Distinguished Alumni Awards

Daniel E. Atkins

Daniel E. Atkins
To Daniel E. Atkins, for his influence on high-performance computer architecture, contributions in the design and construction of some of the earliest parallel computers, pioneering work in the development of schools of information, and leadership in improving the U.S. cyberinfrastructure.

Professor and Founding Dean, University of Michigan School of Information and Professor, Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI

  • BS, 1965, Electrical Engineering, Bucknell University
  • MS, 1967, Electrical Engineering, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
  • PhD, 1970, Computer Science, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign


Daniel E. Atkins began his PhD studies at Illinois,working with James Robertson on methods for selection of quotient digits during digital division. After graduation, he served as a captain in the U.S. Army and in 1972 joined the University of Michigan Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science. He chaired that department’s curriculum committee, which developed the first degree program in computer engineering.

Atkins participates in several strategic activities to better understand and act on the implications of emergent information technology on the future of knowledge-based institutions and activities. He served as chair of the National Science Foundation’s Blue-Ribbon Advisory Panel on Cyberinfrastructure. The panel issued a report in 2003,"Revolutionizing Science and Engineering Through Cyberinfrastructure," that recommends a major program in cyberinfrastructure-enhanced science and engineering research and allied education for the nation under the leadership of the NSF. This report, now dubbed "The Atkins Report," received international attention and serves as an important document for strategic planning in academia and research funding agencies.

Atkins serves on panels of the U.S.National Academies exploring such issues as scholarship in the digital age, the future of scholarly communication, and the impact of information technology on the future of higher education. He is a consultant to the International Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development on similar topics and to the American Council of Learned Societies on the topic of the impact of cyberinfrastructure on the humanities and social sciences. He is co-author of the book Colleges and Universities.

In addition to his other professional pursuits, Atkins is an international consultant and invited speaker for various industries, foundations, educational institutions, and government agencies. He has served the Department of Computer Science by contributing his time for an extensive interview for its alumni newsletter and an oral history project.

Current as of 2009.