Robert Walker's Home Page

Robert A. Walker

Professor & Former Chair,
     Computer Science Department,
     Kent State University

Former Director & Founder,
     School of Digital Sciences
256 Mathematical Sciences Building

Real Life:    I enjoy taking photos & traveling with my wife, Dr. Ellen Walker
Recent photos:    San Francisco    Kent    NEO Wine Country    GHC / Baltimore
       Yes, yes, I know - these links need to be updated! Hopefully soon...

Robert A. Walker is the former Director and founder of Kent State's interdisciplinary School of Digital Sciences; a former Chair of the Kent State Computer Science Department; a strong supporter, Lifetime Member, and Distinguished Member of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM), a "serious amateur" photographer, a social media afficianado, a fan of figure skating, and Dr. Ellen Walker's husband.

He received his Ph.D. in Electrical and Computer Engineering from Carnegie-Mellon University in 1988. He joined the faculty of the Computer Science Department at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in 1989, and moved to the Computer Science Department at Kent State University in 1996, where served one year as Interim Department Chair and four years as Department Chair (2006-2010). In 2010 he led the team to form an interdisciplinary "digital sciences" program, and became the founding Director of the new School of Digital Sciences in 2011, a position he held for five years. He has now returned to the faculty in Computer Science, though he continues to have some involvement in Digital Sciences as well.

Dr. Walker's early research interests were in the field of high-level synthesis, in particular the scheduling and design space exploration problems. He was the co-author of Algorithmic and Register-Transfer Level Synthesis: The System Architect's Workbench and A Survey of High-Level Synthesis Systems, and most of this work was supported by the National Science Foundation. Some of his later work focused on novel architectures for embedded systems. Building on the KSU CS Department's historical strength in parallel computing, he and many of his students have explored the use of associative SIMD computing techniques on FPGAs, demonstrating their suitability for embedded systems running such applications as data mining, image processing, etc. During his time forming the School of Digital Sciences, he became interested in enterprise architecture and in interdisciplinary programs that blend computer science with other fields.

For 18 years (1992 to 2009), he was deeply involved with the ACM Special Interest Group on Design Automation (ACM/SIGDA), serving as Secretary / Treasurer, Newsletter Editor, Chair, and Past Chair. He has served on over 120 conference steering, organizing, and program committees, including seven years on the DATE Sponsors' Committee, four years on the DAC Executive Committee, and seven years on the ICCAD Executive Committee. He received the SIGDA Meritorious Service Award in 1997, and the SIGDA Distinguished Service Award in 2006 "for dedicated service as SIGDA Chair (2001-2005) and over a decade of service to SIGDA, DAC, and the EDA profession".

Dr. Walker is also very active in the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM), as a whole, where he served six years as one of three Representatives from the SIG Governing Board to the ACM Council. He also served on the ACM Council's Awards Committee as the first Chair of the Senior Member Committee, and he served for a while on the ACM Women's Council (ACM-W), leading an effort to increase recognition of women in computing. He received the Outstanding Contribution to ACM Award in June 2008 "for a sustained record of dedicated and conscientious leadership within the ACM Special Interest Groups, including service as Chair of the SIG Governing Board, Chair of SIGDA, SGB Representative to Council, as well as leadership in ACM conference organization". He recently returned to service with the ACM and is currently serving as a member of the Publications Board.