Five decades. Half a century. Duke CS celebrated 50 years in 2023.
The Duke Computer Science 50th Anniversary Celebration was an incredible success, a true testament to the vibrant spirit of our CS @ Duke family. We were joined by many remarkable alumni and friends who filled the two-day event with warmth, nostalgia, and an undeniable sense of togetherness as we celebrated the accomplishments of the department with a program of distinguished talks from industry and academia.
We are immensely thankful to all the speakers and attendees who contributed their time and insights, making this event both informative and inspiring. We would also like to express our deep appreciation to Dean Gary Bennett for delivering an inspiring speech at the beginning of the event, setting the tone for the celebration. Additionally, we are grateful to President Price for his heartfelt video greetings, which added a touch of prestige to our gathering.
As we celebrate this remarkable milestone, let's remember that it's not just about the past 50 years, but also a launchpad for our future endeavors. The department remains steadfast in its commitment to academic excellence and community service. Together, let's embark on the next 50 years with the same passion for innovation, the same thirst for discovery, and, of course, the same sense of fun that has defined our journey thus far.
- Jian Pei, Chair
- Owen Astrachan
- Susan Athey
- Gary Bennett
- Mollie Breen
- Dan Clancy
- Meka Egwuekwe
- Amy Hutchins
- David Kotz
- Chini Krishnan
- Bruce Maggs
- Rachel Pottinger
- Kelly Shaw
Owen Astrachan is a Professor of the Practice of Computer Science at Duke University where he is the Associate Director of Undergraduate Studies. At Duke, he has taught roughly 12,000 undergraduates over more than 30 years. He is known for his work in curriculum development and methods of teaching computer science. He is an NSF Career award winner, was one of the first National Science Foundation CISE Distinguished Education Fellows, and is a recipient of the ACM Outstanding Educator Award. He was the principal investigator on the multi-year NSF/College Board project that led to the development of the AP Computer Science Principles course and exam.
Dr. Astrachan earned a BA in Mathematics from Dartmouth College. He has earned a Master of Arts in Teaching and an MS and PhD in Computer Science from Duke.
Professor Athey is The Economics of Technology Professor at Stanford Graduate School of Business. She received her bachelor’s degree from Duke and her PhD from Stanford, and she holds an honorary doctorate from Duke. She previously taught at the economics departments at MIT, Stanford, and Harvard. She is an elected member of the National Academy of Science and is the recipient of the John Bates Clark Medal, awarded by the American Economics Association to the economist under 40 who has made the greatest contributions to thought and knowledge.
Her current research focuses on the economics of digitization, marketplace design, and the intersection of econometrics and machine learning. She has worked on several application areas, including timber auctions, internet search, online advertising, the news media, and the application of digital technology to social impact applications.
As one of the first “tech economists,” she served as consulting chief economist for Microsoft Corporation for six years, and has served on the boards of multiple private and public technology firms. She also served as a long-term advisor to the British Columbia Ministry of Forests, helping architect and implement their auction-based pricing system. She was a founding associate director of the Stanford Institute for Human-Centered Artificial Intelligence, and she is the founding director of the Golub Capital Social Impact Lab at Stanford GSB. In 2022, she took leave from Stanford to serve as Chief Economist at the U.S. Department of Justice Antitrust Division. Professor Athey is the 2023 President of the American Economics Association, where she previously served as vice president and elected member of the Executive Committee.
Gary G. Bennett, Ph.D., is dean of the Trinity College of Arts & Sciences at Duke University. As dean, Dr. Bennett is responsible for defining and articulating the strategic mission of Trinity College, ensuring a world-class liberal arts education in a research environment for all students, and attracting, retaining, and nurturing a diverse community of distinguished faculty.
Dr. Bennett is a professor of psychology & neuroscience, global health, medicine, and nursing, and is the founding director of the Duke Digital Health Science Center. He is a global leader in designing, testing, and disseminating digital behavior change interventions. Before assuming his role as dean of Trinity College in February 2023, Dr. Bennett served as vice provost for undergraduate education. Dr. Bennett has also co-founded three digital health ventures. Crimson Health Solutions developed digital disease management interventions and was acquired by Health Dialog in 2007. In 2014, he co¬ founded Scale Down, a digital obesity treatment startup based on the science of daily self-weighing. Scale Down was acquired by Anthem in 2017. He is a co-founder of Coeus Health, a leading provider of health APIs. Dr. Bennett advises leading digital health and consumer electronic organizations on the science of health behavior change.
Before joining Duke in 2009, Dr. Bennett served on the Harvard School of Public Health and the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute faculties. Dr. Bennett earned a bachelor's degree at Morehouse College, a MA and PhD in clinical health psychology at Duke University, completed a clinical internship in medical psychology at the Duke University Medical Center, and was the Alonzo Yerby postdoctoral fellow in social epidemiology at the Harvard School of Public Health. Dr. Bennett lives in Raleigh with his wife (also a Duke alum) and his two daughters.
