Keith D. Cooper
, the L. John and Ann H. Doerr Chair in Computational Engineering, professor of computer science CS of electrical and computer engineering, has been named chair of the computational and applied mathematics (CAAM) department at Rice University, effective Jan. 7.
Cooper also serves as co-director of the Ken Kennedy Institute for Information Technology. He has held numerous leadership positions at Rice. He was co-chair of the faculty search and programming committee for the Data Science Initiative and chaired the provost’s Advisory Committee on Data Science. He served as the university’s chief marshal at commencement for more than a decade and as CS chair from 2002 to 2008.
Cooper’s primary research area has been program analysis and optimization. He was one of the founding members of the compiler group at Rice, has published more than 75 articles and advised 18 doctoral students. He is a Fellow of the Association for Computing Machinery, and teaches several courses in compiler construction.
He has co-authored two editions of a textbook on compiler construction, Engineering a Compiler, and a third edition is in preparation. He has also taught introductory programming, principles of computing for non-majors, software engineering and computer organization.
Cooper came to Rice as a freshman in 1974 and last year celebrated the 35th anniversary of his employment by Rice. He earned his B.S. in electrical engineering in 1978, and his master’s degree and Ph.D. in mathematical sciences in 1982 and 1983, respectively, all from Rice.
It was a transitional time for the computational disciplines, the school of engineering and the university. The Department of Mathematical Sciences had been created in 1968, and later renamed CAAM. In turn, it spawned the departments of Computer Science, in 1984, and Statistics, in 1987.
Cooper worked as a research scientist in mathematical sciences from 1983 to 1984, and in CS from 1984 to 1990, when he joined the CS faculty as an assistant professor. He was one of the founders of Rice’s compiler research group, and from 1983 to 1988 oversaw dispersal of two inter-departmental National Science Foundation grants that built much of the foundation of the current department.
Cooper succeeds Béatrice M. Rivière, Noah Harding Chair and Professor of CAAM, who served as CAAM department chair since 2015.