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Prestigious Recognition

SU alumnus John Hopcroft receives award from National Academy of Engineering

October 17, 2017

The National Academy of Engineering (NAE) has conferred one of its highest honors on John Hopcroft (’61, Electrical Engineering). 

At its annual meeting earlier this month, the academy presented the Simon Ramo Founders Award to Hopcroft for his outstanding research contributions and leadership in engineering. Here’s what NAE wrote in their release: 

“John E. Hopcroft is widely regarded as one of the most influential computer scientists in the United States. With the Simon Ramo Founders Award, Hopcroft is being recognized ‘for fundamental achievements in the formation of computer science as a discipline through his research, service, and pioneering textbooks.’ The award acknowledges outstanding professional, educational, and personal achievements to the benefit of society and includes a commemorative medal. 

“Hopcroft, who is the IBM Professor of Engineering and Applied Mathematics in Computer Science at Cornell University, has worked on shaping the intellectual discipline of computer science, specifically on theoretical aspects of the field, and helped make computer science the respected discipline that it is today." 

The release goes on to detail some of Hopcroft’s contributions to his field: 

“In 1989, Hopcroft co-authored ‘Computer Science: Achievement and Opportunities’ as part of his effort to double the number of computer science PhDs produced each year in order to meet the nation's future needs. In 1992, President George H.W. Bush appointed him to the National Science Board, which oversees the National Science Foundation, and he served through May 1998. In 2005, he co-chaired the National Research Council study committee that produced the report ‘Network Science,’ which helped the Army understand the engineering behind networking troops in the field and how it would change warfare. The report has been said to have led to significant increases for funding in network science from numerous agencies.  Hopcroft’s research has also helped shape curriculum at computer science departments as they increased around the world.  He has received many awards for his achievements, including the A.M. Turing Award, the ACM Karl V. Karlstrom Outstanding Educator Award, and China’s Friendship Medal, its highest recognition for a foreigner. Hopcroft is also a designated Einstein professor of the Chinese Academy of Sciences.” 

After spending three years on the faculty at Princeton University, he joined the faculty at Cornell University where he served as chair of computer science for five years and dean of engineering for seven years. He continues to teach as a professor at Cornell. 

A native of Seattle, Hopcroft is a member of the National Academy of Engineering (1989) and National Academy of Sciences (2009), and a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, American Association for the Advancement of Science, Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), Association of Computing Machinery (ACM), and Society of Industrial and Applied Mathematics. 

He has received the A.M. Turing Award (1986), IEEE Harry Goode Memorial Award (2005), Computing Research Association’s Distinguished Service Award (2007), ACM Karl V. Karlstrom Outstanding Educator Award (2009), IEEE John von Neumann Medal (2010) and China’s Friendship Medal (2016), China’s highest recognition for a foreigner. 

In addition, the Chinese Academy of Sciences has designated Hopcroft an Einstein professor. He has honorary degrees from Seattle University (1990), the National College of Ireland, the University of Sydney, St. Petersburg State University in Russia, Beijing University of Technology and Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, and is an honorary professor of the Beijing Institute of Technology, Shanghai Jiao Tong University, Chongqing University, Yunnan University and Peking University.