ISI Director Wins Top USC Distinction

March 9, 2007

Herbert Schorr, executive director of ISI since 1988, has won the Presidential Medallion, the University of Southern California's highest honor.

In addition to his leadership of the Information Sciences Institute, Schorr is also senior associate dean of the USC Viterbi School of Engineering, and a research professor in the Viterbi School department of computer science.

In a ceremony March 8, USC President Steven B. Sample presented the medallion with the following citation of his accomplishments:

"A brilliant leader and engineer, Herbert Schorr has made significant contributions to the advancement of computer science and to the rising stature of USC, the Information Sciences Institute, and the USC Viterbi School of Engineering, of which ISI is a key element.

"During the two decades he has led the Marina del Rey-based institute, he has tripled its research volume, recruited top scientists, and expanded the institute from a pure research center to a place where graduate and undergraduate students help create advanced prototype systems that can alleviate real-world problems. He has also positioned the internationally renowned institute as a growing provider of private research in its specialties: artificial intelligence, computer science, and information technology.

"Under his leadership, ISI &ndash a birthplace of the Internet &ndash has collaborated with other USC research centers on teaching programs for the military, including a videogame system that has trained thousands of troops in the Arab language and Iraqi customs. The institute co- developed the Grid computing software, which has facilitated the seamless collaboration and sharing of data, instruments, and computing power for dozens of major research initiatives around the world and in such disciplines as physics, bioinformatics, geophysics, and seismic studies.

"In the Viterbi School, Professor Schorr is senior associate dean. He also heads the Distance Education Network and Information Technology Program, and co-leads the High Performance Computing Center.

"Before joining USC in 1988, Professor Schorr had a 23-year career at IBM, during which he rose from a research staff member to become vice president in charge of research &ndash the first holder of that title. He oversaw four laboratories on three continents and all of the computer giant's computer systems and programming research. His interest in machine translation of natural language &ndash a process he has fostered at the institute &ndash stretches back to his days at Big Blue.

"He also personally played a fundamental role in the development of RISC (Reduced Instruction Set Computing) systems and was co-author of the world's "fastest garbage- collection algorithm," which speeds up the removal of leftover 1's and 0's so the processor can move to the next job.

"The holder of a Ph.D. from Princeton, Professor Schorr is a member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, the Association for Computing Machinery, and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. He is also on the advisory council of the Princeton University Art Museum.

"For his extraordinary accomplishments in computer science, his distinguished career in business and academe, and his vision and expertise in strengthening USC and the Information Sciences Institute as world leaders in cutting- edge research, the University of Southern California is proud to present Herbert Schorr with the Presidential Medallion."