UVA Engineering computer science professor Jack W. Davidson has been named an Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Fellow in recognition of his contributions to compilers, computer security and computer science education.
The institute’s board of directors annually awards the designation to those who have contributed to the advancement or application of engineering, bringing significant value to society. Fellow is the highest level of membership and is recognized by the technical community as an important career achievement. The award is received by less than 1% of the total voting membership.
Davidson received his Ph.D. in computer science from the University of Arizona in 1981. The same year, he joined UVA Engineering as a professor in the Department of Computer Science. During his 38-year career at UVA, he has been the principal investigator on numerous high-profile grants to develop comprehensive methods for protecting software from malicious attacks.
His research accomplishments have made him internationally recognized in cybersecurity. Davidson leads the University’s Cyber Innovation and Society Institute, launched in 2018.
The Cyber Innovation and Society Institute brings faculty together from technical and humanities fields across the University to understand the impact of cyber systems on society, especially how they affect human values such as privacy, freedom, democracy and individual autonomy; to understand the risks and consequences of attacks on cyber systems and strategies to respond to attacks; to ensure that these systems operate securely and dependably as intended; and the data they collect and process is secure from improper use.
This year, Davidson and the Cyber Innovation and Society Institute were awarded a national grant from The Public Interest Technology University Network to establish a course aimed at teaching graduate students to deeply examine the complex ethical, legal and policy implications of new technologies. The graduate course, Innovation in the Public Interest, will be offered for the first time in the spring of 2020.
Davidson is a former recipient of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Taylor L. Booth Education Award for outstanding achievement in computer science and engineering education. He has also been active in the Association for Computing Machinery, making many contributions leading to his current tenure on the association’s executive council. Davidson was associate editor on two separate association publications: ACM Transactions on Programming Languages and Systems and ACM Transactions on Architecture and Code Optimization. He also served as chair of the Special Interest Group on Programming Languages. In his role as part of the executive council, he serves as co-chair of the association’s Publications Board.
“It is a great honor to be selected for recognition as IEEE Fellow. It is also a reflection of the supportive environment provided by UVA Engineering that enables faculty to achieve their scientific and professional goals,” Davidson said.