ShareThis Page
President honors CMU fellow for scientific achievement |

President honors CMU fellow for scientific achievement

Brian Bowling
| Tuesday, March 15, 2005 12:00 a.m

President Bush honored a Carnegie Mellon University fellow and 13 others during a ceremony Monday to recognize achievement in science and technology.

Watts S. Humphrey, a research scientist at CMU’s Software Engineering Institute, received a National Medal of Technology for his work in improving intellectual productivity in computer programming.

Humphrey, a retired IBM executive who now lives in Sarasota, Fla., said in a phone interview that the industrial changes of the 19th and 20th centuries were driven by time-motion studies. The studies helped companies find the most cost-effective ways for workers to build products.

“Our approach, sort of the dream we’ve followed, is to use those principles in intellectual work,” he said.

Finding ways to improve intellectual productivity is easy compared to the task of getting programmers to adopt new work methods, Humphrey said.

“You can’t tell people how to think. They’re going to think the way they think,” he said.

In the institute’s Personal Software Process, participants keep track of their work habits while they write computer programs. Then, as they try different techniques, the data shows them that they’re writing more code with fewer errors and taking less time to do it, Humphrey said.

Other honorees made breakthroughs in various fields including geology, genetics and neurology.

“All of you have been blessed with great talent, and you have applied your talent to great purposes. Your work is making our country more competitive, more hopeful, and more prosperous,” Bush said before awarding the 2003 National Medals of Science and Technology at the White House.

The medals are usually handed out annually, but the 2003 awards were delayed because of scheduling conflicts, according to a Commerce Department official.

“Many of your breakthroughs are changing entire industries, from airline safety to chemical production, to computer software and networking,” Bush said.

Established by Congress in 1959, the award is administered by the National Science Foundation.

Categories: News
TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.