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David Notkin: January 1, 1955 - April 22, 2013
David Notkin, our dear friend and colleague, passed away at home at 3:30 a.m. on April 22, 2013, following a long battle with cancer. He was 58 years old.
David joined UW CSE in 1984 after receiving his doctorate from Carnegie Mellon University and his bachelor’s degree from Brown University. He spent his professional career as a leader, teacher, and researcher at the University of Washington. A world- renowned expert in software engineering, David served as CSE chair from 2001-06 and was honored with the Boeing Endowed Professorship in Computer Science & Engineering, the Frank and Wilma Bradley Endowed Professorship, and the Frank and Wilma Bradley Endowed Chair. He also recently served as the College of Engineering’s associate dean of research and graduate studies.
David’s educational and research interests were in software engineering, with a particular focus on software evolution focused on understanding why software is so hard and expensive to change. As he explained in his CSE profile, “These interests come from my firm belief that the ability to change software — that is, the ‘softness’ of software — is where its true power resides.”
David’s long list of professional accolades includes the 2013 A. Nico Habermann Award from the Computing Research Association, the 2013 ACM SIGSOFT Outstanding Research Award from the Association for Computing Machinery’s special interest group on software engineering, and the ACM SIGSOFT Influential Educator Award in 2012. He was editor-in-chief of the publication ACM Transactions on Software Engineering and Methodology from 2007 through 2012. He also was serving as general chair of the 2013 International Conference on Software Engineering.
An extraordinary mentor, David received the University of Washington Distinguished Graduate Mentor Award in 2000. His philosophy about working with students follows that of his own adviser, Nico Habermann: “Focus on the students, since graduating great students means you’ll produce great research, while focusing on the research may or may not produce great students.”
On February 1, 2013, more than 300 of David’s friends honored him at Notkinfest — a tribute to his extraordinary personal and professional contributions. At Notkinfest, CSE announced the establishment of the David Notkin Endowed Graduate Fellowship in Computer Science & Engineering to permanently recognize his dedication to graduate education. This fellowship will enable CSE to recruit the strongest graduate students in the nation and the world, and to honor David’s scholarly accomplishments, his leadership in the field of computer science, and his contributions to UW CSE.
A few of the many posts honoring David may be viewed here:
A sea of tie dye at Notkinfest 2013
David surrounded by his advisees, as
Ed Lazowska announces the creation of the
David Notkin Endowed Graduate Fellowship,
February 1 at Notkinfest 2013
David and Cathy (Tuttle) pictured
with Wilma Bradley, June 2006
David, sporting his famous commencement
attire at CSE's graduation, June 2010
CSE future chairs: Hank Levy,
David Notkin, and Ed Lazowska
with Lyndsay Downs
David and his snowman double
in front of “lovely” Sieg Hall.
Cathy Tuttle, Emma Notkin, and Akiva Notkin
attending the “tie one on” for David
in front of the CSE building
David enjoying the cherry blossoms
during Ohanami 2013
in the quad on the UW campus