USC Department of Computer Science Names New Chair

| June 30, 2022

An internationally recognized leader in software engineering, Neno Medvidović will begin his new role on July 1.

Nenad (Neno) Medvidović, an internationally recognized leader in software engineering, is the new chair of the USC Viterbi Department of Computer Science. Photo/Emilia Doda.

Nenad (Neno) Medvidović, an internationally recognized leader in software engineering, is the new chair of the USC Viterbi Department of Computer Science. Photo/Emilia Doda.

Nenad (Neno) Medvidović, an internationally recognized leader in software engineering, is the new chair of the USC Viterbi Department of Computer Science. Medvidović has served on the department’s faculty for more than 23 years. He will begin his new role on July 1.

“I am honored to be selected as the next chair of USC’s Department of Computer Science,” said Medvidović. “I am excited to work with faculty, staff, and alumni, and to continue to build a vibrant, diverse, collaborative, and just as importantly, welcoming environment, where we can all flourish, achieve new heights in research, and provide the highest quality education for our students.”

Medvidović has served in multiple leadership roles at USC’s Department of Computer Science, including as chair of the department’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) committee, associate chair for Ph.D. affairs, vice-chair for tenure affairs, and head of the department’s computer systems area. Throughout his tenure at USC, he has taught numerous undergraduate and graduate courses, and graduated 19 Ph.D. students. Both his children currently attend USC.

“We are thrilled to welcome Neno as the new chair of computer science,” said USC Viterbi School of Engineering Dean Yannis C. Yortsos. “With a vision to advance the computing discipline in all its facets, and with his collaborative, pragmatic, and innovative nature, Neno will be an ideal department chair for computer science at USC, and a compelling and strong advocate of the power of quantitative reasoning in all disciplines.”

A respected leader and academic

Originally from the former Yugoslavia, now Montenegro, Medvidović first arrived in the US as a high school exchange student. He attended Arizona State University for his undergraduate degree, and earned his master’s and Ph.D. from the University of California, Irvine.

In 1999, he joined the University of Southern California as an assistant professor of computer science and became a full professor in 2011. A respected academic, Medvidović has conducted extensive research in software development, including highly distributed, mobile, resource-constrained, and embedded computing environments. Throughout his career, he has published more than 300 peer-reviewed papers and received more than $10M in funding.

Amongst his many academic distinctions, in 2020, Medvidović received the Most Influential Paper Award at the 15th International Symposium on Software Engineering for Adaptive and Self-Managing Systems (SEAMS 2020) for a 2007 paper titled “An architectural style for solving computationally intensive problems on large networks.”

In this paper, Medvidović and co-author Yuriy Brun, his Ph.D. student and now a professor at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, tackled a long-standing problem: keeping data confidential while performing computations on large, distributed systems, such as cloud computing networks.

In this landmark study, the duo created a system to compute on untrusted machines—which are traditionally at risk of hacking by adversaries—without leaking private data. This fundamental breakthrough has inspired research across disciplines, from drug discovery and manufacturing systems to vehicle network authentication and smart grids, plus half a decade of the duo’s own work on secure, private, and fault-tolerant distributed systems.

A discipline growing without precedent

Established in 1968, the Department of Computer Science has experienced unprecedented growth in recent years, thanks in part to the growing reliance on computing systems to find solutions to important societal issues. To address this ever-growing demand, the department recently hired 13 new full-time tenure-track professors.

As the new chair, Medvidović will oversee more than 90 faculty members, 1,400 undergraduate students, 3,000 master’s students, and 300 Ph.D. students. He will also serve on a committee overseeing the construction of the Dr. Allen and Charlotte Ginsburg Human-Centered Computation Hall, a state-of-the-art new home for computer science at USC’s University Park Campus (UPC).

The new building will dovetail with the Frontiers of Computing, a new USC initiative recently announced by the university’s President Carol Folt to accelerate advanced computing and its impact on the world with a $261 million gift from the Lord Foundation.

In this transformative time for computer science at USC, Medvidović said his focus is to foster a collaborative, interdisciplinary environment, and to support ongoing efforts to promote and ensure diversity in the department.

“In a discipline growing without precedent, we are in a time of great change and opportunity for the department, and the field of computer science as a whole,” said Medvidović.

“We are on the cusp of great things, and I look forward to building on our significant strengths in areas including AI, robotics, computer networks, and software engineering, and continuing to expand our reach in areas including human-computer interaction, embedded systems, cyber-physical systems, and quantum computing.”

Published on June 30th, 2022

Last updated on May 16th, 2024

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