Gaetano Borriello
Gaetano Borriello

Funded on an annual basis by the Paul G. Allen School of Computer Science & Engineering and the Department of Electrical & Computer Engineering

Gaetano Borriello joined the University of Washington faculty in 1988, and passed away decades before his time in 2015, following an extended battle with cancer. At the time of his death he was the Jerre D. Noe Professor of Computer Science & Engineering, and Adjunct Professor of Electrical Engineering, Human Centered Design & Engineering, and Information.

Gaetano arrived at UW following receipt of his Ph.D. in Computer Science from UC Berkeley. He had previously received an M.S. in Electrical Engineering from Stanford University, and served as a member of the research staff at the Xerox Palo Alto Research Center for eight years. From 2001-03, on leave from UW, he founded Intel Research Seattle, which quickly became one of the premier research labs for work in ubiquitous computing.

Gaetano was the quintessential computer engineer. His career began in the areas of integrated circuits, circuit synthesis, reconfigurable hardware, and embedded system development tools. He transitioned into ubiquitous computing, and as director of Intel Research Seattle he launched projects in elder care and in location-aware computing. Later his focus had been applying mobile technologies to the problems of public health and development in low-resource settings. His group’s open-source mobile data collection tools, Open Data Kit, are in use on six continents in programs ranging across public health, documentation of human rights violations, and environmental monitoring. (Both Jane Goodall and the International Red Cross wrote offering their condolences following Gaetano’s death.)

Gaetano was a Fellow of the ACM and IEEE, a Fulbright Scholar, and a recipient of the UW CSE Undergraduate Teaching Award, the UW Distinguished Teaching Award, and the UW Marsha L. Landolt Distinguished Graduate Mentor Award.

As indicated by these awards, Gaetano was an extraordinary faculty member in every respect. While his research had tremendous impact, his focus was first and foremost on his students, on our educational programs in CSE and ECE, and on continually strengthening the bridges between our two units. He exemplified our mission at the University of Washington: to provide an extraordinary educational experience for our students, in which they discover, pursue, and achieve their potential; to conduct leading-edge research, but in the context of education rather than purely for its own sake; ultimately, to make the world a better place through the impact of our teaching, research, and mentoring.

To honor Gaetano and those who follow in Gaetano's footsteps, the Paul G. Allen School of Computer Science & Engineering and the Department of Electrical & Computer Engineering elected to fund on an annual basis the Gaetano Borriello Professorship for Educational Excellence. The inaugural holder of the Borriello Professorship exemplifies all aspects of Gaetano's legacy. Scott Hauck received his Ph.D. from the Allen School in 1995, co-supervised by Gaetano and fellow Allen School faculty member Carl Ebeling. Scott spent four years as a faculty member in Electrical & Computer Engineering at Northwestern University, then was lured back to Seattle by UW Electrical & Computer Engineering, where he has served on the faculty with great distinction, as well as serving as an Adjunct faculty member in Computer Science & Engineering. This is a clear case of the apple (Scott) not falling far from the tree (Gaetano, his mentor): Scott is a strong researcher, he is dedicated to his students and more broadly to educational excellence, and he has selflessly devoted enormous energy to improving the interface between the Allen School and ECE.

Holders of the Gaetano Borriello Professorship for Educational Excellence

Scott Hauck, 2015-present