OAA 2014 Award Recipient Biographies

Randy E. Ellis - Outstanding Contributions to Society

Randy Ellis is a Professor at Queen's University at Kingston, Ontario, Canada in the School of Computing, where he is also a Professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering and a Professor in the Department of Surgery.
Before joining Queen's University, he was a Visiting Professor at the University of Bologna, a Visiting Professor in Computer Science at Johns Hopkins University, a Visiting Scientist at MIT, and an Associate Professor in the Department of Radiology at Harvard Medical School. More recently he was the Stanley and Doreen Heaps Research Chair in Computer Science at St. Francis Xavier University and a Fellow of the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science.

Professor Ellis's work focuses on using imaging to support and improve the work of surgeons. His work has focused most closely on supporting musculoskeletal surgery. This work has doubtlessly improved the lives of countless thousands of people suffering from problems with hips and knees and other joints. He is the Project Leader of a large multidisciplinary group that investigates advanced health-care delivery for the coming decade. This work is jointly funded by the Canadian Institutes for Health Research, the Canada Foundation for Innovation, the Ontario Challenge Fund, and the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council. The work involves close collaboration among computer scientists, surgeons, and industrial partners, including Northern Digital (Waterloo, Canada) and General Electric Healthcare.

Prof. Ellis received a Bachelors and a Master's degree in Computer Science from the University of Manitoba in 1979 and 1981, respectively, and a Ph.D. in Computer Science from the University of Massachusetts Amherst in 1987.

Donald H. House - Outstanding Achievement in Education

Donald House chairs the Division of Visual Computing in the School of Computing at Clemson University.
Prior to joining Clemson, Dr. House was instrumental in developing the curriculum and the founding of the Department of Computer Science at Williams College. After eight years at Williams, Dr. House moved to Texas A&M University, where he spent the next 16 years. While at Texas A&M, Dr. House played a key role in developing their groundbreaking multidisciplinary graduate program in electronic visualization, which is dedicated to preparing students for careers in the visual effects and electronic games industries. This work inspired Clemson's unique MFA program in Digital Production Arts, which he now directs.

Dr. House is well known for his research in the area of physically-based modeling, including approaches to the simulation of cloth, drapery, and other flexible materials. More recently, he has been focusing on perceptual issues in visualization, including texturing volumetric surfaces, eye tracking in stereo display environments, and visualization of uncertainty in data and predictions.

Professor House received a B.S. in Mathematics from Union College in 1968, an M.S. in Electrical Engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in 1978, and a Ph.D. in Computer Science from the University of Massachusetts Amherst in 1984.

Vanessa Murdock - Outstanding Achievement by a Young Alum

Vanessa Murdock has been a Principal Applied Researcher in Microsoft's Bing Relevance Sciences group for almost two years. Her research there focuses on leveraging social media to improve local search.

Previously Dr. Murdock worked at Yahoo! Research in Barcelona, Spain, first as a Research Scientist and then as a Senior Research Scientist. At Yahoo! Research she led the Geographic Context and Experience Group, setting the research agenda for topics related to geographic information and user-generated content, and securing nearly a million Euros in funding for her research group. She has been awarded 7 patents, and has more than 30 patent applications pending, resulting in a Master Inventor Award from Yahoo!.

In the course of generating these patents, Dr. Murdock has also shown significant leadership in her research community, reviewing regularly for eight conferences and half a dozen journals, leading two conference tutorials, chairing several workshops, and serving on the senior program committee for three major conferences in her research field. Since receiving the Ph.D., she has published 15 conference papers and 4 journal articles.
Dr. Murdock received a B.S. in Computer Science from Colorado State University in 2001 and an M.S. and Ph.D. in Computer Science from the University of Massachusetts Amherst in 2005 and 2006, respectively. Dr. Murdock also holds a Bachelor of Music, and worked as a professional musician for 10 years prior to her career in computer science.

Mary-Ellen Prescott - Outstanding Achievement in Management

Mary-Ellen Prescott is a New Technology Program Manager at Bose Corporation, where she leads cross-functional teams in the development of high quality-innovative noise cancelling, stereo Bluetooth wireless, and in-ear headphones, while providing leadership, vision, and direction in the execution of strategic goals.

