ACM, IEEE Computer Society Honor Programming Languages Researcher

ACM, IEEE Computer Society Honor Programming Languages Researcher

Ken Kennedy Award Recipient Mary Lou Soffa Developed Tools for Diagnosing Software Faults




ACM        IEEE Computer Society 
Virginia Gold       Margo McCall
212-626-0505       714-816-2182
[email protected]       [email protected]

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SALT LAKE CITY, October 16, 2012 – Mary Lou Soffa of the University of Virginia will receive the ACM-IEEE Computer Society Ken Kennedy Award for contributions to detecting and managing software security flaws.  She developed software tools for debugging and testing programs to eliminate or reduce false alarms and improve operating efficiency.  Her research produced automatic, practical solutions in software engineering, and systems and programming languages for improving software reliability, security and productivity. Soffa will receive the Kennedy award on November 13 in Salt Lake City at SC12, the international conference on high-performance computing.

A leading researcher in programming languages, 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. 

The Kennedy Award cited Soffa for "contributions to compiler technology and software engineering, exemplary service to the profession, and life-long dedication to mentoring and improving diversity in computing."  She is the Owen R. Cheatham Professor at the University of Virginia.

Soffa was elected an ACM Fellow in 1999, and received the Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics and Engineering Mentoring from the White House the same year.  In 2006, she received the Computing Research Association (CRA) Nico Habermann Award for contributions toward increasing the numbers and successes of underrepresented members in the computing research community.

She has held leadership roles in prominent national and international organizations, among them CRA and CRA-W, the committee on the status of women in computer science and engineering of CRA, and ACM Special Interest Groups on Software Engineering (SIGSOFT) and Programming Languages (SIGPLAN).  Soffa currently serves on the ACM Publications Board and was elected in 2008 and 2012 as a Member-at-Large of the ACM Council.  A highly regarded speaker, she has also published more than 150 papers in computing journals and conferences.

A graduate of the University of Pittsburgh with a B.S. degree in Mathematics, Soffa received an M.S. degree in Mathematics from Ohio State University before earning a Ph.D. degree in Computer Science from the University of Pittsburgh.  Before joining UVA, she was a professor and Graduate Dean in Arts and Sciences at Pitt.

ACM and the Computer Society 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.  The Kennedy Award carries a US $5,000 honorarium endowed by the ACM Special Interest Group on Computer Architecture (SIGARCH) and the Computer Society.


About ACM
ACM, the Association for Computing Machinery, unites 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.

About the IEEE Computer Society
The IEEE Computer Society, is one of the world's leading computing membership organizations and a trusted information and career-development source for a global workforce of technology leaders including: professors, researchers, software engineers, IT professionals, employers, and students. The IEEE Computer Society provides high-quality, state-of-the-art information on an on-demand basis. The Computer Society provides a wide range of forums for top minds to come together, including technical conferences, publications, a comprehensive digital library, unique training webinars, and professional training. IEEE is the world's largest professional association for advancement of technology and the Computer Society is the largest society within the IEEE.