University of Waterloo names Cheriton School of Computer Science Director Raouf Boutaba a University Professor

Monday, April 22, 2024

Raouf Boutaba, Professor and Director of the Cheriton School of Computer Science, has been named a University Professor. Conferred by the University of Waterloo, this rare and prestigious recognition celebrates professors of international acclaim for their exceptional scholarly contributions.

“Raouf has made seminal contributions to computer networking that have not only improved the performance of networks but have also instigated new areas of academic research,” said Mark Giesbrecht, Dean of the Faculty of Mathematics. “His research has elevated the reliability, efficiency and latency of network communications, critical technological pillars that support our societies and are indispensable for a thriving economy.”

University Professor Raouf Boutaba in front of the Davis Centre

University Professor Boutaba is a prolific researcher known internationally for his pioneering contributions to automated management, which led directly to the trend toward autonomous networking, and for his ground-breaking work on network virtualization and network softwarization that are revolutionizing the way communication networks are designed, operated and managed. The research papers he, his students and collaborators have published have been cited more than 36,000 times with an h-index of 77 according to Google Scholar as of April 2024.

University Professor Boutaba’s dedication to and exceptional mentorship of graduate students was celebrated recently through a 2024 Award of Excellence in Graduate Supervision, a recognition conferred by Waterloo’s Graduate Studies and Postdoctoral Affairs and based upon submissions from former graduate students. Over his career at Waterloo, he has supervised 24 doctoral and 47 master’s students and has advised 17 postdoctoral researchers. Five of his former PhD students have received prestigious awards for their dissertations, among them three Best Dissertation Awards, two Alumni Gold Medals, the Mathematics Doctoral Prize, and the inaugural David R. Cheriton Distinguished Doctoral Dissertation Award.

Since joining Waterloo in 1999 as a professor of computer science, he has held various senior academic appointments, including Associate Dean of Research from 2016 to 2019 and Associate Dean of Innovation and Entrepreneurship from 2019 to 2020, both in the Faculty of Mathematics. Since 2020 he has served as the Director of the Cheriton School of Computer Science. During his tenure as director, he has guided the School’s rise in rankings, most recently to the 21st position globally according to the 2024 Quacquarelli Symonds World University Rankings for computer science. His many awards include being named a Fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers and Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada.

University Professor Boutaba’s impact extends beyond academia. He has a long track record of collaboration with industry and government. Among his recent endeavours are a partnership with Rogers Communications to revolutionize the landscape of telecommunication and network management, as well as leading a $1.5 million multi-partner consortium funded by the Department of National Defence to improve Canada’s security and defence through secure and reliable end-to-end network slicing for 5G mobile and beyond networks.

Last April, he helped to foster international academic research collaborations, notably by strengthening Canada–France ties through partnerships between Waterloo and Inria, France’s National Institute for Research in Digital Science and Technology. These efforts led to a Memorandum of Understanding between Waterloo and Inria that has culminated in several new research partnerships for Cheriton faculty. Among them is an Associate Team led by Professor Daniel Vogel that explores input for real-time interaction and another Associate Team led by Professor Edith Law that seeks to understand curiosity-driven learning to create novel education technologies.

University Professor Boutaba is the fifth faculty member at the Cheriton School of Computer Science to receive this prestigious distinction, following University Professors Ian Munro (2006), Ming Li (2009), Doug Stinson (2013), and M. Tamer Özsu (2018).

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