Prior to her current position at Bose, Ms. Prescott was a Deputy Program Manager at iRobot Corporation, where she led and managed teams in product development of robotics. Previously, she was a Senior Product Manager at Mercury Computer Systems, where she led cross-functional teams in the development of embedded high-performance, real-time image and digital signal processing computer systems for the medical, government, and commercial markets. Ms. Prescott was instrumental in pioneering a standardized product development life cycle and phase review process while at Mercury. During her seven-year career as a Product Manager at NEC Technologies and Digital Equipment Corporation, she championed the growth and revolution of personal computers for consumers and business professionals. Ms. Prescott began her career at Wang Laboratories as a product specialist where she characterized application and system performance, advancing her to product manager of Wang's flagship product, the VS.

Ms. Prescott has developed a notable expertise in managing cross-functional teams, having compiled a long string of successes in leading these complex teams in the development, implementation, and rollout of important and high revenue generating products. Her colleagues and associates uniformly praise her for her impressive interpersonal skills, her deep passion for her work, her attention to detail, and her consummate professionalism.

Mary-Ellen Prescott received a B.S. in Computer Science from the University of Massachusetts Amherst in 1984 and an MBA from Bos!ton University in 1996.

Zhi-Li Zhang - Outstanding Achievement in Research

Zhi-Li Zhang is Qwest Chair Professor and McKnight Distinguished University Professor in the Depart!ment of Computer Science and Engineering at the University of Minnesota.

Professor Zhang is a Fellow of the IEEE and has received best paper awards at several of the major conferences in his area including ACM SIGMETRICS 1996, IEEE ICNP 2002, IEEE INFOCOM 2010, and RAID 2013. He joined the University of Minnesota faculty in 1997 where he is now a Full Professor. He received an NSF Career Award (1998), was a McKnight Land-Grant Professor (2000-2002) and received the College of Sciences and Engineering George Taylor Distinguished Research Award (2005). He has also received IBM Faculty Partnership Awards in 2006 and 2007. Prof. Zhang was awarded the Qwest Chair Professorship in 2007 and more recently the McKnight Distinguished University Professorship in 2013.

Dr. Zhang developed a theory for Internet Quality-of-Service (QoS) and applied it to multimedia applications in the Internet including on-line video streaming. He developed foundational mathematical models for this as well as resource allocation algorithms for this purpose. Prof. Zhang also developed a variety of innovative mechanisms such as video smoothing and pre-fetching to support on-line video streaming, and has also contributed to the development of resilient Internet routing algorithms.
Prof. Zhang received a B.S. in Computer Science from Nanjing University in 1986, and also studied at the Computer Science Depart!ment of Aarhus University. He received an M.S. and Ph.D. in Computer Science from the University of Massachusetts Amherst in 1992 and 1997, respectively.

EMC Corporation - Outstanding Support for the School

EMC Corporation is a global leader in enabling businesses and service providers to transform their operations and deliver IT as a service. Fundamental to this transformation is cloud computing. Through innovative products and services, EMC accelerates the journey to cloud computing, helping IT departments to store, manage, protect and analyze their most valuable asset -- information -- in a more agile, trusted and cost-efficient way.
EMC has had a longstanding dedication to computer science education within the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. In the late 1990s, EMC leaders worked with the Massachusetts Board of Higher Education to get increased investment in computer science education, leading to the formation of the Commonwealth Information Technology Initiative (CITI). More recently EMC was a vital partner in building the Massachusetts Green High Performance Computing Center in Holyoke, MA that supports the growing research computing needs of five of the most research-intensive universities in Massachusetts. Currently EMC company representatives are on the advisory committee of the Commonwealth Alliance for Information Technology Education (CAITE), and the company is a member of the RFID Consortium for Security and Privacy.

In addition, EMC has been a particularly strong supporter of the research and teaching missions of the School of Computer Science at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. EMC sends prominent researchers to speak at the School, provides guidance to students on choosing their careers and achieving their goals, and enables students to attend key research conferences and mentorship venues. EMC hires many UMass Amherst Computer Science undergraduate and graduate students, many of whom spend their careers at EMC.