parts of the world. Her current research includes applications of the Semantic Web and exploring the interface between the life sciences and the physical sciences. She is a Founding Director, along with Professor Sir Tim Berners-Lee, Professor Nigel Shadbolt and Daniel J. Weitzner, of the Web Science Research Initiative, which was launched in 2006 as a long-term research collaboration between the University of Southampton and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Hall is a member of the UK Prime Minister's Council for Science and Technology and a founding member of the Scientific Council of the European Research Council. An active member of the Special Interest Group on Hypertext, Hypermedia, and Web (SIGWEB) as well as the Special Interest Group on Multimedia (SIGMM), she chaired WWW2006, the World Wide Web conference, which was co-sponsored by ACM. She previously served as ACM vice president.

Hall is currently Senior Vice President of the Royal Academy of Engineering in London, where she is also a Fellow. Her other honors include Fellow of the British Computer Society and of the UK's Institution of Engineering and Technology, and the Anita Borg Award for Technical Leadership from the Anita Borg Institute for Women and Technology. She was awarded a CBE (Commander of the British Empire) in the 2000 Queen's Honours List, and is the first person from outside North America to serve as ACM President in the association's 60-year history.

Alain Chesnais, ACM's new vice president, has targeted the international arena as a key challenge for ACM, and is committed to helping ACM expand its role as an international organization. He also advocates the expansion of ACM's online presence to better serve the needs of young researchers and practitioners. Chesnais, a French citizen now residing in Canada, he has more than 20 years of management experience in the software industry, with a recent focus on 3D social media. He served as director of engineering at Alias|wavefront on the team that received a technical award from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for developing the Maya 3D software package. He served as ACM secretary/treasurer from July 2006 – June 2008, ACM SIGGRAPH president from July 2002 – June 2005, and SIG Governing Board Chair from July 2000 – June 2002.

ACM's new secretary/treasurer Barbara Ryder hailed initial efforts at internationalization of ACM with India and China, and said they must be strengthened and widened to include Russia and Eastern Europe as well as South Asia. She also advocated additional support for the Special Interest Groups and more meetings outside of North America with sister societies. Ryder chaired the Federated Computing Research Conference in 2003, and ACM’s Special Interest Group on Programming Languages (SIGPLAN). She was made a Fellow of ACM in 1998 for her seminal contributions to interprocedural compile-time analysis. The first woman to serve as a department head in the nationally ranked College of Engineering at Virginia Tech, Ryder was previously a professor of computer science at Rutgers University.

Other Officers include Members-at-Large elected to four-year terms. They are:

  • Carlo Ghezzi, Chair of Software Engineering, Politecnico di Milano, Milan, Italy, a Fellow of ACM and a member of the Italian Academy of Sciences. He is committed to spreading computing science and education in all parts of the world, and favors policies that support worldwide knowledge sharing and scientific cooperation.
  • Anthony Joseph, Chancellor's Associate Professor at the University of California, Berkeley, and the recipient of a National Science foundation CAREER Award. His vision is to explore ways to expand distance learning for undergraduate courses and continuing education around the world, and to identify opportunities for using K-12 outreach to increase computer science undergraduates, especially women and minorities.
  • Mathai Joseph, Advisor for Tata Consultancy Services in Pune, India, and a founder of several successful international conferences to promote computer science research in India. His objective is for ACM to play a role in creating links between the best in computer science worldwide, and education and research in India.
  • Kelly Lyons, Associate Professor in Information Studies at the University of Toronto, Canada, who previously headed the IBM Toronto Center for Advanced Studies, overseeing more than 60 collaborative projects with university researchers. She is committed to contributing to ACM's efforts to enhance the image of the computer scientist and ensure a robust educational pipeline for young people, particularly girls.
  • Mary Lou Soffa, Chair of the Computer Sciences Department at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, VA, an ACM Fellow. She received the Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics and Engineering Mentoring, and served as chair of ACM's Special Interest Group on Programming Languages (SIGPLAN). She advocates efforts to provide services to practitioner members and students, and to improve the diversity of the computing community.

About ACM

ACM, the Association for Computing Machinery, is the world's largest educational and scientific computing society, uniting computing educators, researchers and professionals to inspire dialogue, share resources and address the field’s challenges. ACM strengthens the computing profession’s collective voice through strong leadership, promotion of the highest standards, and recognition of technical excellence. ACM supports the professional growth of its members by providing opportunities for life-long learning, career development, and professional networking.