Congratulations! to Professor Greg Wolffe for receiving the 2016 Glenn A. Niemeyer award from Grand Valley State University. The Glenn A. Niemeyer Awards, named after the first Provost of Grand Valley State University, honor faculty who are recognized for their commitment to excellence in teaching, scholarship and service. Faculty recipients “possess a superior student-centered approach to teaching with continued development of excellence in the classroom that instills in their students a love of learning. They create new knowledge and explore its applications through scholarly activity. They also contribute their expertise and service to the University, professional organizations, and/or the community.” Colleagues in the School of Computing & Information Systems are proud to acknowledge Wolffe’s standards of excellence in teaching, research, and service as he receives this well-deserved award.
Wolffe is considered by his graduate and undergraduate students as a challenging and demanding instructor with very high standards. When a graduating student was asked what he would remember most about his experience at GVSU, he answered: “Wolffe’s mind-bending tests”. Wolffe has regularly taught the Computer Architecture and Operating Systems courses at the undergraduate level, and graduate-level courses in High Performance Computing and Machine Learning. He also advises the Faculty Research & Development committee and has served on the Undergraduate Research Council.
Wolffe is the founder and director of the D.E.N. (Distributed Execution Network) lab. Numerous undergraduate and graduate students have worked in the DEN under his direction, on projects related to High Performance Computing and Computational Science (the application of computing methods to solve problems in the sciences). Wolffe can often be found mentoring and guiding students working in the DEN, on projects that also include other faculty members from the School of Computing and/or other units at GVSU. He puts considerable effort into ensuring that advanced computational resources are available in support of the different projects emanating from the DEN. This typically involves securing external grants to fund equipment purchases and student fellowships, and guiding students in actually constructing and configuring the various platforms and systems. He also mentors students throughout the dissemination process, publishing and presenting research results in a number of different venues.
A number of former students who have worked under Wolffe’s guidance in the D.E.N. have pursued doctoral studies and/or position in industry in which their course and research experience in GVSU’s School of Computing have been very helpful. Yuka Kutsumi, who earned a Master’s Degree in Bioinformatics at GVSU and who is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in the Department of Natural Resources at Cornell stated:
My most computer intensive training was during my graduate assistant project with Dr. Greg Wolffe at Grand Valley State University. Our research group participated in NetMob, a conference dedicated to the study of mobility and network datasets primarily sourced from mobile phones. I was novice in Computer Science at that time and I did not know how to tackle the massive data, but Dr. Wolffe was very patient with me and gave me great guidance to process and analyze the data. This project greatly strengthened my mathematical reasoning and provided me a strong foundation in programming skills, and these skillsets have been vital for executing my PhD research projects here at Cornell.
GVSU CIS alum Erin Carrier, who is also pursuing a Ph.D. in Computer Science at UIUC shared the following:
Dr. Wolffe is an outstanding teacher, advisor, mentor, and friend. Not only does he guide and encourage his students through research problems and the research process in general, he also provides personal insight into career and life choices. Dr. Wolffe goes well beyond what is required as an educator and strives to help his students achieve their best in classes and in life. Without his willingness to serve as an advisor and research mentor, I truly believe I would not be where I am today.
Surprisingly, Wolffe finds time to play hockey. He is an avid reader of all kinds of literature and he is an excellent cook. Wolffe and his wife Sue are the proud parents of two grown-up daughters.