Celebrating Those Who Advance Computing as a Science and Profession

World’s Largest Computing Association Honors Four Outstanding Individuals for Their Service to the Community

New York, NY, May 17, 2023 – ACM, the Association for Computing Machinery, today recognized four individuals with awards for their exemplary service to the computing field. Working in diverse areas, the 2022 award recipients were selected by their peers for initiatives that have expanded ACM’s mission of “Advancing Computing as a Science and Profession.” More importantly, in a field where individual efforts yield monetary rewards, this year’s ACM awardees are largely being recognized for selfless volunteer contributions. The four recipients helped the field with efforts such as authoring an influential textbook on computer programming, founding an organization within ACM dedicated to multimedia, taking a leading role in ACM’s publications program, and bringing an innovative computer science education program to an underserved region of Africa.

Michael E. Caspersen, Managing Director of It-vest and Honorary Professor, Aarhus University, receives the Karl V. Karlstrom Outstanding Educator Award for his contributions to computer science education research, his policy work at the national and international levels to advance the teaching of informatics for all, and his outstanding service to the computing education community.

Caspersen has authored almost 70 papers on computer science education. He is also co-author of a two-volume textbook on programming, and co-editor of Reflections on the Teaching of Programming—published by Springer-Verlag in 2008—which is a novel and innovative collection of contributions that address all aspects of teaching programming.

Since 2008, Caspersen has been heavily involved in the development of the new informatics subjects for Danish high schools and associated teacher education. By personal invitation of the Minister of Education he has served in pivotal roles as chair and co-chair of groups developing an informatics curriculum for primary and lower secondary education.

He is co-founder and chair of the steering committee for the Informatics for All coalition, Co-Chair of Informatics Europe's permanent education research working group, and was Co-Chair of the Committee on European Computing Education established jointly by ACM Europe and Informatics Europe. Recently, he also served as special advisor on digital education and skills to the Executive Vice President of the European Commission.

The Karl V. Karlstrom Outstanding Educator Award is presented annually to an outstanding educator who is appointed to a recognized educational baccalaureate institution. The recipient is recognized for advancing new teaching methodologies; effecting new curriculum development or expansion in Computer Science and Engineering; or making a significant contribution to the educational mission of ACM. Those with 10 years or less teaching experience are given special consideration. A prize of $10,000 is supplied by Pearson Education.

Ramesh Jain, Professor, University of California, Irvine, receives the ACM Distinguished Service Award for establishing the ACM Special Interest Group on Multimedia Systems (SIGMM), and for outstanding leadership and sustained services to ACM and the computing community for the past four decades.

In 1993, Jain organized the first NSF workshop on visual information management systems. He was one of the organizing committee members of the first ACM Multimedia conference and gave a tutorial at that conference, which was held in conjunction with ACM SIGGraph that year. All these activities paved the way for the successful establishment of ACM SIGMM.

Since then, Jain has remained an active contributor to ACM Multimedia Computing. He has been on the organizing committees of almost all the past 25 ACM Multimedia Conferences. Additionally, he organized special issues of Communications of the ACM on visual computing, served as founding Editor-in-Chief of IEEE Multimedia magazine, organized numerous workshops, served on editorial boards of almost all multimedia-related journals, and helped SIGMM in many ways including chairing it from 2003 to 2007.

For his contributions and service, Jain has received numerous awards and has been recognized as a Fellow of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM), the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence (AAAI), Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), SPIE (an international society for optics and photonics), and the International Association of Pattern Recognition (IAPR).

The ACM Distinguished Service Award is presented on the basis of value and degree of services to the computing community. The contribution should not be limited to service to the Association but should include activities in other computer organizations and should emphasize contributions to the computing community at large.

Joseph A. Konstan, Professor, University of Minnesota, receives the Outstanding Contribution to ACM Award for 25 years of dedicated service and leadership in support of ACM's mission and operation, and the advancement of ACM's research, education, and practitioner communities.

Konstan has been involved in ACM’s activities for over 25 years: participating in, developing, and nurturing new technical areas, serving on key task forces and committees, and leading several of ACM’s major boards and working groups. He has demonstrated a volunteer spirit that has been an example and inspiration for others who have had the opportunity to work with him. His long involvement in and deep insight into ACM’s operation and governance has made him a trusted source of advice for ACM’s elected leadership, volunteers, and staff.

Konstan’s service started in 1994 within ACM SIGCHI’s conferences, eventually becoming SIGCHI’s President (2003-2006) and Chair of the SIG Governing Board (2006-2008), and as a member of ACM’s Executive Committee. During that time, he served on a task force on the future of ACM-W.

As Co-Chair of the Publications Board (2013-2022), Konstan served on ACM’s Extended Executive Committee, providing insightful advice and recommendations to the elected leadership. In that regard, he chaired ACM’s Strategic Planning Workgroup (2013–2014), which set the priorities and roadmap for ACM’s continued growth and development. He also worked on the task force on the future of the Journal of the ACM (JACM) and chaired the task force on ACM’s future directions in Health and Medical Informatics.

Konstan is hailed by colleagues for his efforts to bring people together to make the best decisions for ACM and the communities it serves. His many contributions to ACM have been, and no doubt will continue to be, outstanding.

The Outstanding Contribution to ACM Award recognizes outstanding service contributions to the Association. Candidates are selected based on the value and degree of service overall and may be given to up to three individuals each year.

Jelani Nelson, Professor, University of California, Berkeley, receives the ACM Eugene L. Lawler Award for Humanitarian Contributions within Computer Science and Informatics for founding and developing AddisCoder, a nonprofit organization which teaches programming to underserved students from all over Ethiopia. AddisCoder has led many students to higher education and successful careers.

In 2011, Nelson founded AddisCoder to provide a free intensive summer program for high school students in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The program has shown exemplary efficacy in fostering the academic and professional development of over 500 high school students. AddisCoder’s student body is 40% female and includes students from each of the 11 regions in Ethiopia, students from ethnic minorities, and students living in poverty.

Upon joining the program, many of the participating students have little or no background in programming or algorithms. In just four short weeks, the students gain significant knowledge. The program rigorously covers college-level material in algorithms such as binary search and sorting, dynamic programming, and graph exploration. Alumni have matriculated in programs at universities including Harvard, MIT, and Princeton, and some students have joined well-known companies such as Google.

Nelson has not only been an AddisCoder instructor himself, but he has recruited a large team of teachers and raised money from government, industry, and academic institutions to fund the initiative. He recently expanded the program to Jamaica.

The ACM Eugene L. Lawler Award for Humanitarian Contributions within Computer Science and Informatics recognizes an individual or group who has made a significant contribution through the use of computing technology. It is given once every two years, assuming that there are worthy recipients. The award is accompanied by a prize of $5,000.

About ACM

ACM, the Association for Computing Machinery, is the world's largest educational and scientific computing society, uniting 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.

Jim Ormond

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