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NAE President to Speak at U of U on Maintaining a Leading Role in a Global Economy

September 11, 2003 — William A. Wulf, president of the National Academy of Engineering (NAE), will present the Gould Distinguished Lecture on Technology and the Quality of Life on Tuesday, Sept. 16, at noon, in the University of Utah Marriott Library’s Gould Auditorium. The lecture, “America’s Technological Challenge: Maintaining a Leading Role in a Global Economy,” is free and open to the public.

In his NAE position Wulf has focused on the need for engineering education to restructure itself to meet growing global competition and to keep pace with the changes in the field. In a speech to the annual conference of The American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE) in 2002, he stated, “I think it is only a slight exaggeration to say that our students are being prepared for practicing engineering in a world that existed when we were trained, but not for the 21st century.”

Wulf maintains that while other scientific fields have changed to meet increasingly complex technological demands, engineering is lagging behind. Change is necessary, he maintains, hoping that the attitudes of engineering faculty members will change as well.

Prior to joining the faculty at the University of Virginia, Wulf founded Tartan Laboratories and served as its chairman and chief executive officer. Tartan developed and marketed optimizing compilers and was sold to Texas Instruments in 1995.

Wulf’s lecture will address the extraordinary quality of life those in the United States now enjoy, whether compared to Americans 100 years ago or to the vast populations of contemporary developing nations. Wulf argues that quality of life relative to others is not guaranteed. He will give personal perspective on what the U.S. must do to extend its prosperity.

Currently, Wulf is on leave from the University of Virginia where he is a University Professor and the AT&T Professor of Engineering and Applied Science. His activities there include a complete revision of the undergraduate computer science curriculum, research on computer architecture and computer security and assisting humanities scholars in exploiting information technology. Wulf is author of more than 100 papers and technical reports, holds two U.S. patents and has supervised over 25 Ph.D.’s in computer science. He is the author of three books: Hydra/C.mmp: An Experimental Computer System (McGraw-Hill, 1980), Fundamental Structures of Computer Science (Addison Wesley, 1980) and The Design of an Optimizing Compiler (Elsevier, 1975).

The NAE operates under a congressional charter and presidential orders that call on it to provide advice to the government on issues of science and engineering.