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Computer Science Pioneer Wulf Returns to U Virginia

William Wulf, who received the University of Virginia's first doctorate in computer science and who spent 11 years as president of the National Academy of Engineering, is returning to U.Va.'s Charlottesville campus to teach.

Wulf said he wants to spend his time teaching students who lack a background in science and some of the technology fundamentals behind the big health and environmental problems facing the country.

"I spent the last 11 years at the nexus of science and public policy," Wulf  told the Charlottesville Daily Progress. "There are very few issues without a technical dimension."

"I want to create an engineering course for liberal arts majors to give them enough information to be informed participants [in public discussion]," Wulf said. "Ninety-five percent of the United States population doesn't know enough to be a participant."

After receiving his doctorate at U. Va., Wulf taught at Carnegie Mellon and then founded Tartan Laboratories in 1981. From 1988 to 1990, he served as assistant director of the National Science Foundation.

Wulf told the Daily Progress he believes the nation needs to rethink everything from antitrust laws and patent regulations to drug testing and intellectual policy regulations. He calls these interrelated subjects "the ecology of innovation."

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About the Author

Paul McCloskey is contributing editor of Syllabus.

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