Mollie Breen is the CEO & Co-founder of Perygee, which helps organizations securely embrace IoT/OT devices in an increasingly connected world. She is passionate about improving the security of IoT devices and actively contributes to defining the standards for medical IoT through the IEEE Clinical IoT Data and Device working group. Before starting Perygee, she was an Applied Research Mathematician at the National Security Agency (NSA), the first NSA mathematician at the U.S. Secret Service, and co-leader of the AI/ML Portfolio for the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff at the Pentagon.
Passionate about business and encouraging women to pursue STEM, Ms. Breen was featured on the reality television show Girl Starter as one of eight women starting businesses, which aired on TLC and the Discovery Channel in 2017. She joined the first cohort of 29 students in Harvard's joint MS/MBA program earning an MS in Engineering from Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering & Applied Sciences and an MBA from Harvard Business School. She has a BS in Mathematics and Computer Science from Duke.
Dan Clancy is Chief Executive Officer at Twitch. He is responsible for Twitch’s vision and strategy, and ensuring that Twitch’s product, technology, content, and operations are optimized to support and empower Twitch’s global community of streamers. He previously served as President and EVP of Product. Before joining Twitch, Dr. Clancy was the VP of Product and Engineering at Nextdoor leading product, engineering, and data science. He held senior engineering roles at Google including engineering director for Google Book Search and leading product and engineering for YouTube.
Prior to Google, Dr. Clancy worked at the NASA Ames Research Center as the Director of the Exploration Technologies Directorate which was responsible for the AI and computer science research for the agency. In this role Dr. Clancy was involved in numerous agency initiatives including participating in an agency team that developed an earlier plan to return men to the Moon and eventually Mars.
Dr. Clancy received his PhD from the University of Texas at Austin in artificial intelligence and Bachelor of Arts from Duke in 1985 in computer science and theater. He lives in White Salmon, Wash., roughly an hour east of Portland, with his wife and his two grown children where he kayaks, bikes and plays music. He also streams regularly on Twitch every Wednesday at twitch.tv/djclancy.
Meka Egwuekwe is co-founder and Executive Director of CodeCrew, a Memphis-based non-profit that empowers youth and adults from underrepresented communities to be tech innovators. He has over 20 years of experience in the software development industry. Prior to founding CodeCrew, he served as the Director of Development at Lokion Interactive from 2007 to 2016. He has also worked as a Consultant at Hilton Hotels Corporation, Lead Software Engineer at Metatomix, Inc., and Software Architect at Online Insight. He began his career as a Software Design Engineer at Hewlett-Packard in 1997.
Throughout his professional career, Mr. Egwuekwe has made time to also work with youth and education in various capacities. He has been a local leader in the youth coding movement since founding the Memphis Chapter of Black Girls Code in late 2012. He is also a longtime mentor in StartCo’s business and technology accelerators where he has mentored various companies in tech.
Mr. Egwuekwe has a B.S. and M.S. in Computer Science from Morehouse College and Duke, respectively. He resides in Memphis with his wife, Pamela, and their two daughters.
Amy Hutchins founded Unearth, a Seattle-based software company focused on revolutionizing construction productivity through the introduction of place-based progress documentation. Since 2016, her company has developed productivity software for construction, telecom, the federal government and electric, water and natural gas utilities — reducing risk for field teams while saving infrastructure providers time and money. Unearth was acquired by Procore Technologies in September 2023 and Amy now leads the Location & Mapping platform team to continue pursuing the vision of enabling construction through map-based experiences.
Prior to Unearth, she led Product Management for Buuteeq, a digital marketing platform for the hospitality industry that was acquired by the Priceline Group in 2014 and rebranded as BookingSuite, a division of Booking.com. Prior to jumping into the startup world, she spent nearly a decade in various roles at Microsoft: the last being Senior Program Manager for Microsoft Account - the consumer identity service used by Office, Xbox, Outlook and Windows. She earned a BA in Computer Science at Duke.
David Kotz is the Provost, and the Pat and John Rosenwald Professor in the Department of Computer Science, at Dartmouth College. He previously served as Associate Dean of the Faculty for the Sciences, as a Core Director at the Center for Technology and Behavioral Health, and as the Executive Director of the Institute for Security Technology Studies. His current research involves security and privacy in smart homes, and wireless networks. He has published over 250 refereed papers, obtained $89m in grant funding, and mentored over 100 research students and postdocs.
He is an ACM Fellow, an IEEE Fellow, a 2008 Fulbright Fellow to India, a 2019 Visiting Professor at ETH Zürich, and an elected member of Phi Beta Kappa. He received his AB in Computer Science and Physics from Dartmouth, and his PhD in Computer Science from Duke.
