Amato wins Hewlett-Packard/Harriett B. Rigas Award

Photo of Dr. Nancy AmatoDr. Nancy Amato Unocal Professor and interim head of the Department of Computer Science and Engineering at Texas A&M University, has been named recipient of the Hewlett-Packard/Harriett B. Rigas Award.

Hewlett-Packard/Harriett B. Rigas Award recognizes outstanding faculty women who have made significant contributions to electrical or computer engineering education through excellence in teaching, encouraging and supporting increased participation of women in electrical and computer engineering, demonstrated scholarship and research, development of educational technology that enhances student learning, and service to the engineering profession.

Amato was cited for "increasing the participation of underrepresented members in the computing research community by promoting research experiences for undergraduates."

Amato is the fourth Texas A&M faculty member to have received the award. Previous Texas A&M recipients of the award are Dr. Karan Watson, Dr. Valerie E. Taylor and Dr. Jennifer Welch.

Amato is co-director of the Parasol Lab, deputy director of the Institute for Applied Math and Computational Science (IAMCS), associate director of the Center for Large-Scale Scientific Simulations (CLASS), and chair of the university-level Alliance for Bioinformatics, Computational Biology and Systems Biology at Texas A&M.

Amato received undergraduate degrees in mathematical sciences and economics from Stanford University, and M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in computer science from the University of California, Berkeley, and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She was an AT&T Bell Laboratories Ph.D. scholar and a recipient of a CAREER Award from the National Science Foundation. She is an IEEE Fellow and was a distinguished lecturer for the IEEE Robotics and Automation Society (2006-2007). She also serves as a Distinguished Speaker for the ACM Distinguished Speakers Program.

Her main areas of research focus are motion planning and robotics, computational biology and geometry, and parallel and distributed computing. Current representative projects include the development of a new technique for modeling molecular motions (such as protein folding), investigation of new strategies for crowd control and simulation, and STAPL, a parallel C++ library enabling the development of efficient, portable parallel programs.

Earlier this year, Amato received the 2013 Betty M. Unterberger Award by Honors and Undergraduate Research in recognition of her exemplary record of commitment to Honors education and Undergraduate Research. She has personally mentored nearly 100 undergraduates in academic and summer research in her 18 years at Texas A&M, and has directed or co-directed the CRA-W/CDC Distributed Research Experiences for Undergraduates (DREU, formally known as the DMP) for more than 10 years. DREU is a national program that matches undergraduate women and students from underrepresented groups, including ethnic minorities and persons with disabilities, with a faculty mentor for a summer research experience at the faculty member's home institution.