Public Release: 

Rice University IT professor named SURA Distinguished Scientist

Southeastern Universities Research Association

The Southeastern Universities Research Association announced that Moshe Y. Vardi, Rice University's Karen Ostrum George Distinguished Service Professor in Computational Engineering, will receive SURA's 2013 Distinguished Scientist Award. The award honors a research scientist whose extraordinary work fulfills the SURA mission of "fostering excellence in scientific research."

Vardi, who also serves as Director of Rice's Ken Kennedy Institute for Information Technology, will be presented the award and its $10,000 honorarium on April 4 at the SURA Board of Trustees meeting at the University of Maryland.

"SURA looks forward to celebrating the extraordinary work of this researcher, whose career places him among the best in his field," said Charles W. Steger, President of Virginia Tech and Chair of the SURA Council of Presidents and Executive Committee. "As one of the top 40 cited computer scientists, Dr. Vardi's contributions to the field have enabled greater science to occur, which distinguishes him for this prestigious award."

Vardi is the author or co-author of more than 400 articles in the area of logic and computation, and has co-authored two books, Reasoning About Knowledge, and Finite Model Theory and Its Applications. Based on the "h-index," a metric that measures both the productivity and impact of scholarly works, Vardi - with an h-index of 80 - ranks in the top 40 researchers in his field worldwide.

After earning his Bachelor of Science degree in physics and computer science from Bar-Ilan University in Israel, Vardi earned his Master of Science from The Weizmann Institute. His Ph.D. in computer science came from Hebrew University in Jerusalem in 1981. His first post-doctoral work was in the Department of Computer Science at Stanford University. After two stints as a scientist for IBM Research and continued work at Stanford, Vardi first joined the faculty at Rice in 1993. He served as a consultant at Bell Labs and was a visiting faculty member at the Intel Design Center in Haifa, Israel. Following additional visiting professorships, he became director of the Ken Kennedy Institute at Rice in 2001. The institute brings together scholars with complementary expertise to solve complex challenges in the computing and IT research field.

Some of Vardi's many other awards and honors include Outstanding Innovation Awards from IBM, the Presidential Award from the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM), as well as ACM's Edgar F. Codd Innovations Award - a top recognition for database-research accomplishments. He is a Guggenheim Fellow, ACM Fellow, a member on the U.S. National Academy of Engineering, and a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. He holds honorary doctorates from the Saarland University in Germany and Orleans University in France. Vardi received a Pascal Medal from the European Academy of Sciences, the IEEE Computer Society Harry H. Goode Memorial Award, and the Distinguished Achievements Award from the European Association for Theoretical Computer Science.

"SURA not only is proud to honor Professor Vardi for his research accomplishments, but also for his talents as a lecturer and leader within the computer science community," said Jerry P. Draayer, President and CEO of SURA.

The SURA Distinguished Scientist Award was established in 2006 to commemorate the organization's 25th Anniversary. SURA's Development & Relations Committee manages the solicitation, screening and selection of the recipient for this award from a SURA member institution. Dr. David Lee, Vice President for Research, University of Georgia, chairs the selection committee. Each of SURA's 62 member institutions was eligible to make a nomination for the Distinguished Scientist Award.

The award and honorarium will be presented to Dr. Vardi at a private reception in his honor on April 4 at University House in College Park, co-hosted by University of Maryland President Wallace Loh.

Additionally, SURA presents a Distinguished Friend of Science Award presented in conjunction with its Fall Board of Trustees meeting. Past honorees include U.S. Senators Lamar Alexander of Tennessee and John Warner of Virginia, as well as Norm Augustine, former Virginia Governor and U.S. Senator Charles Robb, and the Task Force for American Innovations. The 2011 recipient of that award was former White House science advisor and National Science Foundation director, Neal Lane - now at Rice University.


The Southeastern Universities Research Association (SURA) is a consortium of over 60 leading research institutions in the southern United States and the District of Columbia established in 1980 as a non-stock, nonprofit corporation. SURA serves as an entity through which colleges, universities, and other organizations may cooperate with one another, and with government and industry in acquiring, developing, and using laboratories and other research facilities and in furthering knowledge and the application of that knowledge in the physical, biological, and other natural sciences and engineering. For more information, visit

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