Cohen appointed Distinguished Professor of Computing

March 22, 2021

Congratulations to University of Utah School of Computing professor Elaine Cohen, who has been appointed a Distinguished Professor of Computing. The rank of Distinguished Professor is reserved those whose achievements exemplify the highest goals of scholarship and a high dedication to teaching.

Cohen received her bachelor’s in mathematics from Vassar College and master’s and doctorate degrees from Syracuse University, also in mathematics.

Upon earning her Ph.D, she joined the University of Utah in 1974 as a research assistant professor. In 1985, she achieved the rank of Associate Professor, becoming the first tenured female professor in the U’s College of Engineering. In 1991, she was named full professor in the School of Computing.

Cohen is recognized as a pioneer in her field of solid modeling with numerous honors. She co-founded the Alpha_1 research group. For 30 years, Alpha_1 was a testbed research system that enabled modeling and systems research using Non-Uniform Rational Basis Spline (NURBS) for design, graphics and visualization, computer-aided manufacturing (CAM), and analysis, and non-photorealistic rendering research.

Her commitment to teaching and mentorship is also outstanding. She has served as Ph.D. advisor to 21 students and as master’s thesis advisor to 20 students, all of them funded through Cohen’s research grants.

“Through her long and distinguished career in the School of Computing, Elaine Cohen has opened so many doors for women faculty in the School as well as the College of Engineering,” said Mary Hall, Director of the School of Computing. “From the first woman in the College to receive tenure, to the first woman in the College to be honored as a Distinguished Professor, she is an inspiration to students and faculty.”

Cohen was named a Fellow of the Solid Modeling Association in 2019 and has received the Pioneer Award from the Solid Modeling Association (2016); the John Gregory Memorial Award Schloss Dagstuhl “in appreciation for Outstanding Contributions in Geometric Modeling” (2014); and the Bezier Award for Solid, Geometric and Physical Modeling and Applications from the Solid Modeling Association (2009). At the University of Utah, she received the Distinguished Research Award (2001).

She has been a member of a host of associations including the Association for Computing Machinery, the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics, the Solid Modeling Association, the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, and the American Mathematical Society.

More news from the School of Computing