Princeton computer scientist to lead NSF directorate

September 23, 2019

The National Science Foundation (NSF) has selected Princeton University computer scientist Martonosi to serve as head of the Directorate for Computer and Information Science and Engineering, one of seven top-level divisions within the NSF.

Martonosi, the Hugh Trumbull Adams '35 Professor of Computer Science, will serve in the position as part of the federal government’s “rotator” program that allows academic researchers and educators to take on leadership roles while maintaining their faculty positions and later returning to full-time teaching and research.

In addition to her management experience in the computer and information science community and her research in computer architecture, Martonosi has been noted for her leadership in broadening participation in computer science education. Since 2017, she has served as director of the Keller Center for Innovation in Engineering Education while maintaining her role as a professor of computer science. Martonosi has also held leadership positions in numerous professional societies.

"The National Science Foundation is fortunate to have someone like Dr. Martonosi leading the Directorate for Computer and Information Science and Engineering," NSF Director France Córdova said. "Her experience as an innovative researcher and a leader who has worked to improve STEM education and the workforce make her ideal for this role. Under her leadership, NSF will tackle technological challenges like scaling big data, advancing artificial intelligence, and making quantum computing a reality. NSF will also continue to support innovative advanced cyberinfrastructure that will enable 21st-century discovery in all science and engineering fields.”

A search is under way for Martonosi’s successor as director of the Keller Center, said H. Vincent Poor, interim dean of Princeton’s School of Engineering and Applied Science.

“Strong leadership at the National Science Foundation is a critical part of driving innovation and problem-solving in this country,” Poor said. “In bringing her enormous experience and insight to this position, Margaret will serve us all well. The NSF and the nation are fortunate to have her in this role.”

CISE supports research in all areas of computer and information science and engineering, as well as advanced research cyberinfrastructure necessary for discovery in all science and engineering fields. Awards made by the directorate foster broad interdisciplinary collaboration, help develop and maintain cutting-edge national research computing infrastructure, and contribute to the development of a workforce with skills essential for success in the increasingly competitive global market.

"I’m thrilled to accept this incredible opportunity to serve the research community and the nation at large," Martonosi said. "The role of computing research in machine learning, cloud computing, cybersecurity, and many other societally-relevant topics has never been more important to the nation’s future. America cannot remain at the forefront of innovation without NSF’s crucial contributions towards advances in these research areas."

Martonosi's long-term research has been focused on computer architecture and mobile computing with an emphasis on power-efficiency. She was one of the architects of the Wattch power modeling infrastructure, a tool that was among the first to allow computer scientists to incorporate power consumption into early-stage computer systems design. Her work helped demonstrate that power needs can help dictate the design of computing systems. More recently, Martonosi’s work has also focused on architecture and compiler issues in quantum computing as well.

She is an inventor who holds seven U.S. patents and has coauthored two technical reference books on power-aware computer architecture.

Martonosi has won numerous awards and honors, including a Jefferson Science Fellowship, the IEEE Technical Achievement Award, and the ACM SIGARCH Alan D. Berenbaum Distinguished Service Award, as well as numerous recognitions for her scholarship, teaching, and public service.

Martonosi received a bachelor's degree in electrical engineering from Cornell University and master's and doctoral degrees in electrical engineering from the Stanford University.

Her appointment at NSF will begin Feb. 01, 2019.