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Saturday, June 08, 2019

Ray Miller, one of our founders, Passes away at the age of 90

Ray Miller, one of the founders of our field, passed away recently at the age of 90.

He has associations with both GA Tech and The University of Maryland, so both Lance and I have a connection to him. As does Dick Lipton who has posted about him here.

I present two guest blog-posts about him


Post One: From

Ming C Lin

Elizabeth Stevinson Chair of Computer Science

University of Maryland at College Park


Dear CS Alumni and Friends,

We are deeply saddened to learn that Professor Emeritus Ray Miller passed away two nights ago around 9 pm.

A Memorial Service at St. Andrews Lutheran Church (15300 New Hampshire Ave., Silver Spring MD  20905) for Dr. Miller will be held on Saturday, June 15th at 10:30 am.

Dr. Ray Miller received his Ph.D. from University of Illinois in 1957.  He was a professor and the former Director of the School of Information and Computer Science at the Georgia Institute of Technology before joining our department in 1988 as the Director of the Center of Excellence in Space Data and Information Science (CESDIS).   Dr. Miller was well known for his research on communication protocols, networks, distributed systems, parallel computation, and theory.

In 1970, he became the Fellow of IEEE for the advancement of the theoretical understanding of computation through work in switching theory and theoretical models.

In 1997, he was elevated to be a Fellow of ACM for research contributions to the theory of parallel computation and for his distinguished service to the Computer Science community as an educator and leader.

In 2003, Dr. Miller was designated as a Fellow by the Computer Science Accreditation Board

"in recognition of his outstanding professional volunteer contributions to computing sciences and accreditation”.

Dr. Miller was also an AAAS Fellow,  and a Charter Member of IEEE Computer Society Golden Core;he received the IEEE Third Millennium Medal in 2000 and ACM Distinguished Service Award in 2002.

Beyond his outstanding research contribution and devotion to education, Dr. Ray Miller has been known for his kindness as a colleague, supportiveness as a mentor, and effectiveness as a leader. Dr. Miller will be forever remembered warmly by his friends, colleagues and students for his dedication and service to our department, the University, and the field of computing at large.


Post Two: From

Ben Shneiderman

Emeritus Professor, University of Maryland at College Park.

I was saddened to hear about the death of Ray Miller at age 90.  He was a dear colleague who contributed a great deal to computer science and to our department.  You can read his 84-page personal memoir at the IEEE Computer Society History Committee website: here.

His memoirs tells his story in detail, describing his research collaborations in computational complexity, parallel algorithms, and program optimization and his leadership roles. You can see more about Ray’s work on his ACM author page: here

This is the best source as he had no Google Scholar page or Wikipedia article that I could find. Ray’s quiet and modest style was a valuable asset, but his contributions come through in his memoir. He describes working with Turing Awardees John Cocke, Fran Allen, John Backus, Dick Karp, and other key figures, so maybe Ray should have received that award too.  Ray was also an excellent administrator and leader, who contributed to building the institutions (conferences, ACM, IEEE, etc.) that supported the growth of computer science.

Ray was especially kind to me in the early 1970s, when I was working on my Phd, developing a graph theoretic model of data structures.  As Assistant Director of the IBM Mathematical Science Department at the T. J. Watson Labs in Yorktown Heights, NY. This legendary IBM Research Lab was equal to Bell Labs and filled with computing pioneers in hardware, software, and applications.

Ray invited me to give a talk about my work, drawing interest from Arnold Rosenberg, who had been developing related ideas. With Ray’s support I returned for monthly visits with Arnie and Ray to refine my esoteric ideas leading to my May 1973 Phd.

Ray’s kindness as a colleague and supportiveness as a mentor will always be remembered warmly. Here are a few photos of Ray giving a talk in the CS Department, probably in 1985: here, here, and

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