Professor Stein Named Prestigious ACM Fellow

Clifford Stein, professor of industrial engineering and operations research (IEOR) and of computer science, has just been named an ACM (Association for Computing Machinery) Fellow. He is one of 52 ACM members recognized for their contributions to computing that are fundamentally advancing technology in health care, cybersecurity, science, communications, entertainment, business, and education.

"I am honored to receive this recognition and to be joining such a distinguished set of fellow nominees,” says Stein, who also chairs the IEOR Department.

Stein’s research is focused on the areas of combinatorial optimization, scheduling, and network algorithms. He specializes in algorithms that estimate the answer to problems that are difficult to solve, like ones in operations research and computer science that grow significantly more complex as the number of inputs grows. He studies the fundamental structure of problems to develop new algorithms, and has recently been developing innovative ways to apply scheduling to computer processors in order to save energy.

“These men and women are advancing the art and science of computing with enormous impacts for how we live and work,” said ACM President Vinton G. Cerf of the new class of fellows. “The impact of their contributions highlights the role of computing in creating advances that range from commonplace applications to extraordinary breakthroughs, and from the theoretical to the practical. Some recipients have also helped to broaden participation in computing, particularly among underrepresented groups, and to expand its impact across multiple disciplines.”

Stein, who joined Columbia Engineering in 2001, was elected chair of the IEOR Department in July 2008. He becomes the seventh ACM Fellow at the School, joining Alfred V. Aho (1996), E. G. Coffman (1994, Lifetime Member), Kathleen McKeown (2003), Joseph F. Traub (1994), the late David L. Waltz (1999), and Mihalis Yannakakis (1998).

Stein has published many influential papers in the leading conferences and journals in his field, and has occupied a variety of editorial positions. His work has been supported by the National Science Foundation and Sloan Foundation. He is the winner of several prestigious awards, including an NSF Career Award, an Alfred Sloan Research Fellowship, and the Karen Wetterhahn Award for Distinguished Creative or Scholarly Achievement. Introduction to Algorithms, which he co-wrote with T. Cormen, C. Leiserson, and R. Rivest, has sold more than 500,000 copies and is currently the best-selling textbook in algorithms. It has been translated into over 15 languages.

Stein and his fellow 2012 honorees, who exemplify the highest achievements in computing research and development from the world’s leading universities, corporations, and research labs, will be formally recognized at ACM’s annual Awards Banquet on June 15, 2013, in San Francisco, CA. Additional information about the ACM 2012 Fellows, the awards event, as well as previous ACM Fellows and award winners is available at

ACM is the world’s largest educational and scientific computing society, uniting computing educators, researchers, and professionals to inspire dialogue, share resources, and address the field’s challenges. The ACM Fellows Program, initiated in 1993, celebrates the exceptional contributions of the leading members in the computing field.

–by Holly Evarts

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