Allen Newell Award Statement

On June 11, 2005, at the Palace Hotel in San Francisco, California, I read the following statement on being award the Allen Newell Award.

To be alive at the start of a new field—what a treasure. Some say scientific progress looks like a christmas tree: a wide diversity of ideas at the start, narrowing as some of the ideas are refined, then another, smaller diversity given what’s working and not, followed by a deeper narrowing, and so on toward the ultimate star of truth or of understanding—in any case, toward the top.

We are coming to realize that computing is not like any single other thing people do—it’s a little like science, mathematics, engineering, a little like art, architecture, writing, horticulture, and a lot like a long, unplanned journey.

The star at the top? Is that our ambition, or are we subject only to the laws of the imagination?

Research requires a kick, at times, to get the soul dancing.