Chini Krishnan is Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer of GetInsured, leading the charge to bring the SaaS approach to public sector healthcare. Even before the Affordable Care Act (ACA), he understood the need for a SaaS-based health insurance exchange solution, and his foresight enabled GetInsured to secure a principal role in developing the seminal exchanges for California, New Mexico, Idaho, and Mississippi. Today, GetInsured operates exchanges in California, Idaho, Pennsylvania, Minnesota, Nevada, and New Jersey. He brings more than 20 years of experience in the high technology industry to public sector healthcare technology.
Prior to GetInsured, he founded and served as Chairman and Chief Technology Officer at Valicert Inc., a leader in public-key infrastructure (PKI) validation. Valicert went public in 2000 and ultimately merged with Tumbleweed Communications in 2003. Prior to founding Valicert, He was Product Marketing Manager at Enterprise Integration Technologies (EIT), where he was seminally involved in releasing the world’s first secure browser. He holds an MS in Computer Science from Duke and a BS in Computer Science from the Indian Institute of Technology.
Bruce Maggs is the Pelham Wilder Distinguished Professor of Computer Science at Duke University and the Director of Engineering at Emerald Innovations. His research focuses on distributed systems, including content delivery networks, computer networks, and computer and network security. He was a founding employee and served as vice president for Research and Development for Akamai Technologies. Prior to Akamai, he joined the Computer Science department at Carnegie Mellon University, rising to the rank of full professor with tenure. Before that he worked for NEC Research Institute as a research scientist. Dr. Maggs was a co-creator of Avatar, a popular early multiplayer online game developed at the University of Illinois in the late 1970s.
He was elected as an ACM Fellow in 2018 for "contributions to the development of content distribution networks and the theory of computer networks". He earned his B.S., M.S, and Ph.D. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Rachel Pottinger is a Professor in Computer Science at the University of British Columbia. She received her PhD in computer science from the University of Washington in 2004 and her BS from Duke University in 1997. Her main research interest is data management, particularly semantic data integration, how to manage metadata, how to manage data that is currently not well supported by databases, and how to make data easier to understand and explore.
She is a member of the Computing Research Association's (CRA) Board of Directors and the VLDB Journal editorial board. She is the Secretary/Treasurer of the ACM Special Interest Group On Management of Data (SIGMOD). She is an Associate Editor for SIGMOD 2022. In the past she has been a General Co-Chair of SIGMOD 2020, the Associate Head for the Undergraduate Program of the Department of Computer Science from 2018-2020 and has been on numerous program committees.
She is the winner of the 2007 Anita Borg Institute's Denice Denton Emerging Leader award. Outside of work, she is married to Steve Wolfman and the mother of Naomi and Eleanor.
Kelly Shaw is a Professor of Computer Science at Williams College. Her research explores ways to improve the performance and power of parallel computer architectures, including heterogeneous architectures. This work includes proposing software and hardware optimizations as well as developing tools that help programmers understand when specific optimizations or hardware are applicable.
Dr. Shaw received her MS and Ph.D. from Stanford University in computer science and her BS in computer science from Duke. Her graduate work focused on how to distribute computation and data across chip multiprocessors in order to take advantage of available hardware resources while reducing communication distance on-chip. She has since worked on projects related to the characterization of emerging application domains and on ways to effectively improve the use of graphics processors with respect to power and performance. More recently, she has begun exploring the correctness of Internet of Things platforms and applications with respect to data consistency.
Dr. Shaw is also passionate about engaging undergraduate students in research and supporting a diverse computing community. She currently serves as co-chair of the Computing Research Association’s Education committee and was a member of the first cohort of the Cultural Competence in Computing (3C) Fellows Program.
Friday, September 29
- Welcome: Dean Gary Bennett
- Keynote speaker: Susan Athey
- Keynote speaker: Dan Clancy
Saturday, September 30
- Welcome: Jian Pei, Chair
- Keynote speaker: Meka Egwuekwe
- Panel discussion "Trends in CS Education" with David Kotz, Rachel Pottinger, Kelly Shaw and moderated by Owen Astrachan
- Panel discussion "Innovation & Entrepreneurship" with Amy Hutchins, Chini Krishnan, Mollie Breen and moderated by Bruce Maggs
Contribute to Duke Computer Science in Honor of Its 50th Anniversary!
In honor of the 50th anniversary, consider contributing to the Department of Computer Science Gift Fund, which benefits the university, our department, and our students. You may choose a one-time or recurring gift in any amount. This fund makes possible many of the financial aid awards and fellowships, hands-on learning experiences, and faculty-mentored research opportunities available to Duke students. Examples include the CS+ summer research program and the CS 4+1 MS program. Your contribution, no matter how large or small, is important in addressing the greatest needs of the department.