In memory: Adele Howe

Prof. Adele Howe was intelligent, caring, driven, and accomplished; and to many she was a dear and trusted friend.

Adele HoweAdele Howe joined the Computer Science Department at Colorado State University in 1992. In 2010 she was named a Professor Laureate in the College of Natural Sciences.

Adele Howe was married to Ross Beveridge, also a Professor in the Computer Science Department. They have two children,  a daughter, Ailish, who is 17 and a son, Bryce, who is 14. We lost Prof. Howe on Jan. 20th  after a long battle with cancer.

Prof. Howe grew up in Philadelphia. She attended The University of Pennsylvania and in 1983 received her B.S.E. in computer science and engineering. She then joined ITT’s Artificial Intelligence Research Group. She entered the Computer Science Program at the University of Massachusetts in 1984 and completed her Ph.D. in 1992. While at the University of Massachusetts she did pioneering work on autonomous agents operating in complex environments, and simulated fire fighting in Yellowstone National Park.

Upon arriving at CSU in 1992 Adele Howe continued to work in the field of artificial intelligence, and she authored more than 100 papers. Her research focused on autonomous agents, planning systems, human-centered computing, as well as search and combinatorial optimization. One of her many projects was helping to develop the first meta-crawler search engine for navigating the web (before there was Google).

In 2000 and 2001 she served the United States as a member of the U.S.  Defense Science Study Group, a selective and small group of academics charged with reviewing all branches of the military, and anticipating how changes spurred by advanced research will impact the military. She also helped to develop a satellite communication scheduling system for the U.S. Air Force.

In 2015 she was named a Fellow of the Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence (AAAI). In 2016 she was the inaugural recipient of the ICAPS (International Conference on Automated Planning and Scheduling) Distinguished Service Award.

Adele Howe was passionate about mentoring. As a confident and capable woman in a field dominated by men, she wanted everyone to have the same chance to be successful. She mentored more assistant professors in the Computer Science Department at CSU than anyone else over the last 25 years. And she was good at it. Adele took time out of her busy schedule to have lunch or socialize with junior faculty. She cared tremendously about the success of the junior faculty and provided pertinent advice when needed. She was also a friend whom one could count on when there were personal problems. Many of the current faculty in the Computer Science Department, men and women, will never forget what she did for them.

Adele Howe was also a champion for diversity in computer science. She worked tirelessly to recruit women and minorities in the Computer Science Department by writing  personalized letters to high school students and finding scholarship opportunities for all deserving students. She worked to cultivate a respectful atmosphere in the Computer Science Department; she made the department more welcoming to women and minorities. As just one small example, she organized a weekly women’s tea for faculty, staff and students where issues pertinent to women were discussed in an informal setting.

Adele Howe was committed to providing high quality undergraduate education. She worked tirelessly developing and restructuring the undergraduate courses to improve the learning experience of the students. Adele Howe was also an excellent teacher and excelled at motivating students to achieve more than they thought possible. Her commitment to students extended into graduate education where she coached students to become effective and articulate scholars.

Adele and her family loved the mountains. In the winter, they loved going to Summit County. And in the summer, they had a tradition of camping at their favorite places in Colorado. She loved to garden. She loved to travel. She had a knack for finding good restaurants. She will be greatly missed.

A memorial service will be held from 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. on Feb. 17 in the CSU Lory Student Center, University Club and Cherokee Room.

Adele’s husband, Prof. Ross Beveridge, has asked that those who wish to make a donation in honor of Adele to please consider donating to the CSU Department of Computer Science Inclusion and Excellence Scholarship.  This fund promotes inclusion and excellence in the department by recruiting and retaining stellar underrepresented students in computer science – something Adele championed for many years.  You can donate by following this link Or, make checks payable to CSU Foundation, P O Box 1870, Fort Collins, CO 80523-1870, and indicate CS Inclusion and Excellence Scholarship in honor of Adele Howe.