Moore named Dean of the School of Computer Science

Credit: Courtesy of Andrew W. Moore Credit: Courtesy of Andrew W. Moore

Andrew W. Moore, former vice president of engineering at Google, became the new dean of Carnegie Mellon’s School of Computer Science (SCS) in August. Moore has roots at Carnegie Mellon — he was a professor of computer science and robotics before he joined Google in 2006.

Moore helped found Google’s Pittsburgh office, which was once part of Carnegie Mellon’s Robert Mehrabian Collaborative Innovation Center (CIC). When Google outgrew the CIC, however, Google moved to its current location in Bakery Square, where it has been since 2010.

Moore succeeds former dean Randal Bryant, who stepped down to return to be part of the SCS faculty on June 30, after serving as dean of SCS since 2004.

Moore views his position as an administrative role, with an eye to some laudable goals.

“We’re one of the few places in the world that are making the next technology leaders, and, across campus, we are doing these amazing things,” Moore said. “My high-level meta-goal is producing these technology leaders and promoting research.”

With this in mind, Moore is brainstorming ways to achieve these goals. One thing that he is focusing on is removing obstacles for faculty members here at Carnegie Mellon.

“If you’re a faculty member at any university, life is very exciting. There are things you want to build,” Moore said.

But Moore says writing proposals and getting grants can be stressful. Moore hopes to find ways to alleviate these worries. That way faculty can focus on their research, rather than having to deal with bureaucracy.

This does, however, mean that Moore doesn’t get much time to pursue his own research in machine learning, artificial intelligence, and robotics.

“That’s my dream, that some day I can get back to doing some research, but I don’t see that happening for a year or two,” Moore said, noting that there are many exciting possibilities for Carnegie Mellon right now, and that his work as dean will work to further the university’s role as a leader in technology.

Having moved from industry to academia, Moore is in the perfect position to compare industry and university life. “Interestingly, I feel that being at Google is fairly similar to Carnegie Mellon. At first sight, it sounds like they are completely different places; one is about education and blue sky research, and the other about making products that the world’s population uses.

But when you look at what people are really doing, at both places you have scrawling on whiteboards [and] grabbing the whiteboard marker out of each other’s hands as they’re trying to write their ideas down. In both cases you have work that people are very passionate about,” Moore said.

Moore also acknowledges the differences between academic life and life in industry. “Maybe the single most important thing that we’re doing at Carnegie Mellon is education. While there’s a lot of educating at Google, it’s very different from that in a university.”