Tribute To David L. Waltz

Claire Monteleoni

Dave was such an impressive leader and a dear mentor. He really made me feel like he believed in me, and I'm sure he did so for many, many others.

Warren Powell

I think we should remember Dave's passion for life and for being inspired by working on challenging problems with people who share his enthusiasm.  I think Dave was one of those people who woke up each morning looking forward to what he was going to do that day, and was always willing to share his enthusiasm with others.  He made the world a bigger place.

 

-Warren Powell.

Princeton University.  

Jim Van Orden

“Watch out, I’m Bulldozer Bully,” commanded the big boy with arms folded across his chest.  I was one of those he unceremoniously bumped, or “bulldozed,” out of his way that sunny day on the Tuscan Elementary School playground in the fall of 1951.

 

Austin Lee

Dave was among that rare breed of men who possess tremendous intellect and yet are genuinely humble.  I was very much inspired by his qualities, his leadership and how he treated others with upmost respect.  Although there was a very small window of time for me to get to know Dave, it was such a privilege to have worked with him and I will always remember him as a great human being.  I'll miss you, Dave.

Yassine Benajiba

"Most inspiring person I've ever met. Thanks Dave!"

James Geller

I was lucky to meet Dave Waltz when I was a graduate student at SUNY Buffalo, where he came to visit his good friend, my advisor Stuart C. Shapiro. After that I was blessed with meeting him many more times like in the airplane to Sydney, Australia, in 1991 going to IJCAI, or at IJCAI 1993 in Aix-les-bains in France. At one of these conferences, Dave also met my wife and my son “Sandy” who was in a stroller at that time. (You will see below why I am mentioning this.) In later years I would seek Dave out whenever possible, like visiting him at Thinking Machines Corp.

Suzanne Maxx

RIP Dave! Yours was a brilliant mind, and we so appreciate your genius! A role model you will remain!  We are so grateful for your encouragement, love and support- Dave, you are loved and appreciated for a beautiful heart, unprecedented humility, patience, and knowledge beyond reason.

 

Piotr Mirowski

David's enthusiasm and interest for the work done by the members of the machine learning community was tremendous; I am greatly thankful for the key research forum that he established in New York. Although I was not a member of his lab, he devoted time to discuss my thesis work, and his encouragements gave me a necessary moral boost and were truly inspirational.

Corot Reason

When I was an undergraduate at the University of Western Ontario in 1970 I heard Marvin Minsky give a talk about David's work and it sent me on a path into Computer Science. His work literally changed my life. I never met David, I'm sorry to say, and I am sad to hear of his untimely death.

 

Dan Alicea

Dave, I would like to thank you for all the support you gave me through the years. From the first time we met I knew you had a kind soul. The belief you showed in me, as well as others, was truly inspiring and I've learned a lot from you. I will miss being able to walk into your office, at any time, and ask your advice. You gave me a great opportunity here at CCLS that I will forever appreciate. You will truly be missed.

Haimonti Dutta

Dave was an inspiration.  I was mesmerized by this "giant" bending down to talk to me the first time I saw him in 2007 and have been fascinated ever since … He was an assiduous reader and diligently read computer science technical material with as much zest as financial magazines, books on history, education and novels. I often talked to him about reading and shared critiques of books, suggestions on what to read and learnt valuable lessons from each discussion. He loved to listen as much as he liked talking.

Mona Diab

He was a mentor, role model, amazing colleague and boss. He created CCLS and he was the fire that kept it running. May his academic legacy survive and thrive thru CCLS.

Boyi Xie

I won't get used to the days without your regular emails (you are the source of news about the latest advances in artificial intelligence).  I won't get used to the days without your greetings in the morning (you live 2 hours' drive away, but are often the earliest to the center).

Axinia Radeva

Dave’s positive presence made the world a better and richer place for us to live. His wisdom, kindness, generosity, faith and leadership inspired our lives and will be greatly remembered.

I am proud to have known him as my boss, my mentor and my friend. Dave will live on in my heart, as I am sure in many others. He was a great man!

Phil Long

Dave was always a warm, upbeat guy, and a kind and supportive boss.  His hard work, vision and steady leadership has helped the get the CCLS off to a good start, and his legacy will be felt for years to come.

Cynthia Rudin

Dave was the kind of person who could (with one sentence, or even a one sentence email) give a piece of advice or make a connection that would change the whole course of your life. He somehow was able to figure out what kinds of things people would really like (potentially even before they knew it themselves) - and he helped people through knowing that.

Ansaf Salleb-Aouissi

All kindness, intelligence and grace; An amazing mentor and dear friend. It has been a privilege and blessing to know you. I will never forget you.

Thank you Dave.

Albert Boulanger

I knew Dave at the University of Illinois when I was a grad student under Ryzard Michalksi. Dave was at the Coordinated Science Lab and I was in Computer Science. Dave wisely advised me on my adviser who many found difficult over the years as their adviser.  Later, when I went to BBN in Cambridge MA, Dave then went to Thinking Machines and we were both in a reading/discussion group call SNAC for a number of years. Then in 1994, I went to Columbia in Roger Anderson's group and interestingly Dave also moved to NJ to become the director of NEC research for some years.

Roger Anderson

Before he came to Columbia, I knew Dave Waltz mostly from his stint at Thinking Machines, the forever FIRST and must legendary of Supercomputer companies…. Dave was the leader of their software division… and it was the only profit making part of the breakthrough company ever, unfortunately for Thinking Machines….

Becky Passonneau

Dave Waltz was a rare human being, a ready talker who had as much he wanted to ask you about as he had to say, a listener who inspired attention. To work with him was an opportunity I valued every day.  He radiated a belief in excellence in all things because he couldn’t help himself from excelling. He laughed easily and often, yet it was clear he worried as well. He worried about the Center, about each of us, about the state of the world.

Marta Arias

When I think of Dave I think of kindness and warmth. It was a pleasure to work with him. He was always supportive and kind, and made everyone feel welcome. He created a great working environment, where one could feel excited and know one was working on important projects. Dave, Thank You for the opportunity and the experience.

Manoj Pooleery

Dave, you never ceased to amaze me with your utmost humility and immense heart.  You have been a friend, a mentor and guide.  I will miss you dearly.

Nancy Burroughs-Evans

I was the first hire at the Center and watched it grow to the vibrant place it is today.  I didn't even know what data mining was and Dave in his patient way explained.  I still was a little lost but eventually caught on.  He nurtured all of the young researchers who joined the Center and encouraged them to pursue their ideas.  He was the most optimistic person I have ever worked with and was always available to listen to all no matter what the issue.  He was the best boss ever and I will always miss him.

Claire Monteleoni
Warren Powell
Jim Van Orden
Austin Lee
Yassine Benajiba
James Geller
Suzanne Maxx
Piotr Mirowski
Corot Reason
Dan Alicea
Haimonti Dutta
Mona Diab
Boyi Xie
Axinia Radeva
Phil Long
Cynthia Rudin
Ansaf Salleb-Aouissi
Albert Boulanger
Roger Anderson
Becky Passonneau
Marta Arias
Manoj Pooleery
Nancy Burroughs-Evans