Electrical Engineering and Computer Science

William A. Wulf

2nd William Gould Dow Distinguished Lecture

“Some Musings on the Technical Commmunity’s Response to Terrorism”

William A. Wulf
President, NAE

Biographical Sketch
Dr. William A. Wulf received the B.S. and M.S. at the University of Illinois in 1961 and 1963, respectively. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Virginia in 1968; it was the first Computer Science Ph.D. ever awarded at this institution. He joined Carnegie-Mellon University as Assistant Professor of Computer Science, becoming Associate Professor in 1973 and Professor in 1975. Dr. Wulf's research at CMU spanned programming systems and computer architecture. Specific research activities included the design and implementation of a systems-implementation language (Bliss), architectural design of the DEC PDP-11, the design and construction of a 16 processor multiprocessor and its operating system, a new approach to computer security, and development of a technology for the construction of high quality optimizing compilers.

In 1981, he left Carnegie-Mellon to found, and serve as chairman and CEO of, Tartan Laboratories. Tartan developed optimizing compilers -- programs that translate high-level languages such as FORTRAN or C into highly efficient computer codes. Tartan was recently sold to Texas Instruments. During his time at CMU and Tartan Labs., Dr. Wulf was active in the "high tech" community in Pittsburgh. He helped found the Pittsburgh High Technology Council and served as Vice President and Director. He also helped found the CEO Network, the CEO Venture Fund, and served as an advisor to the Western Pennsylvania Advanced Technology Center. In 1983 he was awarded the Enterprise "Man of the Year" Award for these and other activities.

During 1988-90, he was the Assistant Director of the National Science Foundation, where he headed the Directorate for Computer and Information Science and Engineering (CISE). CISE was responsible for computer science and engineering research as well as for operating the National Supercomputer Centers and NSFnet -- the backbone on the Internet at that time. While at NSF, Dr. Wulf was involved in the development of the High Performance Computing and Communication Initiative and in the formative discussions of the proper government role in developing the National Information Infrastructure.

Dr. Wulf returned to the University of Virginia in 1990 as AT&T Professor of Engineering and Applied Science, and later became University Professor. He helped revise the undergraduate computer science curriculum, continued his research on computer architecture and computer security, and assisted humanities scholars exploit information technology. While at UVa he chaired the Computer Science and Telecommunications Board of the National Research Council, part of the National Academy of Engineering.

Dr. Wulf was elected President of the National Academy of Engineering in 1997. He is a member of the National Academy of Engineering, and a Fellow of the ACM, IEEE, AAAS, AWIS, and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.