This is the next blog in the continuing series of interviews with top-echelon and renowned professionals. In this blog, I interview Calvin C. (Kelly) Gotlieb, C.M., M.A., PhD.D. (University of Toronto), D. Math. (Hon., University of Waterloo), D. Eng. (Hon., Technical University of Nova Scotia); Order of Canada; Fellow CIPS (FCIPS); Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, the British Computer Society and the Association for Computing Machinery.

The ACM has an array of special honours and awards each year. Kelly has chaired or co-chaired the ACM Awards Committee for sometime and continues this work today. In addition, Kelly takes on added duties in his busy schedule. He is leaving Monday, May 10th, for San Jose, as a judge for the world's only international science competition for pre-collegiate students. The Intel International Science and Engineering Fair or ISEF running May 9th to 14th, is "the world's largest international pre-college science competition" and "provides an annual forum for more than 1,500 high school students from over 50 countries, regions, and territories to showcase their independent research." At the invitation of Kelly in 2009, I joined the ACM ISEF Awards Committee for a two year term, judging at the ISEF in Reno last year. In 2010, I have the very good fortune of working with Kelly as judge together with Robb Cutler who joined the ACM ISEF Awards Committee this year.

Kelly is an inspiration for his continued service to the world and the finalists at the ISEF will have the great pleasure of engaging with a true pioneer in computing. As judges, Kelly, Robb, and I will feel the passion generated by these fine young scientists. It's one of the most rewarding experiences to talk to the finalist from around the world, each demonstrating innovations that can change the world.

Stephen Ibaraki

Kelly Gotlieb is currently Professor Emeritus in Computer Science and in the Faculty of Information Studies at the University of Toronto (UT). He is a computing pioneer, whose innovations and accomplishments helped lay the foundation of an entire worldwide industry, educational stream, and profession. His contributions are so profound and their impact so diverse and in so many areas that the lasting value cannot be comprehended. Have a look at this blog to find out more:

To listen to the interview, click on this MP3 file link



Interview Time Index (MM:SS) and Topic

Why are awards and recognitions important?
"....Gives the community the opportunity to recognize outstanding achievements....Identifies role models....Attracts the attention of large organizations and broadens the base of connections between companies and people....Provides part of the history of development of technology....and the awards banquet is a great party where people come to celebrate...."

Can you describe a few of the Awards given out by the ACM?
"....Turing Award is given for an identifiable achievement that has growth with importance with time....ACM Infosys Foundation Award is for an achievement which had an important result in the industry....ACM Doctoral Dissertation Award - an award for the best doctoral thesis....Grace Murray Hopper Award is awarded to an outstanding computer professional of the year....Software systems award....Karl V. Kalstrom Outstanding Educator Award....(This is only a partial list - see the detailed awards site at"

Are there also awards for people who have not entered their careers yet, for example those in high school, etc.?
"....ACM International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF) award. Intel has an international science and engineering fair. The entrants for that are people who have won science fairs for a project in their own country. It goes into various categories, physics, biology, life sciences, computer science...."

Who were some of the recipients of the awards in previous years? Who are a few of the recipients for the 2009 awards which are given out the next year?
"....2006 was the first time the Turing award (Francis Allen) was awarded to a woman....2007 the Turing Award was awarded to three people (Edmund Clark, Allen Emerson, Joseph Sifakis ) for work on making software more reliable....ACM Infosys Foundation award was awarded in 2007 to Daphne Koller for her work on artificial intelligence....The ACM website has a list for all the principal awards (through the ACM Awards committee)....The various SIG groups have their own committees....2008 Turing award winner: Barbara Liskov....2008 Infosys Foundation award: Jon Kleinberg....2009 Turing award: Chuck Thacker, 2009 Infosys Foundation award: Eric Brewer...."

Kelly talks about how he became involved in the Awards Committee and describes his various roles.

Are there any special Awards events that you wish to bring to the attention of the audience?
"....Usually the Turing award winner is invited to speak at a conference of his or her choice so that is an Awards event....The SIG Awards are at various SIG meetings and conferences....The ACM has 4 or 5 organizations with which they have joint awards, including the American Association of Artificial Intelligence (AAAI), Computer Research Association (CRA)...."

Do you have any further comments you'd like to share about the awards?
"....Rosemary McGuinness is a person at ACM headquarters who is responsible for interacting with the various committee chairs. She is a jewel and very good at gently reminding all the chairs of their responsibilities and doing a lot of the work that they have to do. So we have a huge backing from ACM in the work she does...."