Joseph O’Rourke, Olin Professor of Computer Science, professor of mathematics, and associate provost and dean for academic development, was named this week as a 2012 Fellow with the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM), the world’s largest educational and scientific computing society.
The ACM Fellows Program, established in 1993, recognized O’Rourke “for contributions to computational geometry and for broadening participation in computing.”
“This recognition is for Smith and the college’s computer science department as much as it is an individual distinction,” said O’Rourke. “It is a testimony to Smith’s support of a culture of research, inquiry and discovery, for which I am grateful.”
O’Rourke is joined in the prestigious distinction by a class of 51 other fellows named from several leading technological corporations and research universities internationally, including Carnegie Mellon, Columbia, Cornell, Harvard, Stanford and Tel Aviv universities, and the universities of California (Irvine, San Diego and Berkeley), Massachusetts (Amherst), Edinburgh, Illinois (Ubana-Champaign), Calgary, Pennsylvania, Texas (Austin), Michigan and Washington.
Among ACM fellows from educational institutions, O’Rourke is the only one whose affiliation is a college rather than a university.
“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 in announcing the 2012 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.”
O’Rourke was assistant and then associate professor at Johns Hopkins University, before moving to Smith in 1988 to found and chair the Department of Computer Science.
O’Rourke’s research is in the field of computational geometry, developing algorithms for geometric computations. He has won several awards, including a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1987, and the National Science Foundation Director’s Award for Distinguished Teaching Scholars in 2001.
His early research is summarized in the monograph Art Gallery Theorems and Algorithms. He subsequently wrote a textbook in computational geometry, and co-edited the Handbook of Discrete and Computational Geometry. Recently he published, with Erik Demaine, a monograph, Geometric Folding Algorithms: Linkages, Origami, Polyhedra, and he has a new textbook with Satyan Devadoss on Discrete and Computational Geometry.
O’Rourke has published more than 150 papers in journals and conference proceedings, more than 30 of which were coauthored with undergraduates. His most recent book, How To Fold It, is written for high-school students.
ACM will formally recognize the 2012 Fellows at its annual awards banquet on June 15, 2013, in San Francisco, Calif.