Thurnau Prof. Valeria Bertacco has been selected to serve as Associate Dean for Academic Programs and Initiatives at the Horace H. Rackham School of Graduate Studies. Her appointment was approved at the U-M Regents meeting on May 18, 2017 and is effective June 1, 2017.
The Associate Dean for Academic Programs and Initiatives serves as the primary liaison between the Rackham School and academic units in the physical sciences and engineering. The Associate Dean works closely with these programs to assess and promote best practices in graduate education and to achieve student success, to serve as a contact for the Rackham School on campus and nationally, and to promote and support cross-unit partnerships and interdisciplinary efforts and develop new initiatives and programs, including efforts in the areas of diversity, climate and professional development.
Prof. Bertacco earned a Laurea with Honors from the Università di Padova, Italy in 1995, her MS from Stanford University in 1998, and her PhD from Stanford University in 2003. She joined the faculty at the University of Michigan in 2003. In July 2017, she was awarded an Arthur F. Thurnau Professorship, which recognizes faculty for outstanding contributions to undergraduate education.
Prof. Bertacco has a broad and extensive track record of service. Her outreach to less developed countries is impressive, as evidenced by her semester spent in Addis Ababa, where she taught a graduate class and interacted extensively with students and faculty. Today that collaboration continues: she is currently working with several of their Master’s students to assist them in their efforts to apply to PhD programs in the US, and she is mentoring several Ethiopian students who have pursued their PhD studies under her supervision at the University of Michigan. She also has served as an associate editor of IEEE Transactions on Computer-Aided Design from 2006 to 2011 and on the editorial board of the Elsevier’s Microelectronics Journal. At the University of Michigan, Professor Bertacco has been involved in enhancing diversity and excellence in faculty and graduate students by serving on the College of Engineering executive committee, the Rackham Graduate School executive board, the ADVANCE advisory board, and as a Rackham Graduate School Faculty Ally for Diversity.
Prof. Bertacco’s research is on the design of novel, distributed and specialized architectures to boost the execution of big-data applications. She designs algorithmic solutions to boost the correctness and reliability of complex silicon architectures at extremely low additional design time and cost. She is working on novel design flows and assembly techniques, including chiplet-based design, to lower the cost of developing novel silicon designs, so that many more engineering teams can dedicate their creativity to the development of new hardware systems. She is currently funded by NSF and the STARnet consortium, where she serves as an associate director and threats theme leader for the University of Michigan’s STARnet-funded Center for Future Architectures Research. The center provides several opportunities a year to interact and discuss research ideas with other faculty and industry representatives.