Symposium on Software, Science and Society

Department of Computer Science and Engineering

Friday, December 5, 2003




DICK'S ACCOUNT of CSE's early history

DIRECTIONS to World Forestry Center, 4033 S.W. Canyon Road, Portland, Oregon, including MAX information. Event is in Cheatham Hall.


OGI School of Science & Engineering


James Hook Dick has been an inspiration to me since I met him in 1982. I am honored to lead the department that he founded. He is a great friend, a powerful mentor, and a stimulating colleague.

Tim Sheard

I first met Dick while I was a postdoc at Umass Amherst in the mid 1980s. The department there was looking for a new Department Chair, and someone had talked Dick into coming for an interview. Dick was clearly head-and-shoulders above the other candidates, and was the departments first choice.

I was keenly disappointed when Dick did not join the department as its new Chair. Little did I know then, that in 3 or 4 years I would be working with Dick, but at OGI, rather than UMass. Coming to OGI, and working as a new assistant professor in Dick's department was clearly a defining point in my career. Dick has had a strong influence on me in both my academic pursuits and my personal style. I am a better person because of Dick and I owe him a huge debt of gratitude. In addition to Dicks roles as researcher and Department Chair, Dick is a great mentor. I will miss him dearly.

Jonathan Shultis

I first encountered Dick as an author, when I picked up a copy of his Algol book at the original Powell's bookstore in Chicago (small world). I've since lost it (in transit from Stony Brook to OGC), but the best lesson was the big smile, and the optimistic "Sure, you can do that!"

Bart Massey

I have been privileged to work with Dick in the Oregon Master of Software Engineering program

John Launchbury

There are many aspects of Dick that set him apart, but the one that I particularly appreciate is his care in mentoring others. I came to OGI as a junior faculty member, knowing little about departmental mechanics, or the business of finding grants. Dick's ever-present mix of encouragement, sagely insight, and clear advice had a profound effect on me, enabling me to succeed and grow in the entrepreneurial atmosphere of OGI (perhaps he was more effective than he intended, as that same spirit he fired up in me led me to found Galois, so now I'm hardly ever at OGI :-)

Dick cares about results. But he cares about people too. That is a particularly potent blend, and Dick's gentle firmness (or firm gentleness) seems like the perfect balance. OGI will miss him, he has been a powerful force there over the years.

Enjoy your retirement Dick. Knowing you, you'll be doing more math and computer science than ever. And make sure you still keep attending 2.8!

Carol Hendrickson

It was a pleasure to join OGI shortly after the CSE Department was formed, and to watch it grow in size, stature, and recognition, into the fine group it is today. Congratulations, Dick!

Zhao Ni

What a great pioneer! Thanks and congratulations!

Walid Taha

Thanks for making the perfect CS department for me, Dick!

Judy Cota-Robles

Thanks for your great contributions! SUNY Stonybrook is one of the schools I'm applying to graduate school next year.

Songtao Xia

His demeanor is so inviting to a student who wants to talk to him.

Paul Hudak I first met Dick around 1980 when I was a grad student at the University of Utah. He was visiting some colleagues there and was clearly one of those well-respected professors that I was presumably aspiring to be one day. It has been my privelege to eventually be able to say the he and I are colleagues.

Dick is one of the few people in the world who is not only a talented researcher and skilled teacher, but also an extraordinary administrator and inspired leader. Dick always had a broader vision of what CS was all about, and through his hard work and dedication he was able to see that vision come to fruition in his founding of the Computer Science Department at OGI. The quantity and quality of people that he amassed in a very short period of time was amazing. The CS Department at OGI is clearly Dick's greatest legacy.

While he was working hard to ensure that CS thrived at the highest levels at OGI, Dick was also busy establishing a stellar reputation in the field by building his own research program: writing NSF proposals, hiring good people, enduring countless DARPA PI meetings, and actually doing research and writing up results. It's amazing to me that one man could achieve all this.

Dick is really quite a talented mathemetician. I think that the beauty of the mathematical and logical foundations of functional programming is what attracted Dick and me and most of our colleagues into the area. But Dick is especially good at the math, and I think that this aspect of his work has probably been underappreciated.

Over the years, my fondest memories of Dick have been at the many wonderful IFIP WG2.8 meetings that we have attended all over the world. How lucky the members of this "club" are! Going to a meeting with hard-working but fun-loving and adventure-seeking nerds that will just as happily bend your ear about FP research in the lecture room, over a beer in the bar, climbing up a glacier in the Cascades, hiking the hills of Scotland, skiing the powder in Switzerland, gambling in Las Vegas, or sunbathing on a beach in Rio, created an atmosphere of hard work and exhilarating play that is unsurpassed. These meetings were well suited not only to Dick's adventurous side, but also to that of his lovely wife Nancy, who wasn't about to stay at home and miss out on the fun!

Above all else, I must add that Dick is a true gentleman. He always has kind words for everyone, shows deep respect for his colleagues, and is willing to stretch out a helping hand to those in need. It has been a great privilege for me to know and work with Dick, and I look forward to sharing more adventures with him at future WG2.8 meetings!

