Indiana University

News Release

Tuesday, April 23, 2002

Last modified: Tuesday, April 23, 2002

Computing Research Association's executive director accepts professorship in School of Informatics

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The Indiana University School of Informatics announced today (April 22) that William Aspray, executive director of the Computing Research Association, has accepted a position as full professor in the School of Informatics.

Created in 2000, the IU School of Informatics has as its mission to educate students and conduct research in state-of-the-art information science and technology with an emphasis on its human applications and interdisciplinary skills. The school is the first of its kind in the United States. Aspray is the first full professor appointed solely in the School of Informatics.

Aspray will teach and do research in the areas of organizational, social and mathematical foundations of informatics.

Since 1996, Aspray has served as executive director of the Computing Research Association, the nation's premier organization for computing research. CRA is an educational organization that represents the doctorate-granting, computing-related academic programs as well as industrial and government computing research laboratories in North America.

Aspray is renowned for his historical writings. His works include John von Neumann and the Origins of Modern Computing (MIT Press, 1990) and Computer: A History of the Information Machine (Basic Books, 1996, with Martin Campbell-Kelly, commissioned by the Sloan Foundation).

Aspray also has published widely on contemporary issues facing the computing research community. One of his recent publications is The Supply of Information Technology Workers in the United States (1999, with Peter Freeman). Building on that work, Aspray intends to study IT workforce issues in Indiana. In addition, Aspray has published reports on the recruitment and retention of under-represented groups in graduate schools in computer science and engineering.

"Aspray is the perfect building block for our new school," said Michael Dunn, dean of the School of Informatics. "He brings a strong humanities and social science connection, wedded to a deep understanding of the mathematical foundations of IT. It has been said that the School of Informatics bridges the human and the technical. There are few people, if any, better than Bill to support this bridge."

Aspray's previous experience includes teaching at Williams College, Harvard University and Rutgers University, as well as research and management positions with two organizations of international standing: the Charles Babbage Institute (a historical research center) and the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers. He holds a master of arts degree in mathematics from Wesleyan University and a master of arts degree and a doctorate in the history of science from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Of his appointment at IU, Aspray said, "I am honored and immensely pleased to be joining this cutting-edge School of Informatics. The state of Indiana, its workers and the academic community have much to gain from the interdisciplinary approach of informatics and from understanding how information technology was applied yesterday, is being applied today, and can be more effectively applied in the future."

About the IU School of Informatics

The Indiana Higher Education Commission approved IU's School of Informatics in November 1999. Since admissions began in the fall of 2000, the school has enrolled nearly 900 students. The School of Informatics offers undergraduate degrees in informatics and new media and graduate degrees in health informatics, bioinformatics, chemical informatics, human computer interaction, and media arts and sciences.

The School of Informatics was allocated $4.8 million in yearly operating funds by the Indiana General Assembly beginning in 2002. In addition, the legislature granted funding to construct an Informatics Complex on the Indianapolis campus, which is scheduled for completion in 2003. An existing facility is being restored to become the new home of the School of Informatics on the Bloomington campus. The School of Informatics telephone number is 812-856-5754 and the Web address is

About Indiana University

Indiana University is one of the oldest state universities in the Midwest and also one of the largest universities in the United States, with more than 110,000 students, faculty and staff on eight campuses. IU has a growing national and international reputation in the areas of information technology and advanced networking. IU was named by Time magazine as 2001 College of the Year among research institutions. More information about IU is available at

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