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Mark Lawford appointed as acting chair, department of computing and softwareJuly 2, 2019

Mark Lawford, a professor in the Department of Computing and Software, has been named acting chair of the department.

The selection committee for the internal search put Lawford forward as a recommendation to the Senate Committee for a five-year term, commencing on July 1, 2019. Lawford will serve as acting chair until a final appointment recommendation has passed through the university's approval process that will occur this coming fall.

"My predecessor, Ridha Khedri, did an amazing job setting up the Department for the future," says Lawford. "Through the department's involvement in data analytics, machine learning and software engineering with the MacDATA Institute, the Computing Infrastructure Research Centre, the MacWater Diagnostic Research Initiative and the McMaster Automotive Resource Centre, Computing and Software faculty are enabling leading-edge interdisciplinary research in a broad range of fields."

Lawford received his BSc ('89) in Engineering Mathematics from Queen's University, where he also received the University Medal in Engineering Mathematics, and his MSc ('92) and PhD ('97) in Electrical and Computer Engineering from the University of Toronto. He worked at Ontario Hydro as a real-time software verification consultant on the Darlington Nuclear Generating Station Shutdown Systems Redesign project, receiving the Ontario Hydro New Technology Award for Automation of Systematic Design Verification of Safety Critical Software in 1999.

Lawford joined the Department of Computing and Software at McMaster University in 1998 where he helped develop the Software Engineering programs and Mechatronics Engineering programs, and is also the director of the McMaster Centre for Software Certification. Since 2012, he has been involved in automotive software research, and was a co-recipient of a Chrysler Innovation Aware in 2014. He is currently the lead investigator or co-investigator on a number of projects with several original equipment manufacturers and serves as the Connected and Autonomous Vehicle faculty advisor for the McMaster EcoCAR team.

“I am very pleased that Mark Lawford is joining our leadership team,” says Ishwar K. Puri, dean of engineering. “As a McMaster Engineering faculty member for more than 20 years, Mark’s insight, industry expertise and passion for interdisciplinary research will help continue to drive Computing and Software forward as we embark on our largest transformation of the student experience at McMaster Engineering — The Pivot.”

Lawford's research interests include software engineering, software certification, application of formal methods to safety critical real-time systems, and supervisory control of discrete event systems. He is a licensed Professional Engineer in the province of Ontario and a Senior Member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers.