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Fosdick, Dice Honored at Engineering Awards Banquet


April 2002

Schnabel, Fosdick, and Lewis
Bobby Schnabel, Lloyd Fosdick, and Clayton Lewis

Former Chair Lloyd Fosdick was honored with a "Distinguished Engineering Alumni" award in the "Special" category at the 37th Annual Engineering Awards Banquet held April 12, 2002. This category honors deserving recipients with careers outside of the listed categories or who are not graduates of the College of Engineering and Applied Science.

The award citation reads as follows:

As professor emeritus and founding chair of the Computer Science Department at CU-Boulder, Lloyd Fosdick has had a formative and continuing influence on program development in this increasingly important field.

He led the development of CU-Boulder's doctoral program in computer science, served as principal investigator on the department's first large infrastructure and research grants, and brought in many top quality faculty who remain in the department today.

His personal integrity and attention to the value of teaching excellence also set the tone for the department, colleagues say. In addition, Dr. Fosdick is responsible for bringing the department into the College of Engineering and Applied Science where it found more support than in its former home in the College of Arts and Sciences.

With a doctorate in physics from Purdue University, he began his academic career as a physics professor at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 1957. Shortly afterward, he became a member of that university's newly formed Department of Computer Science.

"In my first tour at Illinois, I got a demonstration of the ILLIAC [one of the first high-speed automatic computers], which had just been built there. It was love at first sight," Dr. Fosdick recalls.

After chairing the committees that designed both the graduate and undergraduate programs at Illinois, he spent two summers on the CU-Boulder Campus as part of a partnership with the College of Engineering at Illinois. At that time, CU had an Institute of Computer Science and offered a master's degree in computer science, but it had neither a PhD, nor an undergraduate program.

Dr. Fosdick came to CU in 1970 as chair of computer science and served for eight years, stepping down in 1978 to rededicate himself to teaching and research. He again served as chair when called upon from 1985 to 1990.

A dedicated teacher with an international reputation in scientific computing, he received a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1965 to study at the Max Planck Institute in Munich and also was named a Fullbright Senior Scholar in 1995.

His research interests include numerical computation, software tools, and parallel computing. He has publications in all of these areas, as well as some early papers in computational physics. He also did early, classified work on using computers coupled to radar systems to track aircraft from shipboard and wrote software and documentation for the ILLIAC.

Dr. Fosdick lives in Boulder, and his son is a CU graduate. His wife, Erica, is deceased.

Chris and Joel Dice
Joel Dice (right), with his father, Chris Dice.

The Department's Outstanding Senior, Joel Dice, was honored at the Engineering Awards Banquet as well. This award honors "students who, because of their remarkable achievements today, are likely to become tomorrow's leaders." The award was presented by Interim Dean Roop Mahajan and faculty member Bruce Sanders, Joel's advisor.

I've always enjoyed solving interesting problems, or at least trying to solve them. For that reason, I feel fortunate to live in an age when technology creates new problems for every one it solves. No technology I know of illustrates this better than the computer, and my time at CU has done a great deal to help me to understand the issues at each level of abstraction in computer science. Each element of my education here, from learning to program effectively in assembly language to proving theorems about computational complexity, has given me insight into the difficulties of creating software, as well as the tools to surmount them.

Clayton Lewis, Chris Dice, Joel Dice, and Bruce Sanders
Clayton Lewis, Chris Dice, Joel Dice, and Bruce Sanders

While my plans for the future are deliberately vague, I know that I'd like to create software which people can interact with. I'm most attracted to software tools and games that can be customized and adapted to new uses by non-programmers. I suspect that, as computers become more ubiquitous, the number of users who wish to modify their software, whether out of frustration or curiosity, will grow faster than the number of those who have the skills to do so. Tools that help bridge the gap between serious users and programmers will become increasingly important in such a context, and I'd like to be involved in the development of such software.

        -- Joel Dice

Joel is graduating in May as a 5th year senior in Computer Science. His present GPA is 3.886.

See also:
Department of Computer Science
College of Engineering and Applied Science
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May 5, 2012 (13:46)