Rosenberg feted at ArnyFest

Photo: ArnyFest attendees

Distinguished University Professor Arnold Rosenberg (front row, fourth from the left) poses with his research colleagues during the celebration of Rosenberg’s career.

Pictured above (left to right): BOTTOM ROW: Frederic Vivien (ENS-Lyon), Lixin Gao (UMass ECE), Charles Leiserson (MIT), Arnold Rosenberg (UMass CMPSCI), Yves Robert (ENS-Lyon), Franco Preparata (Brown), Anne Benoit (ENS-Lyon), Frank Dehne (Carleton). SECOND ROW: Allan Borodin (Toronto), Greg Malewicz (Google), Fred Annexstein (Cincinnati). THIRD ROW: Matthieu Gallet (ENS-Lyon), Nick Pippenger (Harvey Mudd), Bruce Maggs (CMU). FOURTH ROW: Viktor Prasanna (USC), Michael Bender (Stony Brook), Patrice Quinton (ENS-Cachan). FIFTH ROW: Lenny Heath (Virginia Tech), Vittorio Scarano (Salerno). SIXTH ROW: Jothy Rosenberg (Angletec), Danny Krizanc (Wesleyan). TOP ROW: Ramesh Sitaraman (UMass CMPSCI), Sandeep Bhatt (HP Labs), Pierre Fraigniaud (U. Paris), Geppino Pucci (U. Padua).

On October 19, 2007, the Department of Computer Science held ArnyFest, a day long celebration to honor Distinguished University Professor Arnold Rosenberg for his many achievements and accomplishments on the occasion of his retirement. Dr. Rosenberg’s colleagues from around the United States, Canada, and Europe attended the tribute.

The ArnyFest program included a distinguished lecture from Prof. Nicholas Pippenger, Harvey Mudd College, and technical presentations from Prof. Allan Borodin, University of Toronto, Prof. Lenwood S. Heath, Virginia Tech, Prof. Bruce M. Maggs, Carnegie Mellon University, Prof. Franco P. Preparata, Brown University, Prof. Yves Robert, Ecole Normale Supérieure de Lyon, and Prof. Ramesh K. Sitaraman, University of Massachusetts Amherst.

Rosenberg’s research focuses on developing algorithmic models and techniques to deal with the new modalities of "collaborative computing," especially within the context of Internet-based computing.

Rosenberg has chaired the program committees of the four major conferences in his research area: ACM Symposium on Theory of Computing (STOC), ACM Symposium on Parallelism in Algorithms and Architectures (SPAA), IEEE Symposium on Foundations of Computer Science (FOCS), and IEEE International Parallel and Distributed Processing Symposium (IPDPS). He also served as general chair of FOCS and SPAA, each for three years. Rosenberg received the UMass Amherst College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics Outstanding Teaching Award (1997) and Outstanding Research Award (2004).

Prior to joining UMass Amherst, Rosenberg was a Professor of Computer Science at Duke University from 1981 to 1986, and a Research Staff Member at the IBM Watson Research Center from 1965 to 1981. Rosenberg has held visiting positions at Yale University and the University of Toronto. He was a Lady Davis Visiting Professor at the Technion (Israel Institute of Technology) and a Fulbright Senior Research Scholar at the University of Paris-South. He is a Fellow of the ACM, a Fellow of the IEEE, and a Golden Core Member of the IEEE Computer Society. Rosenberg received an A.B. in mathematics (1962), and an A.M. (1963) and Ph.D. (1966) in applied mathematics, all from Harvard University.

During the process of nominating Rosenberg for the UMass Amherst NSM Outstanding Research Award, the Department of Computer Science received a number of letters from colleagues in Rosenberg’s technical community. “Given Arny’s many accomplishments and accolades, we certainly expected to receive extremely supportive letters,” said Distinguished Professor Jim Kurose.  “Nonetheless, even we were overwhelmed by the depth, breadth, and profoundness of impact that is indicated in these letters.”

Rosenberg’s colleagues all noted the seminal contributions of a researcher whose career, in the words of one colleague, “has intertwined with almost every phase of computer science across the spectrum of 40 years.” Another colleague noted “Arny is widely recognized within the theoretical computer science community for his decades of distinguished scholarship, and his pioneering research in several aspects of computer science. Arny’s long list of publications, his leadership roles, and the accolades he has won are testament to his outstanding research contributions and the high esteem he has earned among his colleagues.” Yet another colleague noted that Rosenberg is “a true leader in our field, and, by now, a legendary name … Arny’s papers on theoretical machines (with other giants like A. Meyer, M. Fischer, etc.) were classical reading material for our generation.”  

A number of Rosenberg’s colleagues also commented on his research paradigm. Initially a pure theoretician, Rosenberg’s research focus began to shift in the early 1970s to questions/issues raised by “real-world” computing problems. One of his colleagues noted that Rosenberg’s style is to “pick an important and topical area, formulate a rigorous framework to explore and deeply understand the problem domain, illustrate the concepts with a novel solution to a specific problem, and then observe [many] researchers pick up the approach and develop variations on the original theme … Arny is a deeply thoughtful researcher. He is not willing to settle for quick results, nor does he consider a problem solved until he has carefully examined every possible aspect, teased out every source of complexity, and simplified his solution, and formulated a rigorous explanation of why certain approaches are successful and others are not.”Another colleague wrote,I am one of the many … colleagues that were dramatically motivated by his paradigm to focus on theoretical questions … Arny’s turn into the pragmatic theory of data structures perhaps marks the start of what I also call ‘relevant theory to technology’.”

Rosenberg’s human side, and in particular his mentoring junior faculty in the theoretical community over the years, has been a constant and valuable resource to faculty both within the computer science department and in the broader computer science theory community.  One of Rosenberg’s more junior colleagues in the theory community wrote, “Arny was a generous and gentle senior collaborator, ever willing to share new problems, ideas, and credit… he has nurtured several young colleagues, maintaining the highest standards throughout a long and distinguished career.”  Another wrote, Arny has served as an unofficial mentor to me, and, I think, to many other researchers, including ... [seven other computer scientists, all now considered stars in their field].” The same can be said for many of the University of Massachusetts Amherst faculty. Rosenberg has served as mentor to five UMass Amherst Lilly Teaching Fellows. “He has also served as a research and career mentor to a number of faculty in the department,” adds Kurose. “He has been tireless in helping promote the good work within our department and college through his many years on department and college award committees.”

View photos of ArnyFest and CS Homecoming 2007.