Ignorance is Bliss: A Retrospective On My Career at Georgia Tech


Gregory D. Abowd


2021-02-11 12:30:00


BlueJeans Events

GVU Center Brown Bag Seminar: Ignorance is Bliss: A Retrospective On My Career at Georgia Tech

On July 15, 1994, I began my career on the faculty in the College of Computing at Georgia Tech. Throughout my career, I have cherished the over half a dozen opportunities I have had to give GVU Brown Bag talks on various research activities. My time as full-time faculty at Georgia Tech ends at the end of February 2021, and I will begin a new chapter of my career as the Dean of Engineering at Northeastern University in Boston. I would like to reflect on the 26+ years I have spent at Georgia Tech, the College of Computing, and the GVU Center and try to explain why I think this place is so special.  In thinking about a theme for this talk, I was reminded that my career has been a series of shifting research agendas, each one inspired by some life events. In all cases, I was buoyed by a bevy of talented and supportive colleagues and students who gave me the courage to jump into a research topic that I didn’t know much about.  That “ignorance” has allowed me to be more fearless than I had the right to be. As I jump into my next career, for which I am also blissfully ignorant, I hope I am lucky enough to be surrounded by excellence that inspires success.


Gregory D. Abowd is a Regents’ Professor and J.Z. Liang Chair in the School of Interactive Computing at Georgia Tech, where he has been on the faculty since 1994. He also serves as an Associate Dean in the College of Computing. An applied computer scientist, Dr. Abowd's research interests concern how the advanced information technologies of mobile, wearable and ubiquitous computing impact our everyday lives when they are seamlessly integrated into our living spaces. Dr. Abowd's work has involved applications as diverse as education (Classroom 2000), home life (The Aware Home) and health (technology and autism, CampusLife). He and his current and former students are active inventors of new sensing and interaction technologies. He has recently helped to co-create an interdisciplinary research effort, COSMOS, which investigates the collaboration of materials, manufacturing, electronics, computing and design to explore an alternative future computing industry. Dr. Abowd is an ACM Fellow and a member of the ACM SIGCHI Academy. As of March 1, 2021 Dr. Abowd will be the Dean of Engineering at Northeastern University in Boston.