Dertouzos Lecturer Series: Professor Richard Newton

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Dertouzos Lecturer Series: Professor Richard Newton

Professor Richard Newton from the University of California, Berkeley gave a talk titled "Great Works for the 21st Century: A Critical Role for The Modern Research University" on February 3rd, 2005.


As we enter the 21st century, there can be no doubt that our world faces an enormous range of social, technological, and political challenges. For example, with almost 3 billion people on the planet earning less than $2/day, over one billion people still lack access to clean drinking water. If we want to stabilize global warming at 2oC, we will need the ability to produce 30-60 terawatts of carbon-free power by 2050 - the equivalent of a large, carbon-free power plant every day between now and the year 2050. As daunting as these challenges seem, we must remember that individuals, governments, and foundations are capable of "great works" that lead to economic and social progress and improvements in our quality of life. Examples in the 20th century include Andrew Carnegie's decision to fund public libraries, the GI Bill, the Marshall Plan, the eradication of smallpox, and the Green Revolution.

Throughout history, the major research universities in the world have played a leading role in informing public debate, identifying key issues, performing basic research that has led to many of the major developments of our age and, last but not least, educating our global leaders. Today, a growing number of faculty at major research universities throughout the world are interested in pursuing research, education and service that addresses the major domestic and global challenges we all face. As an example at Berkeley, this is reflected in multidisciplinary initiatives such as our Center for Innovative Technology Research in the Interest of Society (CITRIS). Obviously, such an agenda does not supplant the need for continued excellence in individual disciplines and for basic, curiosity-driven research.

In this presentation I will describe a set of candidate Great Works for the 21st Century and will sketch an outline of how the world's leading research universities could collaborate to determine a global research agenda, to identify and prioritize the problems we face, and to develop a unique, international public-private partnership to tackle them.


An Australian native, Richard joined the faculty at Berkeley in 1979 and is currently Dean of the College of Engineering and the Roy W. Carlson Professor of Engineering. He is also a Professor in the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences, where he was Chair of the department from 1999-2000. Since 1979 he has been actively involved as a researcher and teacher in the areas of design technology, electronic system architecture, and integrated circuit design.

Over the past twenty-five years, he has received numerous awards for his research and teaching. Most recently, he received the 2003 Phil Kaufman Award for his research and entrepreneurial contributions to the electronic design automation industry. In 2003 he was also awarded a Doctorate of Laws, honoris causa, from his alma mater the University of Melbourne, Australia.

From 1998-2002 he served as the founding director of the MARCO/DARPA Gigascale Silicon Research Center (GSRC) for silicon chip design and test. With an annual budget of $9 million in 2002, the GSRC is a major private-public partnership with the US Government and the semiconductor industry that funds and coordinates long-range research at a dozen major US universities and involving many industrial collaborators.

In addition to his academic role, Professor Newton has helped to found a number of technology companies, including SDA Systems (now Cadence Design Systems), Synopsys, Simplex Solutions and Crossbow.

Professor Newton serves on the Board of Trustees for the Anita Borg Institute for Women and Technology. He is a Member of the ACM, Fellow of the IEEE, and a member of the National Academy of Engineering.

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