Biographies

Pamela McCorduck (1940 - 2021) was the author or co-author of ten published books. Both her fiction and nonfiction dealt with aspects of science—mainly the psychological impact of computing, especially of artificial intelligence, and in her later books, of the sciences of complexity.

She began her writing career as a novelist, and published two critically praised novels. In what she believed would be a temporary detour, she moved to nonfiction, and only returned to writing novels after six published works of nonfiction.

Her nonfiction books include “Machines Who Think,” “The Fifth Generation,” “The Rise of the Expert Company,” “The Universal Machine,” “Aaron's Code,” and “The Futures of Women.” In its original year of publication, “Machines Who Think” was cited by the New York Public Library as a book of particular merit, and twenty-five years later, the journal “AI Magazine” devoted a two-page article to the book's quarter century of influence. In March 2004, a 25th anniversary edition was published, which includes a substantial afterword to bring the history of artificial intelligence up to date.

Her nonfiction books have been translated into all the major European and Asian languages, and “The Fifth Generation” was an international best-seller. Her work has appeared in journals ranging from “Cosmopolitan” and “Omni” to the “New York Times,” “Daedalus,” and the “Michigan Quarterly Review.” She has been a contributing editor to “Wired.”

McCorduck consulted for a wide range of firms and other organizations in the high technology, financial, and transportation sectors. She served on a panel to advise the National Academy of Engineering about the future of that field, and, with Nancy Ramsey, has co-authored commissioned studies on women in information technology (for the National Sciences Foundation) and women in design (for a large international design firm). She appeared on many television shows, including PBS's “News Hour” and the “CBS Evening News.” CNN based a two-part documentary on the book she and Ramsey co-authored, “The Futures of Women.”

She received a B.A. from the University of California at Berkeley and an M.F.A. from Columbia University.

http://www.pamelamc.com/

Joseph F. Traub (1932 – 2015) was the former head of Carnegie Mellon's Computer Science Department, a pioneering computer scientist who led the department during a crucial period in its history. Traub, most recently the Edwin Howard Armstrong Professor of Computer Science at Columbia University, was known for his research on computational complexity and quantum computing and for his academic leadership in computer science — expanding and strengthening CSD in the 1970s and later founding the computer science department at Columbia.

After spending much of his early career at Bell Laboratories, Traub was teaching at the University of Washington when he was offered the position of CSD Head in 1971. He replaced Alan Perlis, the first head of CSD, who had moved on to Yale University.

He wasted no time moving the department into the then-new Science Hall, now Wean Hall, which provided plenty of office space. DARPA accounted for the vast majority of the department's funding, so Traub worked with the faculty to diversify and increase external funding.

By the time he left in 1979 for Columbia, where he modeled its new Department of Computer Science after CMU's, the CSD faculty numbered around 50. The new recruits included many who would become leaders at CMU, including Mary Shaw and Dan Siewiorek.

Born in Karlsruhe, Germany, he grew up in New York City, attending the Bronx High School of Science and City College of New York. Though he entered Columbia to study theoretical physics, he discovered his love for computing at the nearby IBM Watson lab and ultimately earned a Ph.D. in applied mathematics in 1959.

Known for his work on optimal algorithms and computational complexity, Traub collaborated with a number of researchers to create significant new algorithms. His work with Shaw, for instance, resulted in the Shaw-Traub algorithm to increase computational speed, while his work with H.T. Kung, another of his hires at CMU and now a professor at Harvard University, produced the Kung-Traub algorithm for comparing the expansion of an algebraic function.

His awards and honors include election to the National Academy of Engineering, IEEE's Emanuel R. Piore Gold Medal and the 1992 Distinguished Service Award from the Computer Research Council.