Daniel Atkins Elected to National Academy of Engineering

Prof. Dan Atkins Enlarge
Prof. Dan Atkins

Daniel E. Atkins III, Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at the College of Engineering and the WK Kellogg Professor in Community Information at the School of Information, has been elected to the National Academy of Engineering (NAE), class of 2014, “for leadership in development of radix algorithms and cybertechnical collaborative systems.”

Academy membership is one of the highest professional distinctions accorded to an engineering scientist. It honors those who have made outstanding contributions to “engineering research, practice, or education, including, where appropriate, significant contributions to the engineering literature,” and to the “pioneering of new and developing fields of technology, making major advancements in traditional fields of engineering, or developing/implementing innovative approaches to engineering education.”

In a notable career that spans over 50 years, 40 of them at the University of Michigan, Prof. Atkins’ achievements are many and are distinctive because of their interdisciplinary focus.  Early in his career, he made contributions to high-performance computer architecture, participating in the design and building of seven major experimental machines, including some of the earliest parallel computers. Prof. Atkins conducted pioneering work on special-purpose architecture and collaborated with the Mayo Clinic on development of Computer-Assisted Tomography (CAT).

Prof. Atkins later focused on the social and technical architecture of distributed knowledge communities and community informatics. He led workshops to develop the National Science Foundation (NSF) Digital Library Initiative and was the project director of the University of Michigan Digital Library Project. He helped to pilot the Mellon Foundation’s JSTOR project, used by millions for research, teaching, and learning. He directed development of the world’s first virtual laboratory, or collaboratory, which pioneered many of the socio-technical systems that now support routine global collaboration in scientific and engineering research.

In 1982, Prof. Atkins became Associate Dean for Research and Graduate Programs at the College of Engineering. He served as Dean of the College from 1989 to 1990 and chaired the committee that developed one of the earliest computer engineering undergraduate degree programs.

Prof. Atkins became the founding Dean of the School of Information in 1992. While Dean, he formed and directed an Alliance for Community Technology (ACT) sponsored by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation to support the innovative use of information technology.

Prof. Atkins chaired the National Science Foundation Blue-Ribbon Advisory Panel on Cyberinfrastructure, which in 2003 released its influential report, Revolutionizing Science and Engineering Through Cyberinfrastructure, recommending that the NSF form a program in cyberinfrastructure-enhanced science and engineering research. From 2006 to 2008, he served as the inaugural Director of the Office of Cyberinfrastructure at NSF. From 2008 to 2012, he served as the U-M Associate Vice President for Research Cyberinfrastructure and as Chairman of the U-M IT Governance Council.

Prof. Atkins holds a PhD in Computer Science from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Among his many distinctions, Prof. Atkins has been recognized with the U-M Distinguished Service Award, the Nina W. Mathesson Award, the Paul Evan Peters Award, an NSF Service Commendation, and the University of Illinois College of Engineering Distinguished Alumni Award.

NSF Press Release: National Academy of Engineering Elects 67 Members and 11 Foreign Associates