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A Warm Welcome to Martha E. Pollack as Cornell's 14th President and Linguistics Faculty Member

By: John Whitman, 
May 19, 2017

Martha E. Pollack became the 14th president of the University on April 17, 2017. A specialist in several areas of artificial intelligence, including natural language processing, she holds appointments at Cornell in the Departments of Computer Science, Information Science, and Linguistics. The Department of Linguistics is proud and pleased to serve as President Pollack's primary home in the College of Arts and Sciences. 

President Pollack received her bachelor’s degree summa cum laude from Dartmouth College, where she completed a self-designed interdisciplinary major in linguistics. She earned her M.S.E. and Ph.D. degrees in computer and information science from the University of Pennsylvania, with a dissertation on NLP supervised by Bonnie Weber and Barbara Grosz. After working at the Artificial Intelligence Center at SRI International in Menlo Park, California, she joined the faculty at the University of Pittsburgh. In 2000 she moved to the University of Michigan, where she was associate chair for computer science and engineering in the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, then dean of the School of Information, vice provost for academic and budgetary affairs, and finally provost and executive vice president for academic affairs.

President Pollack is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the Association for Computing Machinery and the Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence (AAAI). She has published widely on topics in artificial intelligence including automated planning, temporal reasoning, constraint satisfaction, and intention as well as NLP. One focus of her work has been the design of intelligent technology to assist people with cognitive impairment, a topic on which she testified before the United States Senate Subcommittee on Aging. Her research has been funded by the National Science Foundation, Intel, DARPA and the Air Force Office of Scientific Research. She has served as editor-in-chief of the Journal of Artificial Intelligence Research, as president of AAAI, as a member of the Advisory Committee for the National Science Foundation’s Computer and Information Science and Engineering Division, and as a member of the board of directors of the Computing Research Association. She was the winner of the 1991 IJCAI Computers and Thought Award and received the Sarah Goddard Power Award from the University of Michigan in recognition of her efforts to increase the representation of and climate for women and underrepresented minorities in science and engineering. 

President Pollack brings together intellectual and institutional strengths that link a number of Cornell's schools, programs and departments, including Linguistics. We join our colleagues in welcoming her to Ithaca.

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