CDSS’ Jennifer Chayes Receives 2020 ACM Distinguished Service Award

June 9, 2021

Jennifer Tour Chayes, Associate Provost for the Division of Computing, Data Science, and Society (CDSS) at the University of California, Berkeley, is the recipient of the 2020 ACM Distinguished Service Award for her effective leadership, mentorship, and dedication to diversity during her distinguished career of computer science research, teaching, and institution building.

Presented by the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM), the world’s largest computing society, the award is presented on the basis of value and degree of services to the computing community.

“Chayes’ service to the computing community is broad and sustained, encompassing leadership at both Microsoft Research and Berkeley; service to many computing organizations; expanding the diversity of the computing field through mentorship of women, underrepresented racial minorities and other disadvantaged groups; and making important research contributions,” the ACM wrote in announcing the award.

Chayes joined Berkeley in January 2020. In addition to leading CDSS, she is also the Dean of the School of Information and a Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, Mathematics, Statistics, and the School of Information. Before joining Berkeley, she was a Technical Fellow at Microsoft, where she led research programs for over 20 years.

ACM noted that Chayes’ distinguished service includes founding and leading the Theory Group at Microsoft Research and the Microsoft Research New England and New York City Labs. She also had an important role in the development of Microsoft’s Montreal lab.

The Microsoft labs that Chayes founded had three times the percentage of women compared to corporate labs and an unusually high percentage of people of color and members of the LGBTQ community. She has mentored more than 100 women in her career, many of whom have gone on to become leaders in their fields. Chayes continues to emphasize diversity as a core value in her position at Berkeley.

Additionally, Chayes has an exceptionally strong record of service at the national and international levels to the computing community. Her service includes participation in advisory boards and committees associated with the National Academy of Sciences, the National Research Council, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and numerous other organizations. She has served on the Turing Award committee and the Heidelberg Laureate Selection Committee. She has served as an associate editor for many leading journals in statistical physics, computer science, mathematics, and data science, and has served as a co-organizer of numerous conferences across these fields.

The Division of Computing, Data Science, and Society, which leverages Berkeley’s preeminence in research and excellence across disciplines to propel data science discovery, education, and impact. It’s designed to meet the opportunities and demands of a world increasingly informed and shaped by data, machine learning, and artificial intelligence in virtually every arena, from health to business to politics; from our cities to our climate to the cosmos.

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