Moshe Vardi wins ACM Presidential Award

Rice professor honored for transforming association’s flagship publication

The Association of Computing Machinery has honored Rice University computer scientist Moshe Vardi with the 2017 ACM Presidential Award in recognition of his efforts to transform the association’s flagship publication, Communications of the ACM, into “a monthly must-read for a global audience.”

ACM President Vicki Hanson announced the award this week. Vardi, who also won the 2008 ACM Presidential Award, is the first two-time recipient of the honor. He will receive this year’s award at the association’s June 24 banquet in San Francisco.

Moshe Vardi

Moshe Vardi

Vardi joined Rice’s faculty in 1993 and is the Karen Ostrum George Distinguished Service Professor in Computational Engineering and director of Rice’s Ken Kennedy Institute for Information Technology.

He took the reigns as editor-in-chief of Communications of the ACM in 2008 and helped build its circulation to nearly 100,000. He will step down as editor-in-chief June 30.

The association’s 2017 award citation lauded Vardi as “a true visionary whose outstanding leadership over the last decade has cemented the reputation of ACM’s flagship publication — Communications of the ACM — as the premier chronicler of computing technologies by opening its pages to leading voices from multiple disciplines, extending its reach with new digital and mobile platforms and making it a monthly must-read for a global audience.”

“‘Communications’ is the main vehicle ACM uses to share with the world the excitement of working in this field,” Hanson said. “The magazine also serves as a public square in which ACM members from different disciplines and regions read about the most recent developments in computing, offer their viewpoints and stay connected. During his tenure, Moshe has transformed Communications of the ACM into a publication that is essential, accessible and enjoyable.”

In addition to strengthening the content of the publication, the association cited Vardi for leveraging the latest technologies to expand the magazine’s worldwide audience. He initiated and oversaw the development of the Communications website, digital edition and mobile apps — all of which have significantly increased the magazine’s readership and influence, the association said.

Vardi is a member of both the National Academy of Engineering and the National Academy of Sciences, a Guggenheim fellow and a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the European Academy of Sciences and the Academia Europa. He is a fellow of the ACM, the American Association for Artificial Intelligence and the Institute for Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE). His numerous honors include the Southeastern Universities Research Association’s 2013 Distinguished Scientist Award, the 2011 IEEE Computer Society Harry H. Goode Award, the 2008 Blaise Pascal Medal for Computer Science by the European Academy of Sciences and the 2000 Gödel Prize for outstanding papers in the area of theoretical computer science.

Vardi’s research centers upon the application of logic to computer science, database systems, complexity theory, multi-agent systems and specification and verification of hardware and software. He is the author or co-author of more than 500 technical articles and of two books, “Reasoning About Knowledge” and “Finite Model Theory and Its Applications.”

ACM is the world’s largest educational and scientific computing society. The ACM Presidential Award is given at the discretion of the association’s president to individuals whose contributions in computing fall within the goals of the organization.

About Jade Boyd

Jade Boyd is science editor and associate director of news and media relations in Rice University's Office of Public Affairs.