NSF Names UMass Amherst Computer Scientist to Head Computer & Information Science & Engineering Directorate

James F. Kurose

AMHERST, Mass. – The National Science Foundation (NSF) has selected University of Massachusetts Amherst professor James F. Kurose to serve as assistant director for its Directorate for Computer & Information Science & Engineering (CISE). The three-year appointment begins in January 2015.

Kurose is Distinguished Professor in UMass Amherst’s School of Computer Science, a position he has held since 2004. He has also served in a number of administrative roles including chair of the department, interim dean and executive associate dean of the College of Natural Sciences and senior faculty advisor to the vice chancellor for research and engagement. With Keith Ross, he co-authored the textbook, “Computer Networking: A Top-Down Approach,” which is in its 6th edition.

“I’m honored to have been selected for this opportunity to serve the research community and the country,” Kurose said. “The role of computing in cybersecurity, infrastructure, networking, big data and more continues to be of national importance. And NSF plays a crucial and fundamental role in contributing to our understanding of these and other issues.”

CISE’s mission is to promote the progress of computer and information science and engineering research and education and advance the development and use of cyber infrastructure; promote understanding of the principles and uses of advanced computer, communication and information systems in support of societal priorities; and contribute to universal, transparent and affordable participation in a knowledge-based society.

NSF Director France A. Córdova said, “Dr. Kurose has contributed significantly to the nation’s understanding of computer sciences, both through his research focus and through his engagement with students across the world. His stellar reputation in the complex field of computer networking will translate well at NSF, as will his achievements and leadership for which he has received impressive recognition through the years.”

NSF-supported research and discovery in computer sciences enabled innovations such as the Internet, Web browsers and smart devices, including robotic and assistive technologies and driverless cars. Essentially all practical applications of information technology are based on ideas and concepts that emerged from investments in basic computing research. Beyond contributing to economic growth, computing accelerates the pace of discovery and innovation in nearly all fields of science and engineering inquiry, opening new windows into phenomena as vast as the universe and as small as nanoparticles. Further, computing provides solutions to some of society’s most pressing challenges – from improving human health and well-being to mitigating natural disasters.

UMass Amherst Chancellor Kumble R. Subbaswamy said, “I congratulate Dr. Kurose as he takes on this significant leadership role at the National Science Foundation. He has long been one of our most accomplished computer science researchers who is also a talented teacher and valued mentor. That one of the world’s pre-eminent research agencies has turned to Dr. Kurose to help set the nation’s agenda speaks highly of his expertise and all he has contributed as a member of UMass Amherst’s outstanding computer science faculty.”

Kurose’s research interests include computer network protocols and architecture, network measurement, sensor networks, multimedia communication and modeling and performance evaluation. He has been a visiting scientist at IBM Research, INRIA, Institut EURECOM, the University of Paris, the Laboratory for Information, Network and Communication Sciences and Technicolor Research Labs.

Kurose has served as editor-in-chief of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) Transactions on Communications and was the founding editor-in-chief of the IEEE Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) Transactions on Networking. He has received recognition for his research, including the IEEE Infocom Achievement Award, the ACM Sigcomm Test of Time award and several conference best paper awards. He has also been recognized for a number of campus and regional outstanding teaching awards, the IEEE/CS Taylor Booth Education medal, and the Massachusetts Telecommunication Council Workforce Development Leader of the Year award. Within Massachusetts, he has helped lead the Commonwealth Information Technology Initiative and the Massachusetts Green High Performance Computing Center.

In addition to being an IEEE and ACM Fellow, Kurose has served on a variety of advisory boards, including the CISE advisory committee and the Board of Directors for the Computing Research Association. He received his Ph.D. and M.S. degrees in computer science from Columbia University and a B.A. degree in physics from Wesleyan University.