Soha Hassoun Appointed Chair of Computer Science

Dear Colleagues,

 

It is my pleasure to announce the appointment of Associate Professor Soha
Hassoun as Chair of the Department of Computer Science, effective September
1, 2013.

Soha joined Tufts as an Assistant Professor in January 1998, after
completing her Ph.D. in Computer Science and Engineering at the University
of Washington in Seattle. She was tenured and promoted to associate
professor in 2004. Since September 2012, she has served as the associate
chair for the Department.

Soha's research interests encompass computational methods for systems
biology and metabolic engineering and computer-aided design for integrated
circuits. A National Science Foundation (NSF) CAREER Award recipient, she
has a demonstrated track record of interdisciplinary research, with solid
extramural funding from the NSF and the Defense Advanced Research Projects
Agency (DARPA). An innovative educator, she has taught courses that promote
Tufts interdisciplinary initiatives, including Computational Methods in
Systems Biology and Graphic Processing Units Programming for Scientific
Applications. This past year, she piloted one of the school's new first-year
experience foundational courses, an introduction to computational modeling
and design.

Soha has been very active in service to the University and the broader
community. A Tisch College Fellow, she has shown an exceptional commitment
to diversity, serving as a faculty mentor to the NSF Computer Science,
Engineering, and Mathematics Scholarships (CSEMS) program, as a member of
Tufts Equal Employment Opportunity Committee (EEOC), and most recently as a
member of Tufts Council on Diversity. At the national level, she has served
on numerous conference program committees, including the IEEE International
3D Systems Integration Conference; the ACM Conference on Bioinformatics,
Computational Biology and Biomedical Informatics; the International
Conference on Computer-Aided Design; and the International Workshop on Bio
Design Automation. In recognition of her service, she has received awards
from ACM/SIGDA, the association for students and professionals in electronic
design automation three times (2000, 2002, and 2007). This year, she served
as the vice chair for the Design Automation Conference and will assume the
position of general chair for DAC2014 in San Francisco. These leadership
experiences will serve her well in her new role at Tufts.

I would also like to take this opportunity to thank current CS Chair Carla
Brodley for her stellar leadership these past three years. During her
tenure as Chair, the Department of Computer Science has seen tremendous
growth in both research and academic enrollment. We welcomed the CS
Department's first Professor of the Practice, as well as the first holder of
the McDonnell Family Professorship in Engineering Education. Carla also
oversaw the department's expansion of its research space, partnering in the
design and renovation of space for the new Interdisciplinary Laboratory for
Computation housed at 196 Boston Avenue.

Three years ago, the department phased out its introductory computer science
course for non-majors, and reconfigured the course for CS majors to be
appropriate for students from all academic backgrounds, while maintaining
rigor. Since this reconfiguration, student enrollment in computer science
classes has increased by 67 percent, consistent with the significant
national trend in computer science majors (a population which increased by
29 percent last year). This year, some 500 students took the introductory CS
class at Tufts. The CS graduate program also grew substantially under
Carla's leadership, garnering increased funding from external sources such
as the Clare Boothe Luce Foundation, and launching a new joint doctoral
program in cognitive science, in collaboration with A&S.

After she transitions department leadership to Soha this August, Carla will
take a well-deserved sabbatical. I look forward to working with Soha in the
coming years to further build and strengthen computer science at Tufts.

Best regards,

Linda

 

Linda M. Abriola
Dean of Engineering
Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering
Adjunct Professor of Chemical and Biological Engineering
Tufts University