Jack J. Dongarra (M.S. CS ’73) to be Honored by IIT for Professional Achievement

The annual Alumni Awards are an IIT tradition to recognize those who made notable contributions to their communities, professions, and the university. This year, the luncheon ceremony will be held Friday, April 19, 2013 and will recognize 11 winners in eight categories.

Jack J. Dongarra (M.S. CS ’73) is among the four winners of this year’s Professional Achievement Award, which honors outstanding achievement in any professional field. This award honors alumni whose achievements in their fields have brought distinction to themselves as well as credit to the university. Recipients have achieved great success as recognized by any or all of the following qualities:

  • Membership in peer-elected professional organizations marking the highest level of achievement in a given industry
  • Industry awards and special recognition received
  • Leadership positions held

Read on for more about Dongarra and look for new winner profiles in IIT Today each Monday, Wednesday, and Friday until the event.

B.S. Mathematics (’72), Chicago State University; M.S. Computer Science (’73), Illinois Institute of Technology; Ph.D. Applied Mathematics (’80), University of New Mexico

Dongarra began his career at Argonne National Laboratory during the last year of his undergraduate studies. The connections he made there with instructors, professors, and researchers led him to pursue his master’s degree at IIT. He continued his career as a senior scientist with Argonne through 1989. He has spent more than 20 years as a distinguished professor of computer science at the University of Tennessee and holds the title of distinguished research staff in the Computer Science and Mathematics Division at Oak Ridge National Laboratory and Turing Fellow at the University of Manchester.

Dongarra specializes in numerical algorithms in linear algebra, parallel computing, and the use of advanced computer architectures, programming methodology, and tools for parallel computers. He is highly regarded for contributing to the design and implementation of the following open source software and systems: EISPACK, LINPACK, the BLAS, LAPACK, ScaLAPACK, Netlib, PVM, MPI, NetSolve, Top500, ATLAS, and PAPI.

Thanks to IIT
Without his exposure to computer science at IIT, Dongarra may not have gone on to be a part of such groundbreaking research in theoretical and applied mathematics and computer science. “After finishing my undergraduate degree, I was planning to become a math or science teacher. But after participating in research at Argonne and being introduced to IIT, I fell in love with computing. My rigorous coursework in computer science laid the foundation for me to do research and create a successful career for myself.”

Proudest Accomplishment
Dongarra is gratified by his accomplishments in research, but it is his ability to talk to and mentor graduate students that really provides him a sense of accomplishment. “I have always enjoyed challenging my students with research problems and then allowing them to tackle problems and solve them. I am very proud of my former students who are now working in different jobs around the world and making strides and breakthroughs in their respective fields.”

IIT in the Future
“IIT is doing an excellent job educating students. I am excited to see the university continue to branch out in areas of creativity, entrepreneurship, and innovation.”