2016 Distinguished Achievement Award

The CS @ ILLINOIS Distinguished Achievement Award honors computer science graduates who have made professional and technical contributions that bring distinction to themselves, the department, and the University. The award is presented at the CS @ Illinois Awards Banquet each fall.

Nominations for the Distinguished Achievement Award are solicited annually from alumni, faculty, and advisory board members. Nominate an alumnus today at my.cs.illinois.edu/submit.


Steven Ashby
MS CS '85, PhD CS' 88
Director, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory

Since April 2015, Steven Ashby has been establishing the vision and setting the strategic direction for the Pacific Northwest National Lab (PNNL), a U.S. Department of Energy facility in Richland, WA, engaged in energy, environment, and national security research. In all, Ashby has worked at PNNL for eight years, where he also managed the lab’s $80 million research portfolio along with the technology commercialization, government relations, and research integrity functions.

Earlier in his career, Ashby worked at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL), where he managed the 500-person Computing Applications and Research Department. During his more than 20-year tenure at LLNL, he also helped found the Center for Applied Scientific Computing, which is now one of the world’s premier scientific computing research organizations.

An expert in polynomial iterative methods, Ashby is widely recognized as a leader in computational science—a discipline that he has worked to advance throughout his career. His research has focused on large-scale scientific simulation with applications to electromagnetics and subsurface flow and transport, numerical linear algebra, massively parallel computing, and applied computer and data sciences.

Ashby is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and an elected member of the Washington State Academy of Sciences.  

Last updated 2016


Utpal Banerjee
MS CS '76, PhD CS '79
Retired senior researcher, Software Solutions Group, Intel

An adjunct professor of Computer Science at the University of California, Irvine, Utpal Banerjee spent nearly 20 years of his career at Intel in the Software Solutions Group, where he developed techniques to enhance the performance of multi-core processors.

In the early days of parallel computing while working as a graduate student for Illinois CS Professor David Kuck, Banerjee developed a strategy for automatically analyzing a loop and determining whether it could be executed in parallel. His method, later dubbed Banerjee’s test, was a simple, fast, and effective data dependence test that has been widely used for compiler development and has had a big impact on advancing compiler technology.
 
While at Intel, he developed a formal representation and generalization of loop transformation techniques. By formalizing the transformation of code, Banerjee created the foundations of modern work on program restructuring, which is now known as the polyhedron model. In the 1990s, he wrote several books on loop dependence and transformations for restructuring compilers.
 
Banerjee is a fellow of ACM and IEEE.

Last updated 2016


Carl Dill
MS CS '69
Managing Director and Founder, TriCour Partners

A veteran industry information technology executive with significant experience in media/entertainment, manufacturing, food service, and government, Carl Dill is known as a strong strategist and catalyst for IT alignment with senior business management. Since 2001, he has been running his own consulting firm, TriCour Partners, which focuses on IT strategy and alignment & leadership development.

During his career, Dill has worked with Fortune 500 companies such as AOL Time Warner and McDonald’s Corp. As vice president and chief information officer at Time Warner, Dill led the planning for the technology integration associated with the AOL & Time Warner merger, identifying tens of millions of dollars in cost savings; he also developed the pre-merger framework for Time Warner Internet strategy, while creating company-wide digital media initiatives.

As senior vice president and CIO at McDonald’s, Dill led the company’s global IT planning, development, and operations spanning 25,000 restaurants in more than 100 countries. He linked technology to business strategy, prioritized IT investments, and identified and implemented global shared systems and ensured key technology adoption by more than 2,000 franchises. He also implemented the fast-food industry’s first PC-based point-of-sale cash registers and developed the accompanying software, which saved $50 million over five years.

A U.S. Army veteran, Dill has been active in charitable organizations throughout his career, serving on the board of a Chicago-based agency helping inner-city youth and a prison fellowship program.

Last updated 2016


Marcin Kleczynski
BS CS '12
Chief Executive Officer, Malwarebytes

Marcin Kleczynski has been creating anti-malware software since he inadvertently infected his family’s computer with a virus in 2004 when he was a young teen. Four years later, he founded his company, Malwarebytes, during his freshman year at Illinois.

Today, Kleczynski leads the strategic expansion of the business, whose products protect consumers and businesses against dangerous threats such as malware, ransomware, and exploits that escape detection by traditional antivirus solutions. He also oversees the long-term vision for the R&D teams. Malwarebytes employs more than 350 people in 15 countries.

Kleczynski has been recognized for his work in cyber security, receiving the Ernst and Young Entrepreneur of the Year award in 2014 and being named to the 2015 Forbes 30 Under 30 List in the Enterprise Technology category. In 2016, the company received two Stevie Awards for being the most innovative tech company and fastest growing tech company; Kleczynski received a Silver Stevie Award for Executive of the Year in the computer software industry.

Last updated 2016


Yu Pan
BS CS '07
Chief Technology Officer, 8i

Yu Pan is the chief technology officer at 8i, a tech firm that makes it possible to easily create and experience photorealistic human holograms for virtual reality, augmented reality, and the web. As CTO, Pan heads the company’s platform distribution and disruptive grass roots adoption.  

Prior to 8i, Pan worked at Affirm, a consumer lending startup aimed at revolutionizing the way online consumer credit is done. There, he spearheaded the development of integrations with top e-Commerce platforms that drove a substantial portion of Affirm's early growth.

Earlier in his career, Pan was one of the co-founders of PayPal. He designed and implemented the company’s first flagship product and developed web technologies that enabled PayPal to dominate auction payments on eBay. Later, Pan joined YouTube as its first employee, where he built the company's first player, developed technologies that enabled its massive growth on outside social platforms, and later joined Google as part of the acquisition.

After leaving Google, Pan co-founded KiwiCrate, which provides parents with inspiration and materials for imaginative learning for their children.

Last updated 2016