Mailing List Message #113264
From: Joan Lippincott <>
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Subject: Dan Atkins to Receive Paul Evan Peters Award at April CNI Meeting
Date: Tue, 26 Feb 2008 10:00:01 -0500
I'm delighted to share this news with the CNI community.
Joan Lippincott
21 Dupont Circle
Washington DC 20036

For Release February 26, 2008

NSF Cyberinfrastructure Director Daniel Atkins to Receive Paul Evan Peters Award

The Coalition for Networked Information (CNI), the Association of Research Libraries (ARL), and EDUCAUSE are pleased to announce that Daniel E. Atkins, inaugural Director of the Office of Cyberinfrastructure at the National Science Foundation (NSF) and a distinguished professor in the School of Information and in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of Michigan, has been named the 2008 recipient of the Paul Evan Peters Award.  The award recognizes notable, lasting achievements in the creation and innovative use of information resources and services that advance scholarship and intellectual productivity through communication networks.

Named for CNI’s founding director, the award will be presented during the CNI Membership Meeting in Minneapolis to be held April 7–8, 2008, where Atkins will deliver the Paul Evan Peters Memorial Lecture.  Previous award recipients include Paul Ginsparg (2006), Brewster Kahle (2004), Vinton Cerf (2002), and Tim Berners-Lee (2000).

“Dan’s long and diverse record of accomplishments, and his continuing vision for the changes that information technologies can enable for the future of scholarship worldwide, make him a perfect choice for this award.  I’m thrilled to see his work recognized in this way, particularly because the values that inform Dan’s work resonate so closely with those of the late Paul Peters,” said Clifford Lynch, Executive Director of the Coalition for Networked Information.

Diana Oblinger, President of EDUCAUSE, commented, "Those of us who have had the pleasure of working with Dan know first-hand his commitment to higher education and scholarship, and how he has sought to enhance those entwined endeavors through the use of technology.  He has worked across many segments—from presidents to technical staff—making important visions, such as cyberinfrastructure, come alive. Dan’s work has had international impact."

In 2003, the NSF Blue-Ribbon Advisory Panel on Cyberinfrastructure, chaired by Atkins, issued the highly influential report Revolutionizing Science and Engineering through Cyberinfrastructure.  The document, now referred to as "The Atkins Report," catalyzed new priorities and led to the establishment of the Office of Cyberinfrastructure (OCI) at NSF.

The OCI coordinates and supports the acquisition, development, and provision of state-of-the-art cyberinfrastructure resources, tools, and services essential to the conduct of 21st-century science and engineering research and education.  Cyberinfrastructure includes supercomputers, information management systems, high-capacity networks, digitally enabled observatories and scientific instruments, and an interoperable suite of software and middleware services and tools for computation, visualization, and collaboration.  In June 2006, Atkins joined NSF, on leave from the University of Michigan, to lead the cyberinfrastructure effort.

Atkins stated that his charge at NSF would offer “another important platform for contributing to my overarching professional aspiration—leadership in the creation and use of information and computer technology in service of human learning, creativity, and well-being."

From 1992 to 1998, Atkins served as the founding dean of Michigan’s School of Information, the first school of its kind in the nation.  This professional graduate school, which “embraces a vision that harmonizes people, information systems, and organizations to improve the quality of life,” was instrumental in shaping the concept of iSchools nationally.

More recently, Atkins has focused on research and teaching in the area of distributed knowledge communities and open learning resources.  He has directed several large experimental digital library projects as well as projects to explore the socio-technical design and application of “collaboratories” for scientific research.

Atkins has also served as Associate Dean for Research at the University of Michigan College of Engineering where he presided over the formation of one of the first and most effective university distributed computing environments.  Earlier in his career, as a professor in electrical engineering and computer science, Atkins made major contributions to high-performance computer architecture, and led or participated in the design and construction of several experimental machines, including some of the earliest parallel computers.  He developed high-speed arithmetic algorithms now widely used in the computer industry, and he conducted groundbreaking work on special-purpose architecture including collaboration with the Mayo Clinic on the development of computer-assisted tomography (CAT).

“Long a pioneer in bringing people, information, and technology together in unique and valuable ways, Dan Atkins helped create the conditions for the current cyberinfrastructure/e-science movement,” remarked ARL Executive Director Duane Webster.  “In the spirit of Paul Peters, Dan has championed collaborative efforts shaping the future of knowledge-based institutions.”

Lizabeth (Betsy) Wilson, Dean of University Libraries at the University of Washington and an award search committee member, stated that Dan Atkins’s “commitment represents a critical component in the push for broad cooperation and collaboration.  I am certain that his formidable accomplishments, and the contributions he continues to make, will serve to further these goals in profoundly important ways.”

Three nonprofit organizations—the Coalition for Networked Information, the Association of Research Libraries, and EDUCAUSE—sponsor the Paul Evan Peters Award, which was established with additional funding from Microsoft and Xerox Corporations.  The award honors the memory and accomplishments of Paul Evan Peters (1947–1996).  Peters was a visionary and a coalition builder in higher education and the world of scholarly communication.  He led CNI from its founding in 1990 with informed insight, exuberant direction, eloquence, and awareness of the needs of its varied constituencies of librarians, technologists, publishers, and others in the digital world.

CNI is a coalition of some 200 member institutions dedicated to supporting the transformative promise of networked information technology for the advancement of scholarly communication and the enrichment of intellectual productivity.  ARL's membership includes the leading research libraries in North America.  Its mission is to influence the changing environment of scholarly communication and the public policies that affect research libraries and the diverse communities they serve.  EDUCAUSE is an association of nearly 1,900 colleges, universities, and education organizations whose mission is to advance higher education by promoting the intelligent use of information technology.

For more information visit the award Web site at, or contact CNI Communications Coordinator Diane Goldenberg-Hart at

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