Michael P. Wellman Named Lynn A. Conway Collegiate Professor of Computer Science and Engineering

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Michael P. Wellman has been named the Lynn A. Conway Collegiate Professor of Computer Science and Engineering in recognition of his outstanding contributions in the areas of research, education, and leadership. This appointment was celebrated at a ceremony which took place on May 5, 2016.

Prof. Wellman has been with the Department since 1992, when he joined Michigan as an Assistant Professor in CSE after completing his studies at MIT and serving for four years as a research scientist at the United States Air Force Wright Laboratory. During his 24-year tenure at Michigan, he has made numerous contributions through his research, teaching, and service activities. Wellman is proud advisor of 20 graduated PhDs, and teacher of a multitude of undergraduate and graduate students.

Prof. Wellman’s research applies principles of computation and economics to engineer rational decision-making strategies and analyze complex systems of interacting agents. A broad theme of his work is the interplay of technology and incentives in shaping behavior. His early investigations in computational markets led him to pioneering work in Internet auctions, later commercialized through startup company TradingDynamics. Subsequent research developed techniques for design and analysis of trading agents, and an array of related topics in electronic commerce. Current work combines empirical methods and game-theoretic concepts for strategic reasoning about complex multiagent domains, with particular focus on modeling financial markets and the financial system.

Michael Wellman professorship lecture
Prof. Wellman's lecture was entitled "Autonomous Agents: Threat or Menace?"

In 2000, Prof. Wellman endowed the Morris Wellman Faculty Development Professorship in the Department, which recognizes and supports outstanding junior faculty in Computer Science and Engineering, in his grandfather's name. Numerous junior faculty in CSE have benefited from the program.

Prof. Wellman has served the university and the research community in numerous leadership positions. He is a Fellow of the Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence, as well as the Association for Computing Machinery. In 2012, his foundational work was recognized with the IFAAMAS (International Foundation of Autonomous Agents and Multi-Agent Systems) Influential Paper Award for his 1993 paper describing a market-oriented programming approach to distributed problem solving, which was originally published in the Journal of Artificial Intelligence Research. In 2014 he was recognized by ACM/SIGAI with the Autonomous Agents Research Award. At the University of Michigan, Prof. Wellman has been a recipient of the Faculty Recognition Award, and of awards from the EECS Department for Teaching Excellence and Outstanding Achievement.

About Lynn Conway

Lynn Conway photo
Lynn Conway

Lynn Conway is a Professor Emerita in the EECS Department at UM. After earning her BS ('62) and MSEE ('63) at Columbia University’s School of Engineering and Applied Science, Prof. Conway joined IBM Research, where she made foundational contributions to computer architecture. At Xerox Palo Alto Research Center in the 1970s, she invented scalable design rules for VLSI, became principal author of the seminal textbook Introduction to VLSI Systems, and while serving as a Visiting Assoc. Professor of EECS at MIT in 1978 pioneered the teaching of the new methods. Prof. Conway's teachings rapidly spread to over 100 universities, launching a worldwide revolution in microchip design during the 1980s.

Prof. Conway also invented and massively demonstrated an e-commerce system for rapid chip prototyping, spawning the MOSIS System and the "fabless-design + silicon-foundry" paradigm of chip design and manufacturing. As Assistant Director for Strategic Computing at DARPA, she crafted the meta-architecture and led the planning of the Strategic Computing Initiative, DOD's major 1980s effort to expand the technology base for modern intelligent weapons systems.

Prof. Conway joined the University of Michigan as Professor of EECS and Associate Dean of Engineering in 1985, continuing her distinguished career. A Fellow of the IEEE, a Member of the Computer History Museum Hall of Fellows, and a Member of the National Academy of Engineering, Prof. Conway has also received honorary degrees from Trinity College and Illinois Institute of Technology. In 2015, she was awarded the James Clerk Maxwell Medal by the IEEE and the Royal Society of Edinburgh. In 2016, she gave the Magill Lecture at Columbia University.

Posted: May 10, 2016