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Renowned computer scientist to speak at NMSU

Computer science's impact on our lives and federal science funding policies will be the topics of two public talks by New Mexico State University distinguished visiting professor Juris Hartmanis.

The Walter R. Read Professor of Engineering at Cornell University, Hartmanis is widely known as the founding father of computational complexity, a field that seeks to classify the computational difficulty of problems and measure the computing resources needed to solve them. For his fundamental contributions to the field, in 1993 he received the A.M. Turing Award, the highest honor in computing. It is considered the equivalent of a Nobel Prize in computer science.

Hartmanis' speech "Observations about the Nature of Computer Science" will be a philosophical look at the impact computers have had, and will to continue to have, on society. The free talk will be from 3:30 to 5 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 13, in the Chemistry and Biochemistry Building's Lecture Hall on NMSU's main campus.

The federal government's science funding policy will be the focus of Hartmanis' second free public lecture. "Computer Science and Washington Science Policy" will be from 3:30 to 5 p.m. Friday, Oct. 15, in Science Hall, Room 107.

Hartmanis recently completed a two-year term as assistant director of the National Science Foundation Directorate of Computer and Information Science and Engineering, which has responsibility for NSF's efforts with the Internet, computers and computational research.

He earned his doctorate in 1955 from the California Institute of Technology. In 1965 he helped create and served as the first chair of Cornell's computer science department, which has consistently ranked in the top five nationwide.

His Oct. 9-16 visit, sponsored by NMSU's computer science department, also will include more specific technical lectures and meetings with NMSU faculty and students.

For more information, call computer science at (505) 646-3723.