Dwarkadas leads with caring, integrity, and unwavering commitment

Sandhya Dwarkadas, the Albert Arendt Hopeman Professor of Engineering and recent chair of the Department of Computer Science, is the 2020 recipient of the Edmund A. Hajim Outstanding Faculty Award.

Sandhya Dwarkadas photo

She joined the University in 1996, and has excelled in all three benchmarks applied to our faculty members: research, teaching, and service.

 Dwarkadas’ research interests span parallel and distributed computing, computer architecture, and the interplay of architecture with compilers and run-time/operating systems.  She has made fundamental contributions to the design and implementation of shared memory both in hardware and software, and to energy- and resource-aware hardware and software design.

 Dwarkadas is author or co-author of more than 100 refereed publications and 12 issued patents. Three of her papers have been cited more than 1,000 times each; her record of publication at the International Symposium on Computer Architecture, the top conference in the field, places her in its Hall of Fame. Dwarkadas has secured more than $13 million in external funding, including an NSF CAREER AWARD.

 She has been elected a fellow of both the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) and Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE).

 The 11 students who completed their PhDs under Dwarkadas’ supervision include current faculty members at Ohio State, University of Utah, and Simon Fraser University. Others work at Facebook, Google, IBM Research, Intel, Microsoft, Nvidia and VMware.

 She has served on numerous University commissions, committees and panels, including the Faculty Senate, a special committee on tenure and privileges, and the data science steering committee. In her wider professional community, Dwarkadas has been a staunch advocate for advancing the participation of women and underrepresented minorities in computing, through her service as a mentor, and as co-chair of the Computing Research Association’s Committee on Widening Participation in Computing.

 Dwarkadas has also served as program chair for various international conferences, symposia and workshops, and held editorial positions for four journals.

 During her just completed six-year term as chair of the Department of Computer Science, undergraduate enrollments more than doubled. The department relocated into new offices and labs in Wegmans Hall, requiring Dwarkadas to work closely with the architects to ensure that the design met the department’s needs.  She launched a master’s degree program, and a training program for teaching assistants to assist with increased class sizes. Dwarkadas recruited eight new tenure- and teaching-track faculty members in order to meet the needs of the department’s growing educational programs and interdisciplinary research. The new faculty members have bolstered the department’s traditional strengths in systems and architecture, as well as added expertise in data management, human computer interaction, and computer vision. Two of those hires were women.

 Dwarkadas was instrumental in enrolling the department in the BRAID (Building, Recruiting, and Inclusion for Diversity) Initiative, which has helped the department attract and retain women undergraduates. The percentage of women undergraduates this spring was 29.4 percent, well above the national average.

 Most important, is how she has accomplished this.

“Every decision she makes, every letter she writes, every drop-in conversation is infused with personal caring, professional integrity, and an unwavering commitment to mutual respect and support,” says her colleague and current chair Michael Scott.