Don Gotterbarn

Digital Library

ACM Presidential Award

USA - 2018


In grateful appreciation of 25 years of outstanding service as chief architect for ACM's Code of Professional Ethics, a living document adopted by the computing community worldwide as the blueprint for professional conduct in the field.

Gotterbarn has served to define what it means, ethically, to be a computing professional. He was a forerunner in recognizing the critical importance of professional ethics and has worked tirelessly, as an educator and practitioner, to advance this message to a global audience through the development of computer ethics curriculum, leading workshops, and serving as chair of ACM’s Committee on Professional Ethics. Throughout the creation of the original code, and now its revision, Gotterbarn has insisted on engaging the computing community, seeking guidance and feedback in the code’s design and direction, always appreciating that the cause—and the code—is only as strong as its supporters.

Press Release

Outstanding Contribution to ACM Award

USA - 2005


For exceptional accomplishments and leadership as both an educator and practitioner, in establishing the ACM's Codes of Ethics and promoting the ethical behavior of computing professionals and organizations.

Don Gotterbarn's outstanding achievement has been to significantly advance ACMs mission of guidance and leadership in professional ethics. This has included development of a computer ethics curriculum, service on ACM curriculum development committees, active service to SIGCAS, providing ethics workshops at ACM conferences, and serving as chair of the ACM Committee on Professional Ethics (COPE) since 1997 when he also established the Software Engineering Ethics Research Institute. Professor Gotterbarn has also contributed via his participation on the committee that revised the ACM general Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct in 1992, and by chairing the ACM/IEEE-CS joint task force on Software Engineering Ethics and Professional Practice from 1993-1999 resulting in the approval and adoption by both societies of the Software Engineering Code of Ethics. His lectures, articles and advocacy for this effort have elevated the Code to a truly international standard of practice; it is being adopted by an increasing number of multinational corporations and institutions throughout the world.

In research, Gotterbarn developed the Software Development Impact Statement process (SoDIS) that encourages those involved in software project management to consider the wider ramifications of their work. An associated decision support tool, SoDIS Project Auditor, has been developed and successfully undergone field trials in Australia, New Zealand, the UK, and the USA. In this work, Gotterbarn gave the ACM's Codes of Ethics real world impact by incorporating them into a software development decision making process, which integrates ethical and social responsibility into the development process.