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November 12, 2004

Jason Nieh Receives Sigma Xi's Young Investigator Award

MONTREAL -- Columbia University computer scientist Jason Nieh received Sigma Xi's 2004 Young Investigator Award in the physical sciences during the Society's annual meeting here. He is the first computer scientist to receive the honor.

The annual award alternates between the physical sciences, including engineering and mathematics, and the life sciences, including social sciences.

It recognizes individuals within 10 years of earning their highest graduate degree for their scientific achievements, interdisciplinary research and the ability to communicate the significance of their achievements to the general public.

An associate professor, Nieh is director of Columbia University's Network Computing Laboratory. The lab builds experimental software systems that demonstrate significant functional and performance improvements with real applications.

Current research focuses on transforming computing into a simple-to-use and reliable service that is always available and easily accessible anywhere, like telephone service.

According to colleagues, Nieh is widely recognized for research in computer operating systems that has resulted in significant contributions in a broad range of areas, including process migration, scheduling, thin-client computing, file systems, web and multimedia systems, and performance analysis.

"His resume is replete with achievements in developing computer utility technologies useful to the academic community and industry," one nominator notes.

Not only is he an outstanding researcher, Nieh is also a dedicated teacher and leader in operating systems education. He teaches an innovative operating systems course that leverages thin clients and virtual machines.

The course enables both on-campus and distance learning students to learn important computer science concepts hands-on by applying them in the Linux kernel, the widely-used open-source operating system. Students note that Nieh's course is a distinguishing feature of Columbia's computer science education.

Nieh also serves as the technical advisor for nine States on compliance issues pertaining to the Microsoft antitrust settlement.

"His remarkable professional talents and superb ability to communicate his work positions him as an advocate of science in society," another nominator says.

Nieh has published more than 50 technical papers and has served on numerous conference program committees. His honors include a National Science Foundation CAREER Award, a Department of Energy Early Career Award and two IBM Shared University Research Awards.

Nieh received his Ph.D. and M.S. degrees from Stanford University and his B.S. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, all in electrical engineering. He enjoys playing guitar and squash. He and his wife, Belinda, have a daughter, Joanna. They live in New York City.


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