Provost Emeritus Stephen Director named National Academy of Inventors Fellow - News @ Northeastern
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Provost Emeritus Stephen Director named National Academy of Inventors Fellow

April 6, 2011 - Steve Director, Provost, speaks during the 2011 Research and Scholarship Expo at Northeastern University. Over 300 student research abstracts and faculty published works were presented. PHOTO: Mary Knox Merrill/Northeastern University

Provost Emeritus Stephen W. Director, a pioneer in the field of electronic design automation and who has a long record of commitment to and innovation in engineering education, has been named a National Academy of Inventors Fellow.

The National Academy of Inventors announced last week that Director is one of 175 academic inventors elected as a fellow this year. This high professional distinction is bestowed upon those who have demonstrated a prolific spirit of innovation in creating or facilitating outstanding inventions that have made a tangible impact on quality of life, economic development, and the welfare of society. Fellows were nominated by their peers.

Electronic design automation—the field in which Director has led pioneering work—refers to the set of software tools that allow engineers to design highly complex circuits, which are critical components in scores of electronics. Director’s technical contributions to this field are vast; in particular, he has developed and patented methods for maximizing the yield during the manufacturing of integrated circuits. His efforts in statistical design have resulted in the creation of a new industry direction known as “design for manufacturability.”

“It’s an honor to be among this distinguished group of people identified as having made significant contributions and inventions that impact society,” Director said. “At Northeastern, we value our connection to society and engaging in use-inspired research, and I’m pleased to see recognized my work that aligns with this mission.”

The fellows will be inducted on April 6, 2017, as part of the sixth annual National Academy of Inventors conference, which will be held at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum in Boston.

It’s an honor to be among this distinguished group of people identified as having made significant contributions and inventions that impact society. At Northeastern, we value our connection to society and engaging in use-inspired research, and I’m pleased to see recognized my work that aligns with this mission.
—Provost Emeritus Stephen W. Director

In addition to Director, Nadine Aubry, dean of the College of Engineering, was named a fellow of the National Academy of Inventor in 2014. And Constantinos Mavroidis, College of Engineering Distinguished Professor of Mechanical Engineering, who died in 2014, was named a fellow in 2013.

Director served as Northeastern’s provost from 2008 to 2015, during which time he elevated the university’s profile in academic innovation, faculty recruitment, and research. His many accomplishments include restructuring the College of Arts and Sciences into the College of Arts, Media and Design, the College of Science, and the College of Social Sciences and Humanities; leading Northeastern to a hybrid budget and management model; guiding the Interdisciplinary Science and Engineering Complex project; hiring more than 400 tenured and tenure-track faculty; and reorganizing the university’s research and tech transfer operations and developing a strategic focus for Northeastern’s research activities around three global imperatives: health, security, and sustainability.

Prior to Northeastern, Director held a number of academic positions at Drexel University, the University of Michigan, and Carnegie Mellon University. He founded in 1982 and led the Semiconductor Research Corporation-Carnegie Mellon University Research Center for Computer-Aided Design, and his work was instrumental in starting PDF Solutions, Inc., a leading provider of yield improvement technologies and services for the integrated circuit manufacturing process life cycle.

Director is a member of the National Academy of Engineering and a fellow of both the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers and the American Society of Engineering Education. He has received numerous awards for his research and educational contributions, including the ASEE Benjamin Garver Lamme Award, the Institute for Electrical and Electronics Engineers Millennium Medal, the IEEE Education Medal, and the Aristotle Award from the Semiconductor Research Corporation. In 2002 the Chinese Ministry of Education named him Honorary Professor of Shanghai Jiao Tong University.

He has published more than 150 papers and authored or co-authored six texts, and has served on the editorial board of the IEEE Transactions on Circuits and Systems and as a consulting editor to McGraw-Hill.

Director received his Bachelor of Science from the State University of New York at Stony Brook and Master of Science and doctorate in electrical engineering from the University of California, Berkeley.

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