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2016 Distinguished Achievement Memorial Award

Michael Faiman
Michael Faiman

A devoted educator and mentor, Michael Faiman was the founding director of the CS department’s Graduate Student Advising Office—a position that he held for 14 years—and he was well known for guiding hundreds of students through the Computer Architecture course (CS 231) for many years. In the 1970s, he launched the first instructional hardware labs in the department.

An alumnus of the University of Illinois, Faiman (PhD Physics '66) worked on the design and construction of ILLIAC II, one of the U of I’s early digital computers that spearheaded a new generation of supercomputers. His research interests included graphical processing, device theory, circuit design, and reconfigurable microprocessor architectures.

Faiman’s influence on students extended beyond the Illinois campus. For example, he was a contributor to the Graduate Records Exam (GRE) computer science subject test required for graduate school admissions. And, he created an innovative logic design lab in the early 1970s that enabled students to perform simulations; he spent a semester at University of California, Berkeley, where he introduced the lab to their faculty and students.

The department honors Faiman’s service and dedication to students with the Michael Faiman Professorship in Computer Science, which was established by Alumnus Doug MacGregor (MS 1980). Faiman retired from the faculty in 1999. He died in 2004.