SFI appoints US professor as interim ICT advisor

12 Oct 2006

Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) has appointed a Berkeley professor to act as interim director of information and communication technologies (ICT) at the organisation.

Dr Gene Wong (pictured), who is known for his role as co-designer of the Ingres database management system, currently holds the post of Emeritus Professor at the University of California at Berkeley in the US.

SFI makes grants to researchers based upon the merit review of distinguished scientists and Dr Wong’s role will be to advise the organisation on its strategy for investing in ICT and will guide it on areas for future investment. He will give his time to SFI over the next few months while the group undertakes a recruitment process to fill the full-time position of director of ICT. “He’s a distinguished expert in his field,” a spokesperson for SFI told siliconrepublic.com. “His input will be valuable.”

Dr Wong’s career has included spells in academia, industry and government service. He has been at the University of California at Berkeley since 1962, where he chaired the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences from 1985 to 1989, and is now a professor emeritus.

In addition to co-designing the Ingres database management system, in 1980 he co-founded the corporation of the same name. He has had two terms of government service, having been associate director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy at the White House from 1990-93, where he had responsibility for the national initiative on High Performance Computing and Communications which launched the internet. From 1998 to 2000 he headed the Engineering Directorate at the National Science Foundation.

Dr Wong is a Fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE). He was awarded the System Prize by the Association for Computing Machinery in 1989 for his work on Ingres, and the Founders Medal from IEEE in 2005 for career-long contributions.

By Gordon Smith