Nancy Leveson

Digital Library

ACM AAAI Allen Newell Award

USA - 1999


For pioneering and developing the interdisciplinary field of software safety, developing innovative approaches to ensuring that computers do not contribute to loss of life and property. Dr. Leveson's work has influenced not only academic research but government standards and industrial practice world wide, spanning nuclear power, aerospace, medical, and various transportation systems. Dr. Leveson has built bridges between computer science and the fields of system engineering; mechanical, industrial and other engineering specialties; human factors and industrial psychology; organizational sociology; and formal accident theory.

Professor Leveson and her students established the basic definitions and formal foundations for the new field of software safety and developed techniques to identify software-related system hazards, eliminate and control hazards through system and software design. She has been concerned not only with technical issues but also with the managerial and organizational problems that lead to accidents in high-tech systems. Her book on software safety is used by practicing engineers in many engineering disciplines and in classes not only in computer science but in industrial, mechanical, and other engineering departments. Her contributions within computer science have been broad also and have spanned the areas of fault tolerance, software engineering, human-computer interaction, and formal methods.

Validating her great interdisciplinary contributions, the AIAA (American Institute for Aeronautics and Astronautics) in 1994 awarded her their Information Systems Award for contributions in space and aeronautical computer technology and science. Throughout her career, she has been a vocal advocate for responsible engineering practices in the use of computers to control safety-critical systems and has raised consciousness about the ethical and moral issues involved in entrusting computers with responsibility for human life without adequate assurance that safety is not being compromised. Besides providing technical solutions to the problems involved in using computers, her detailed investigations of serious accidents have raised awareness among engineers and scientists of the potential dangers.

ACM Fellows

USA - 1995


Nancy Leveson is the founder of the field of software safety and has developed safety techniques that are used by industry and other researchers worldwide.