A (not-so) Brief Professional Biography of Kim Bruce

Kim B. Bruce has been Reuben C. and Eleanor Winslow Professor of Computer Science at Pomona College since the summer of 2005. He is the Frederick Latimer Wells Professor of Computer Science emeritus at Williams College, where he taught for 28 years. His first position out of graduate school was as an instructor in Mathematics at Princeton University from 1975 to 1977.

He has also served as a visiting professor or scientist at the University of California at Santa Cruz, Princeton University, the Newton Institute at Cambridge University, the Ecole Normale Superieure in Paris, Stanford University, University of Pisa, and M.I.T. He has served as a consultant for Prime Computer, Digital Equipment Company (DEC), NEC Research Institute, and EcoNovo.

He received a B.A. from Pomona College in 1970, and M.A. (1972) and Ph.D. (1975) degrees from the University of Wisconsin at Madison, all in Mathematics with a specialty in mathematical logic and a minor field of Computer Science. Five years after receiving his Ph.D., he spent a year on leave at M.I.T. where he studied and began research in Computer Science.

His research program was originally in the model theory of languages with generalized quantifiers, but his interests turned to programming languages after his stay at M.I.T. His research focus evolved from models of the polymorphic lambda calculus to the study of semantics and type theory. This led to his continuing work in the design of object-oriented languages, and his book, Foundations of Object-Oriented Languages: Types and Semantics, published in 2002 by M.I.T. Press. His research in computer science has been supported by many NSF (and other) research grants, and has resulted in many published papers in conferences and journals as well as numerous invited talks at conferences. He also co-founded and obtained NSF funding to establish the series of International Workshops on Foundations of Object-Oriented Languages (FOOL), and served as its steering committee chair until 2001. His most recent research project involves the design of a new language, Grace, designed for use in the first two years of Computer Science education.

Recently a grant from the Mellon Foundation (via Williams College) allowed him to study the formal linguistics of natural languages during 2004-2005 at U.C. Santa Cruz. This has lead to a new research program in the semantics and pragmatics of natural languages. One current project with Donka Farkas and James Isaacs of UC Santa Cruz involves the design of a formal representation of the context of a continuing dialog that can accurately model normal conversational moves as well as deal with potential "crises" that result in retracting assertions and questions, and "agreeing to disagree".

Bruce has a long-standing interest in Computer Science education, especially at small high quality liberal arts colleges. He played a major role in setting up the Computer Science major at Williams College and was the founding chair of the Computer Science Department there. He came to Pomona in order to help found the Computer Science Department here. He was one of the founding members of the Liberal Arts Computer Science Consortium, and has contributed to each of their three model curricula for liberal arts colleges. He was a member of the joint ACM - IEEE CS Joint Curriculum Task Force responsible for Curricula 1991 and contributed to Curricula 2001. He has also served on several ACM and IEEE task forces, most recently the ACM Java Task Force responsible for creating a Java library to be used in CS 1 courses. He has also served several times on the organizing committee for the series of workshops on Pedagogies and Tools for the Teaching and Learning of Object-Oriented Concepts. He has served on visiting committees for the computer science and/or math departments of more than 15 liberal arts colleges.

He has published many papers and given many talks in Computer Science education, on topics ranging from the introductory course to programming languages courses to CS curricula. With Andrea Danyluk and Tom Murtagh, he designed an innovative approach to teaching CS 1 in Java that utilizes a library they developed that allows them to integrate graphics, event-driven programming, and concurrency into the course in a pedagogically sound way. This work was supported by an NSF course development grant, and resulted in the publication of the text book Java: An eventful approach by Prentice Hall in the summer of 2005. He has also given numerous tutorials on this material as well as the material from his other book. In recognition of his work in Computer Science education, he was given the ACM SIGCSE 2005 award for Outstanding Contributions to Computer Science Education, delivering the keynote speech at that year's Computer Science Education conference.

His favorite teaching experiences involve teaching introductory courses and guiding student honors theses. He has guided nearly 20 undergraduate honors theses and served on Ph.D. committees at institutions such as Yale University, the University of Massachusetts-Amherst, and R.P.I., and served as an external reader for Ph.D.'s at the Free University of Brussels, the University of Pisa, and the Ecole Normale Superieure in Paris. His honors students have gone on to Ph.D. programs in Computer Science at M.I.T., C.M.U, Stanford, the University of California at Berkeley, the University of Pennsylvania, and the University of Maryland, among others.

He seems unable to keep away from administrative work, despite knowing better. He served three times as chair of the CS department at Williams College, and once at Pomona. He was chair of the faculty steering committee at Williams College twice, and was chair of the faculty executive committee at Pomona once (during 2010-2011), has chaired ad hoc committees on various controversies (earning him the enmity of those who wanted decisions to go the opposite way). In spite of this, he believe strongly in faculty governance, and hopes to help preserve it in spite of the attempts of other elements to weaken it and the dangers of inattention by some of those who should know better.

For the record, Bruce's Erdos number is less than or equal to 3 via joint papers with H. J. Keisler and with Albert Meyer. Alfred Tarski is his academic grandparent.