Congratulations, Dick!

Patrick Logan Took a class years ago with him on denotational semantics. Unforgettable, it solidified my interests in formal methods.
Iver Band I don't know Dick personally, but I am grateful for the department he has established. I really enjoy attending CSE classes part-time at OGI. The classes are interesting and help me succeed in my job as an Information Security Architect at HP.
David Smith He saved SUNY CS dept from having to live in a wet basement, although he then left us to live in a building with many skeletons in the closet(s)!
Robert Cohn I once took a CS class from Prof. Keburtz in which we had to do group projects. Really good experience.
Robert Jones Very friendly and approachable. Not all academics are!
Peter White A great logician and communicator
Robert Li Let's remember that computer science is the second of Dick's distinguished career. His first was in electromagnetics, a field that is also currently very hot because of wireless applications.
Mayer Schwartz A gentleman and a scholar
David Di Nucci In addition to his obvious direct impact on students as an instructor and mentor, Dick's broader impact, for me and many many others, was his assembling of a diverse, accessible staff and program at OGC/OGI/OHSU, lowering boundaries between theoretical and practical lines of inquiry.
Sudarshan Murthy Thank you for your contribution to computer science education. Happy retirement.
Gaurav Mehra He is great !

Paul E. McKenney

I feel quite privileged to be able to enjoy the benefits of the institution that Dick Kieburtz founded. I wish him the best of everything in his retirement!!!
Jonathan Walpole

I was once told that the good thing about Dick is that if you ask him what he thinks, he will tell you! And the bad thing is that if you ask him what he thinks, he'll tell you! I have always admired this property in him. He has been an outstanding leader and a major inspiration to me.
Judy Bayard Cushing

In 1989, when I came to "OGC" as a student, Dick was chair of the department and of my program committee, and was teaching his famous compiler course. He was a model for us students, in terms of the rigor and (in fact) beauty of his lectures, the initial opacity but ultimately endearing and pedagogical value of his assignments, and his pursuit of serious research in the face of the administrative burdens of being departmental chair.

After I graduated and had my first NSF grant, I visited Dick at NSF, where (on leave from OGI) he was director for the Division of Computer and Computation Research at NSF. Dick once again offered excellent advice, mentorship and even specific ideas! Thank you Dick for all the good advice and continued collegiality - I'm passing it on to my own students, in the spirit of (Lewis Hyde's) The Gift, the spirit in which it was offered!

Bill Agresti I regret that I will be unable to join you at theSymposium celebrating Dr. Kieburtz. I was privileged — and that is the right word — to work under his guidance at NSF when he so ably led the CCR division. Dick is a real treasure for our computing community, absolutely dedicated to advancing the science that underlies what we all do. When you add to this that he is a delightful colleague and a generous mentor, it is altogether fitting that his career be celebrated. Congratulations, Dick, and thank you.
Brian Hansen Great guy — I learned a lot from him.

Helen Gill

We reflect on Dick's splendid contributions: programming language research, graduate education, leadership and service at NSF, and some other surprising adventures (e.g., control systems). Dick's wisdom, humor, curiosity, and intelligence pervade and overshadow it all.

William L. Bain

Dick: Thanks so much for all you have done to create and build OGI's computer science department, and very best wishes to you and Nancy on your retirement.

Xiaoguang Li Great mentor and friend to students. Congratulations to his life achievement!
Jeff Yarne Dr Kieburtz, I met you in the early 1980's when I helped install a donated Intel hypercube at OGI. You have accomplished much since that time at OGI and I hope you will find the next phase of your life equally fulfilling.
Taniya Mishra Dick Kieburtz' Automata class rocks!
John Cherniavsky I first ran into Dick Kieburtz at Stanford in the Academic Year 1968-1969. I was an undergraduate attempting to understand the latest in semantics from a course by Bob Floyd and Dick was there as part of an NSF transition program to encourage engineers to enter the new field of computer science. I then went to Cornell for a Ph.D. and for my first job ended up being hired by Dick on the faculty of SUNY Stony Brook. There we did some research together, Dick was instrumental in my tenure case, and we both left for greener pastures in 1980 - Dick to OGI and myself to NSF. In the 1990's, once again our paths crossed. I headed an office at NSF in the CISE Directorate and Dick came on board as a Division Director for CCR also in the CISE Directorate. In my experience Dick exemplifies the scientist/manager. He built two strong departments - one at SUNY Stony Brook and one at OGI - at the same time pursuing a principled pursuit of knowledge in the semantics of programming languages. He also had some ideas that were before their time. At NSF he advocated a return to graduate traineeships - a direction just now being expanded by NSF. He was one of the earliest pioneers in the use of formal methods to reason about programs. It gives me great pleasure to be at this celebration.
Frank D. Anger
Dick was the best leader and administrator I ever worked for.
Rita V. Rodriguez
Besides his many other accomplishments, Dick has long recognized the global nature of computer science research and the collaborative role the US should follow. While at NSF, he energized international efforts on collaborative research.

Oregon Health & Science University