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Manuel Blum Elected into National Academy of Engineering

February 13, 2006: Manuel Blum, SCSís Bruce Nelson Professor of Computer Science, is one of five Carnegie Mellon University professors who have been elected this year to the National Academy of Engineering. The others are Christina H. Amon, Egon Balas, Pradeep K. Khosla, and Krzysztof A. Matyjaszewski.

NAE membership honors outstanding contributions to engineering theory and practice, and the pioneering of new and developing fields of technology. It is one of the highest professional distinctions an engineer can achieve. The NAE shares responsibility with the National Academy of Sciences for advising the federal government on questions of policy in science and technology.

Blum was elected to the Academy for his contributions to abstract complexity theory, inductive inference, cryptographic protocols, and the theory and applications of program checkers. He is a leader in the field of theoretical computing and one of the founders of computational complexity theory. His momentous achievements were recognized in 1995 with the highest honor in computing, the A. M. Turing Award, often likened to the "Nobel Prize of computing."

One example of Blumís ingenuity is seen daily by thousands of people on the Internet when they are asked to enter the characters that are distorted in an image. Leading companies like Yahoo rely on these CAPTCHAs (Completely Automatic Public Turing Test to Tell Computers and Humans Apart) to keep computerized bots from registering for accounts, buying tickets, and entering chat rooms.

Blumís work has developed around a single unifying theme: finding positive, practical consequences of living in a world where all computational resources are bounded, or constrained. Based on this precept, he proved that secure business transactions and pseudo-random number generation are possible. Today Blum is focused on research that may help create the first truly self-aware robot by formulating an automata-theoretic definition of consciousness.

Blum came to Carnegie Mellon as a visiting professor in 1999 from a distinguished career at the University of California at Berkeley. He received Carnegie Mellonís Nelson Chair in the fall of 2001, and was elected to the National Academy of Sciences in 2002.

"It is wonderful having Manuel Blum as part of the Carnegie Mellon faculty," said SCS Dean Randall E. Bryant. "He combines deep theoretical understanding with a spirit of creativity and serendipity, leading to important new ideas and insights. His election to the NAE recognizes the many ways his theoretical work has affected the engineering of computers and their applications."

"This outstanding recognition is a tribute to the technological savvy and pioneering, innovative spirit of Carnegie Mellon faculty," added Carnegie Mellon Senior Vice President and Provost Mark S. Kamlet. "Our faculty members are unmatched in their multidisciplinary approach to educating tomorrowís leaders, and in helping this country retain its global competitive edge."

Blum and other new members of the National Academy of Engineering will be honored on October 15, 2006, during a gala celebration at the National Academies building in Washington, D.C.

Other Carnegie Mellon faculty who are members of the NAE include David H. Archer, Alfred Blumstein, Randal E. Bryant, Edmund M. Clarke, Robert F. Davis, Richard J. Fruehan, Ignacio Grossman, Angel Jordan, Takeo Kanade, Mark H. Kryder, Harold W. Paxton, Raj Reddy, Daniel P. Siewiorek, Herbert L. Toor, and Arthur W. Westerberg.

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For more information, please contact ALADDIN Center Assistant Director Susan Hrishenko at 412-268-7317 or susan027@cs.cmu.edu.


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This material is based upon work supported by National Science Foundation under Grant No. 0122581.
Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the
National Science Foundation