Carnegie Mellon University

Hamerschlag Hall with sun

November 02, 2022

Siewiorek Retires After 50 Years of Service

By Krista Burns

After 50 years as a professor of electrical and computer engineering, Dan Siewiorek has retired from Carnegie Mellon University as of the 2022 fall semester. It is rare to find a professor who has dedicated their entire career to one university. During Siewiorek’s five-decade tenure at Carnegie Mellon, he has inspired hundreds of students and leaves an immeasurable impact on the field of electrical and computer engineering.

Before coming to Carnegie Mellon in 1972, Siewiorek earned his B.S. degree in Electrical Engineering from the University of Michigan, and his M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Electrical Engineering, with a minor in Computer Science, from Stanford University. When Dan Siewiorek was hired by Carnegie Mellon University, his joint appointment in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering and the School of Computer Science is what appealed to him.

“I was cautioned against joint appointments,” says Siewiorek. “But a joint appointment was appealing to me because engineers tend to think bottom-up and computer scientists tend to think top-down. Sometimes top-down thinking is the best way to solve a problem, other times bottom-up, and you could recruit from both bases.”

Fifty years later, Siewiorek retired as the Buhl University Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering and Computer Science.

“To put this in ‘maker’ terms, when they made Dan, they threw away the mold,” says Larry Pileggi, Coraluppi Head and Tanoto Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering. “If I had to describe him in one word, it would be selfless. Dan has always put the welfare of the students, the other faculty, the university, ahead of his own. He has been the catalyst for so many impactful initiatives at Carnegie Mellon and such an important member of our electrical and computer engineering faculty for several decades.”

As a nod to his interdisciplinary career, Siewiorek and his wife created the Daniel and Karon Walker Siewiorek Endowed Distinguished Professorship in the College of Engineering for a senior faculty member with a primary appointment in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering and a joint or courtesy appointment in the School of Computer Science.

“The interdisciplinary nature of Carnegie Mellon is what attracted me to stay in academia,” says Siewiorek. “If it weren’t for Carnegie Mellon, I’d be in industry. I hope this professorship will inspire faculty to nurture a career in both fields.”

Anthony Rowe, named the inaugural recipient of the professorship, has been inspired by Siewiorek’s dedication to electrical and computer engineering and computer science.

“I was honored and deeply humbled to receive the Siewiorek Professorship,” says Rowe. “The professorship takes on extra meaning, as Dan has been a great mentor to me throughout my time at Carnegie Mellon.”

Siewiorek’s alma mater, The University of Michigan, recently awarded him the Engineering Alumni Medal. This award is presented to one alumnus/a who has shown extraordinary achievement in their field and brought distinction to the College of Engineering at The University of Michigan. It is the highest accolade awarded by the Michigan Engineering Alumni Board.

A Taylor L. Booth Education Award recipient, Siewiorek has authored nine textbooks and over 475 papers. He has designed or been involved with the design of nine multiprocessor systems and has been a key contributor to the dependability design of over two dozen commercial computing systems.

Siewiorek is the former Director of the Quality of Life Technology NSF Engineering Research Center, and previously served as Director of the Engineering Design Research Center and co-founder of its successor organization, the Institute for Complex Engineered Systems. He also served as Department Head of the Human Computer Interaction Institute, Chairman of the IEEE Technical Committee on Fault-Tolerant Computing and as founding Chairman of the IEEE Technical Committee on Wearable Information Systems.

A Fellow of IEEE, ACM, and AAAS, and a member of the National Academy of Engineering, Siewiorek has been the recipient of the AAEE Terman Award, the IEEE/ACM Eckert-Mauchly Award, and the ACM SIGMOBILE Outstanding Contributions Award.

“The impact of Dan's retirement was felt immediately,” says Pileggi. “But his presence remains, since he has established the standards to which we all still aspire.”