Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. Dieter Rombach receives prestigious international lifetime achievement award

Press Release /

This year, the Computer Society of the international engineering association IEEE (Institute for Electrical and Electronics Engineers) will award one of the highest honors for professional lifetime achievement – the Harlan D. Mills Award 2021 – to Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. Dieter Rombach, in recognition of his many years of sustained and impactful contributions and leadership in research, teaching, and technology transfer in the area of empirical software engineering. Prof. Rombach has been a Fellow of the IEEE Computer Society since 2003. The award has been given since 1999 and is one of the most prestigious awards in the field of computer science and information technology.

Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. Dieter Rombach, Fraunhofer IESE
© Fraunhofer IESE

Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. Dieter Rombach spent almost 10 years as a professor of Computer Science in the Department of Computer Science at the University of Maryland in the USA, personally collaborating during this time with Dr. Harlan Mills, one of the pioneers of engineering-style software development. Prof. Rombach therefore feels particularly honored and fondly remembers his productive cooperation with Dr. Harlan Mills: “He was one of my most important mentors during my time at the University of Maryland. Together with him, I worked on the foundations of software engineering, which later became the basis of my work at TU Kaiserslautern as well as at Fraunhofer IESE.”

Prof. Dr. Arnd Poetzsch-Heffter, President of TU Kaiserslautern, congratulates Prof. Rombach with the following words: “The Harlan D. Mills Award is an impressive recognition of the great achievements Prof. Rombach has made in the field of Software Engineering. The award recognizes both the quality of his scientific results and his powerful impulses for the application of the principles of software engineering in practice, and highlights the far-reaching international visibility of his work. I am very happy for Mr. Rombach, whom I have known for many years as a highly committed colleague. I am equally delighted for Kaiserslautern, as it will naturally also benefit from this reputation.”

Prof. Rombach held the Chair of Software Engineering in the Department of Computer Science at the Technical University of Kaiserslautern from 1992 to 2018. Since 2018, he has been Senior Research Professor at the Department of Computer Science of the Technical University of Kaiserslautern. His main research interests are in the area of “Software Engineering” – especially software engineering processes based on sound theory as well as empirical methods for planning and quality assurance. He graduated in Mathematics and Computer Science from the University of Karlsruhe and subsequently received his PhD in Computer Science from the University of Kaiserslautern (1984). Furthermore, Prof. Rombach is the founding director of the Fraunhofer Institute for Experimental Software Engineering IESE in Kaiserslautern, Chairman of the Board of the Science & Innovation Alliance Kaiserslautern (SIAK), as well as CDO (Chief Digital Officer) of the City of Kaiserslautern. With Fraunhofer IESE, whose Executive Director he was from 1996 to 2014, he founded the first Fraunhofer Institute in Rhineland-Palatinate in 1996. The goal was – and still is today – to reliably develop software, which is taking over increasingly important and critical functions in our society, according to engineering-style principles. In parallel, he continued to develop the formal foundations at the Department of Computer Science of TU Kaiserslautern and taught them to many subsequent generations (more than 500 Master’s theses, close to 100 dissertations). Today, many of his students hold high-ranking positions in research and industry.

This IEEE lifetime achievement award adds to and crowns the impressive list of previous honors and awards – the US “NSF Presidential Investigator Award” (1990), the Order of Merit of the State of Rhineland-Palatinate (2000), the “Distinguished Postdoctoral Award” of the University of Maryland (2003), the Federal Cross of Merit on Ribbon of the Federal Republic of Germany (2009), an honorary doctorate from the University of Oulu, Finland (2009), as well as the Fraunhofer Medal of the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft (2013).

The award will be presented at the International Conference on Software Engineering (ICSE) 2021 – along with the prize money and an invitation to speak at the conference. The event is the world’s most important conference in the field of software engineering. It will be held virtually from 25 to 28 May 2021 (2021 in Madrid, Spain).

Further information about the Harlan D. Mills Award: