Dr. Carl Chang, professor and chair of computer science, was invited by the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences to visit Sofia, Bulgaria, during early October. He gave the keynote address at the International Conference on Automatics and Informatics 2005. Chang shared his views on the current state of software engineering from both a researcher's and an educator's standpoint.
Especially notable about Dr. Chang's visit was his chance to meet Bulgarian President Georgi Parvanov. Dr. Chang was invited to witness the annual presidential presentation of the John Atanasoff Award to Valentin Pavlov, vice president of a predominant Bulgarian software company and doctoral student researching quantum computing. The John Atanasoff Award is presented each year to a young Bulgarian making significant contributions to information technology. Dr. Chang had the chance to meet with President Parvanov to discuss the possibilities of establishing a similar international award under the auspices of the IEEE Computer Society, an international and highly recognized computer science organization with 100,000 members worldwide.
The Department of Computer Science has strong ties with the hosting city of Sofia, Bulgaria. John Vincent Atanasoff (1903-1995), inventor of the first electronic digital computer and Iowa State physics professor during the 1930s and 40s, had a Bulgarian father who immigrated to the United States. Atanasoff's computer was long ago dismantled, but a working replica was built by the Ames Laboratory in the mid-1990s and is on display in Durham Center.
In 2003, Iowa State University and the Department of Computer Science hosted the International Symposium on Modern Computing (JVA 2003) in celebration of Atanasoff's 100th birthday. While in Bulgaria, Dr. Chang helped plan for the forthcoming 2006 Symposium (JVA 2006) which will be held in Sofia.