2009 James A. Burns, C.S.C. Graduate School Award: Danny Chen, Computer Science and Engineering

Author: Mary Hendriksen

Danny Chen

Professor Danny Z. Chen of the Department of Computer Science and Engineering was awarded the 2009 James A. Burns, C.S.C. Award at the Graduate School’s Commencement ceremony on Saturday, May 16, at the Joyce Center. The Burns award is given annually to a faculty member for distinction in graduate teaching or other exemplary contribution to graduate education.

Chen received his Ph.D. in computer science at Purdue University, and then joined the University of Notre Dame’s Department of Computer Science and Engineering in 1992. Departmental chair Professor Kevin Bowyer says: “Through his contributions as a scholar, research adviser, and teacher, Danny Chen has been a driving force in the department’s development into a thriving, well-funded, externally recognized Ph.D. program.”

Chen has published in several important areas, including robot path planning, VLSI design, and parallel algorithms. He is best known, however, as a leader in an emerging area of research known as computational medicine. For this, he has received world-wide recognition for pioneer work that uses computational geometry techniques to solve algorithmic problems arising in medical applications, such as radiation cancer therapy and medical imaging. Chen has published nearly 200 papers in selective peer-reviewed journals and conference proceedings, holds five patents, and won 20 research awards from the National Science Foundation—including an NSF Career Award, the National Institutes of Health, and various industry groups. He has been a visiting researcher at the Max Planck Institute in Germany, the Academia Sinica in Taiwan, and the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology.

Chen is well known as an excellent teacher—winning the Kaneb Teaching Award in 2004—and graduate student mentor. His 12 Ph.D. students have themselves built first-rate careers—his very first student is currently a Lockheed Martin senior fellow, another of his students works at the NASA Jet Propulsion Lab, three are tenured associate professors—one at the University of Texas, another at the State University of New York at Buffalo, and the third at the University of Iowa, and an additional two are in tenure-track positions. Two of his students have themselves received NSF CAREER Awards.

For a complete list of past winners, see the past winners page.

2009 Distinguished Alumnus: Matthew O’Donnell
2009 Eli J. and Helen Shaheen Graduate School Award Winners

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