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Zhang Endows Ralph J. Slutz Student Excellence Award


August 2010

The "Ralph J. Slutz Student Excellence Award" in the Department of Computer Science is in honor of Ralph J. Slutz (1917-2005). Ralph Slutz was a computer pioneer who made critical contributions in two milestones of the human computing history. Dr. Slutz was a principal engineer working with John von Neumann in the Electronic Computer Project in the Institute for Advanced Study (1946-1948). He later became the chief architect working with Samuel N. Alexander at the National Bureau of Standards (or NBS, and the National Institute of Standards and Technology now) to build the SEAC Computer, which was the first computer with an internally stored program in the US government, and the first operational machine of this kind in the US (1948-1954).

Dr. Slutz moved to Boulder in 1954 as a Division Chief at the NBS Research Lab. He had been actively involved in teaching and research at the University of Colorado at Boulder. He was an adjunct professor of Electrical Engineering, and offered the first computer related class in the College of Engineering in 1954 called "Computer Solutions to Engineering Problems". After he retired from NBS, he became a Senior Research Fellow in the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences (CIRES) at CU, where he was a major architect and leader in a well known and visionary project to create a Comprehensive Ocean Atmosphere Data Set (COADS) that would be shared by scientists all over the world. The COADS data center has been continuously and widely used for scientific research for more than 20 years.

The Ralph J. Slutz Student Excellence Award was endowed with a $50,000 gift by former CU computer science graduate student Xiaodong Zhang (MS 1985, PhD 1989) in May 2010. He summed up his beginning days at CU with Ralph Slutz as, "two privileged years closely working with a world-class scholar, who had a huge impact on my later life and career." With this student award fund, Xiaodong also wants to express his heartfelt thanks to the Department of Computer Science for having received his excellent graduate education with a PhD under the supervision of Professors Robert (Bobby) Schnabel and Richard Byrd.

A scholarship award of $1000 will be presented annually during the spring semester to at least one undergraduate student and at least one graduate student who have established a record of academic excellence and/or technical and research innovation, as selected by a faculty committee appointed by the Computer Science Department. The student awarded names will be archived in the department honor records, and will be announced and posted on the department website.

See the CU Foundation's Ralph J. Slutz Student Excellence Award in Computer Science page to make additional contributions to this scholarship fund.
See also:
Department of Computer Science
College of Engineering and Applied Science
University of Colorado Boulder
Boulder, CO 80309-0430 USA
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May 5, 2012 (13:46)