Public Release: 

Tufts University professor Diane L. Souvaine named fellow of the Association of Computing Machinery

Research has improved data storage and retrieval

Tufts University

MEDFORD/SOMERVILLE, Mass. -Tufts University Professor of Computer Science Diane L. Souvaine has been elected as a fellow to the Association for Computing Machinery.

Souvaine, a professor in Tufts School of Engineering, was named a fellow for contributions to computational geometry and for her work on behalf of the computing community by ACM, the world's largest educational and scientific computing society. Her research in computational geometry, the study of algorithms to understand geometric problems, has implications in retrieval and storage of data.

"Geometric data structures have become pervasive and an integral part of every day life," said Souvaine. "These structures can be queried to provide driving directions or the name of the nearest Italian restaurant. The goal is to organize data so that it needs less storage space, and so that information can be retrieved quickly."

Souvaine is also a member of the National Science Board, the governing board of the National Science Foundation, the body that acts as an advisory body to the president and Congress. She was one of only eight female ACM members elected as a fellow this year.

From 2002-2009, Souvaine served as chair of the Department of Computer Science at Tufts. She also holds an appointment in the Department of Mathematics in the School of Arts and Sciences.

Souvaine received her doctorate from Princeton University and her bachelor's degree from Radcliffe College. Before coming to Tufts in 1998, Souvaine was a faculty member in the Department of Computer Science at Rutgers University for 12 years where she helped found the National Science Foundation's Science and Technology Center for Discrete Mathematics and Theoretical Computer Science.

In 2006, Souvaine founded the Discrete Math Workshop Institute (DMW) at Tufts, working with the Massachusetts Board of Higher Education, curriculum and teaching specialists in local school districts, and Tufts colleagues in the education and mathematics departments.

Later known as the Institute on Problem Solving and Discrete Mathematics (PSDM), this program has provided math teachers in grades five through nine with opportunities to enhance their mathematical knowledge and approaches to teaching problem solving.

"The most powerful experience for our staff is knowing that when teachers leave our institute, they have an immediate impact on children," Souvaine said. "By training teachers we are indirectly influencing hundreds of children who will have enhanced computational thinking skills to draw upon."

This year 46 members of ACM were elected to fellow. ACM will formally recognize the 2011 fellows at its annual awards banquet on June 16, 2012, in San Francisco.

"These women and men, who are some of the leading thinkers and practitioners in computer science and engineering, are changing how the world lives and works," said ACM President Alain Chesnais. "They have mastered the tools of computing and computer science to address the many significant challenges that confront populations across the globe."

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Tufts University School of Engineering Located on Tufts' Medford/Somerville campus, the School of Engineering offers a rigorous engineering education in a unique environment that blends the intellectual and technological resources of a world-class research university with the strengths of a top-ranked liberal arts college. Close partnerships with Tufts' excellent undergraduate, graduate and professional schools, coupled with a long tradition of collaboration, provide a strong platform for interdisciplinary education and scholarship. The School of Engineering's mission is to educate engineers committed to the innovative and ethical application of science and technology in addressing the most pressing societal needs, to develop and nurture twenty-first century leadership qualities in its students, faculty, and alumni, and to create and disseminate transformational new knowledge and technologies that further the well-being and sustainability of society in such cross-cutting areas as human health, environmental sustainability, alternative energy, and the human-technology interface.

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