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Michael Lightner, Professional Biography


Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering, and Computer Science (courtesy appointment), College of Engineering and Applied Science, University of Colorado Boulder, Colorado

Joint appointment with Department of Rehabilitation Medicine, College of Medicine, Health Sciences Center, University of Colorado, Denver, Colorado

Fellow, Univ. of Colorado Center for the Integrative Study of Work

Michael Lightner received the B.S. (with high honors) and M.S. from the University of Florida and the Ph.D. from Carnegie Mellon University, all in Electrical Engineering. He is a Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of Colorado, Boulder where he has been since 1981.

At Colorado he has held positions as Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, Associate Dean for Special Projects, Interim Associate Dean for Research, Director of Graduate Studies in Electrical and Computer Engineering, Chair of the Boulder Campus Planning Committee (all campus capital construction), Chair of the Council on Research and Creative Work, Chair of the four campus Faculty Grievance Committee, member of the Boulder Faculty Assembly, advisor to the Faculty Teaching Excellence Program and co-founder and co-director of the Summer Faculty Teaching with Technology Program.

He has received the College of Engineering Max Peters Service and Hutchinson Teaching Awards and the College Peebles Innovation in Teaching Award. He was key in developing the concepts and plan for the new Discovery Learning Center (a $16M facility for integrating undergraduates and industry into the college research activities). He currently serves on the ECE department Executive Committee and Chairs the ECE Faculty Search Committee.

Professor Lightner was instrumental in obtaining a gift of $250M for the University of Colorado to establish the Coleman Institute for Cognitive Disabilities – a funding organization devoted to developing and funding research partnerships focused on the use of advanced computing and communication technology to improve the quality of life of people with cognitive disabilities. He served as the interim Director and then Associate Executive Director of the Institute and currently serves as their Senior Engineering Advisor.

He has received an NSF Presidential Young Investigator award, a best paper award at the Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences, the AEA Outstanding Researcher- Educator Award in the Mountain States. He has received numerous research grants from both industry and government agencies including the National Science Foundation, U.S. Department of Education, TRW, Office of Naval Research, NASA, IBM, Fujitsu, Kodak, SRC, Storage Technology, Omnicom, and the National Institute for Disability and Rehabilitation Research among others.

Professor Lightner has served as consultant to a number of companies and organizations including Rockwell, Fujitsu, Epic Technologies, the World Bank and the State of Georgia. He has had appointments at Bell Laboratories (North Andover, MA and Murray Hill, NJ), IBM Watson Research Center, the University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC and the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. He has presented invited tutorials at a number of conferences including the Design Automation Conference, the Modeling and Simulation Meeting and the Custom Integrated Circuits Conference. He has organized and chaired special sessions at the ICCAD, and ISCAS and served on the program committee for ICCAD, DAC, ISCAS, SASIMI, the Logic Synthesis Workshop, the European Simulation Meeting, DATE, APPCAS, and the Behavioral Synthesis Workshop. In addition to his IEEE editorial duties he has served as associate editor of the ACM Transactions on Design Automation of Electronic Systems (TODAES) and served on their founding committee. He has been a series editor for Oxford University Press, Saunders Publishing, and Holt, Rinehart and Winston. He has published over 80 journal and conference papers and technical reports.

His technical interests have been in CAD for VLSI with work in optimization, statistical design, simulation, logic synthesis and formal verification. He also works in digital filter design. His current interests are focused on developing and applying technologies to enhance learning. Specifically, through work with the Coleman Institute for Cognitive Disabilities, he has developed a program to explore the intersection of cognitive science, cognitive neuroscience, learning science and learning technology. He is also co-Director of the industry sponsored ‘blurr’ Center for Emerging Media in conjunction with the School of Journalism and Mass Communications at the University of Colorado. In addition to his technical interests, he is a professional musician specializing in early music. He is a founding member of the performing group Diverse Passions now in their 12th season. His performance venues have included Carnegie Hall.