In July 2017, two Rice University computer science faculty members received prestigious awards from the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM), the largest organization dedicated to the educational and scientific work and accomplishments of computing professionals.
Lydia Kavraki, the Noah Harding Professor of Computer Science and professor of bioengineering, was presented the Athena Lecturer Award for women researchers who have made fundamental contributions to computer science. Kavraki's nomination was prompted by her invention of randomized motion-planning algorithms in robotics and for her development of robotics-inspired methods for bioinformatics and biomedicine.
In 2000, Kavraki won the ACM Grace Murray Hopper Award for her work on probabilistic path planning. The Hopper Award is presented to the outstanding young computer professional of the year, as identified by the ACM. Fifteen year later, at the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women, she received the Anita Borg ABIE Technical Leadership Award. The ABIE is the Anita Borg Institute's most prestigious award and celebrates a woman who led or developed a product, process, or innovation that made a notable impact on business or society.
Moshe Vardi received the 2017 ACM Presidential Award in recognition of his efforts to transform the association’s flagship publication, Communications of the ACM, into “a monthly must-read for a global audience.” Vardi, the the Karen Ostrum George Distinguished Service Professor in Computational Engineering and director of the Ken Kennedy Institute for Information Technology at Rice University, received the 2008 ACM Presidential award and is the first two-time award winner.
He also ACM Special Interest Group on Management of Data (SIGMOD) Edgar F. Codd Innovations Award for his important contributions to query processing complexity, logics and query languages, connections between databases and other areas of computer science.