Prof. Valeria Bertacco recognized with University of Padova’s Elvira Poli Award

This newly-instituted award is given to engineering alumni who have pursued careers aligned with the university's values and dedicated their efforts to gender equality in engineering.
Prof. Valeria Bertacco, third from left, is presented with the Elvira Poli Award.

U-M Vice Provost for Engaged Learning and Arthur F. Thurnau Professor Valeria Bertacco has been awarded the 2021 Elvira Poli Award by the University of Padova. This newly-instituted award is given to engineering alumni who have pursued careers aligned with the university’s values and dedicated their efforts to gender equality in engineering.

In 1920, Elvira Poli became the first woman engineer to graduate from the University of Padova and the third woman engineer in Italy. An activist for women’s empowerment, she co-founded the Association of Women Engineers and Architects (AIDIA) in 1957 to protect the rights of women engineers and architects, and served as its vice president until 1970.

Elvira Poli Award
Elvira Poli Award

Prof. Bertacco is a highly noted researcher in the area of computer architecture and is Director of the Center for Applications Driving Architectures (ADA). She specializes in the area of computer design, with emphasis on reliability, design correctness, and hardware-security assurance, and is specifically interested in creating novel solutions to enable the sustainable development of silicon systems, by making them more powerful, more reliable and significantly cheaper to design and manufacture.

In addition to her research and teaching activities, Prof. Bertacco is the faculty advisor for the Ensemble of CSE Ladies+ (ECSEL+), a student group for graduate women and gender minorities in CSE. She also helped initiate Computing CARES, a program funded by a U-M Third Century grant that aims to eliminate the historical gender disparity that exists in the programs of study for computer science and computer engineering. She has made numerous contributions of time, effort, and equipment in support of the ECE program at Addis Ababa Institute of Technology (AAIT) in Ethiopia, which has included curriculum development and classroom teaching, and was part of a U-M delegation that has broadened this relationship and formalized a research exchange program designed to increase collaboration between U-M and AAIT. Earlier this year, she was one of three organizers of Africa Week, which examined issues and opportunities that play a role in shaping the future growth of African countries.

Prof. Bertacco received her MS and PhD in Electrical Engineering from Stanford University in 1998 and 2003 and a Computer Engineering degree summa cum laude from the University of Padova, Italy in 1995. She joined the faculty at Michigan in 2003. Prior to that, she was with the Advanced Technology Group of Synopsys for four years as a lead developer of the industry-standard Vera and Magellan tools.

Prof. Bertacco has received recognitions including U-M’s Faculty Recognition Award, Harold R. Johnson Diversity Service Award, and Sarah Goddard Power Award, and the College of Engineering’s Herbert Kopf Service Excellence Award and Vulcan Teaching Excellence Award. She has received an IEEE CEDA Early Career Award, an NSF CAREER award, the Air Force Office of Scientific Research’s Young Investigator Award, and an IBM Faculty Award. She is an ACM Distinguished Scientist and a Fellow of IEEE.

Honors and Awards; Valeria Bertacco; Women in Computing