The Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) has named Dr. Jennifer Welch a 2012 Distinguished Scientist.
Welch is a Regents Professor and Chevron Professor II in the Department of Computer Science and Engineering at Texas A&M University. She is a nationally recognized leader in the area of distributed computer systems, and is co-author of the second edition of Distributed Computing: Fundamentals, Simulations and Advanced Topics. This book is hailed as making the difficult but extremely important subject of distributed computing understandable.
Welch's research approach encompasses formal models, algorithm design and analysis, and lower bounds and impossibility proofs. She is interested in problems that arise in a wide variety of contexts, whose common thread is the difficulties that arise from concurrency and uncertainty, especially that due to asynchrony and/or failures.
"The problems I have studied generally arise in providing infrastructure services, or 'middleware,' that can be used by end-user distributed applications, as opposed to the applications themselves," Welch said. "In more theoretical language, I have focused on ways to simulate more powerful, or better-behaved, systems on top of less powerful, or more poorly behaved, systems."
In 1992, Welch left the computer science faculty at the University of North Carolina to join the Department of Computer Science at Texas A&M. She received a B.A. in liberal arts from the University of Texas at Austin and her M.S. and Ph.D. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. She has also worked for companies such as GTE Laboratories Inc. and AT&T Bell Laboratories.
Welch is on the editorial board for Distributed Computing and the Chicago Journal of Theoretical Computer Science. Among her previous distinguished honors in education is the 2004 Harriet B. Rigas Outstanding Woman Engineering Educator Award of the IEEE Education Society, the Lockheed Martin Excellence in Teaching Award, and The Association of Former Students Teaching Award. She is the recipient of the National Science Foundation's Presidential Young Investigator Award and is a Texas A&M Engineering Experiment Station Fellow.
The ACM Distinguished Scientist level recognizes ACM members with at least 15 years of professional experience and five years of continuous professional membership who have achieved significant accomplishments or have made a significant impact on the computing field."