Volume 95, Issue 92

Wednesday, March 27, 2002
 
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NEWS

DNA nets award for computer wiz

"Outcasts" feel at home

"Snake lady" charms Western audience

Ladies shun the computer nerd lifestyle

Tuesday, bloody Tuesday

School is back in session after four week strike at Dalhousie

DNA nets award for computer wiz

By Chris Webden
Gazette Staff


Although women may be under-represented in the computer science industry, they are still able to succeed and lead the way.

Lila Kari, associate professor in the department of computer science at Western, has won this year's Florence Bucke Award for her work as a biocomputing researcher. Each year the award is granted to a member of Western's faculty of science.

"I am studying the possibilities of using DNA as a programming language to solve complicated arithmetic and logical problems," Kari said, adding that receiving the award was a great honour, considering the high calibre of the competition.

The annual award is given to a researcher in the faculty of science who shows outstanding work in his or her area of discipline. It was established in 1983 with money left to the university by Florence Bucke, a former school teacher who graduated from Western in 1926.

"Award winners are nominated by their department and then a committee selects the most deserving candidate," said Western chemistry professor Duncan Hunter, chair of this year's selection committee.

"They receive a hearty handshake, a citation, some money and the privilege of giving a lecture to other faculty members and interested members of the community," Hunter added.

Kari spoke humbly about being the recipient of the annual award.

"To win is a big responsibility [and] it comes with a lot of expectations attached to it," she explained. "I hope I am worthy."

Kari has been working in biocomputing since 1994 when she worked with Len Adleman, a highly reputed doctor in the field of biocomputing.

"[Adleman] was the first person to demonstrate DNA's capabilities as a problem solver. It got a lot of people excited," Kari explained.

"For a computer scientist to win shows the research being done [in the department] is comparable to that of the other sciences and that means a lot to us," said computer science department chair Stephen Watt, noting the award is important for the future of the department and public's perception of the field.






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Copyright The Gazette 2002