Dr. Maria Klawe: Distinguished, Celebrated, World-Renowned Computer Scientist, past Dean of Science at the University of British Columbia and current Dean of Engineering and Professor of Computer Science at Princeton University

This week, Stephen Ibaraki, I.S.P., DFNPA, CNP, has an exclusive audio [MP3] interview with the eminent and celebrated computer scientist, Dr. Maria Klawe.

Maria Klawe is currently Dean of Engineering and a professor of Computer Science at Princeton University. She moved to Princeton in January 2003 from the University of British Columbia where she served as Dean of Science from 1998 to 2002, Vice-President of Student and Academic Services from 1995 to 1998, and Head of the Department of Computer Science from 1988 to 1995. Prior to UBC, Maria spent eight years with IBM Research in California, and two years at the University of Toronto. She received her Ph.D. (1977) and B.Sc. (1973) in Mathematics from the University of Alberta.

Maria has made significant research contributions in several areas of mathematics and computer science including functional analysis, discrete mathematics, theoretical computer science, interactive-multimedia for mathematics education and assistive technology. While at UBC she was the founder and director of the EGEMS project on the design and use of computer games in enhancing mathematics education for grades 4 to 9. More recently she helped found the Aphasia Project, a multidisciplinary project at UBC and Princeton, investigating how technology can be designed to support individuals with aphasia in their daily life.

During the decade from 1993 to 2002 EGEMS developed several innovative and successful prototype games, and did seminal work in identifying important factors in the design of effective educational software. EGEMS research also studied the role of gender in technology-based learning environments and identified significant gender differences in how students interact with computers and software. This research was extended under the auspices of the NSERC-IBM Chair for Women in Science and Engineering that Maria held from 1997 to 2002, and the SWIFT (Supporting Women in Information Technology) project on how to attract and retain women in information technology careers.

Maria is past President of the Association of Computing Machinery (ACM) in New York, Chair of the Board of Trustees of the Anita Borg Institute for Women and Technology in Palo Alto, and a Trustee of the Institute for Pure and Applied Mathematics in Los Angeles and the Mathematical Sciences Research Institute in Berkeley.

In the past Maria has held leadership positions in the American Mathematical Society, the Computing Research Association, the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics, and the Canadian Mathematical Society. Maria was elected as a Fellow of the Association of Computing Machinery in 1995. Other awards include Vancouver YWCA Women of Distinction Award in Science and Technology (1997), Wired Woman Pioneer (2001), Canadian New Media Educator of the Year (2001), BC Science Council Champion of the Year (2001), University of Alberta Distinguished Alumna (2003), Nico Habermann Award (2004), and honorary doctorates from Dalhousie University (2005), Queen's University (2004), the University of Waterloo (2003), and Ryerson University (2001).

Maria recently presented a talk at the ACM Special Interest Group on Computer Science Education (SIGCSE) 2005 Symposium focusing on increasing the number of women majoring in Computer Science.

Interview Overview:

The interview encompasses several major areas:

(a) Maria's work: at Princeton; her research interests and significant achievements; the ACM symposium and increasing the numbers of women in computer science / engineering; and her work with Electronic Games for Education in Math and Science (EGEMS).

(b) Questions arising from the computer science faculty summit where Dr. Klawe fielded questions with Bill Gates. Discussion areas include: declining student enrolment and its implications; funding in computer science; roles that professional bodies can play in improving the situation.

(c) Maria's view on the future; China, and India; and future contributions.

(d) Maria's personal interests; most useful technology; passion; and a little bit of fun too!

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

Here's the latest blog on the interview where you can provide your comments in an interactive dialogue. And you can share them with us and Maria too.

We would like to hear your opinions on Maria's views on IT, the industry, and education.

The latest blog on some selected interviews can be found in the IT Managers Connection (IMC) forum where you can provide your comments in an interactive dialogue.

Interview Time Index (MM:SS) and Topic

1:03: Vision for Princeton
3:40: Where the work is heading
5:06: Research interests such as the Aphasia project
6:40: Most significant events or achievements
11:31: Increasing women in science and engineering
14:20: EGEMS project findings
17:29: Decline in computer science enrollment
19:53: Implications of this decline
20:14: Reversing the decline in student interest
23:52: Decline in funding for computer science
26.43: What can be done?
27:23: Predications for the future and what IT professionals must do to prepare
29:36: China’s progression and their impact
30:20: India’s progression and their impact
32:05: Students from China and India and the implications
33:28: Future contributions to make a difference
34:50: Favorite activities
35:11: Favorite gadget
35:30: Favorite passion outside of work