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Dean's Statement: Professor Nick Cercone (1946-2015)

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The Dean of the Lassonde School of Engineering Janusz Kozinski has issued the following statement today.



Professor Nicholas Joseph (Nick) Cercone 


It is with great sadness that I must inform the School of the passing of Professor Nick Cercone.

He died peacefully with his wife at his side on Sunday morning. He was 68 years old.

Professor Cercone was a hugely respected academic, a trusted colleague and a valued friend to students, faculty, and staff throughout the York University community, and far beyond.

His untimely loss is a shock to everyone privileged enough to know Nick both personally and professionally.

He was a passionate leader and a prolific researcher with a record of accomplishments that is hard to overstate and too long to list in this note.

His ability to spearhead a highly-productive research enterprise while supervising his graduate students and taking on numerous leadership positions is an example to each one of us.

Professor Cercone served as Dean of the Faculty of Science and Engineering at York University from 2006 to 2009. He joined York from Dalhousie University where he served as Dean of Computer Science between 2002 and 2006.

Previously he was Chair of Computer Science at the University of Waterloo (1997-2002), Associate Vice-President Research and Dean of Graduate Studies at the University of Regina (1993-1997) and Chair of Computer Science at Simon Fraser University (1980-1985).

He obtained his PhD in Computer Science from the University of Alberta in 1975 followed by an academic career that also included positions at Ohio State University, Old Dominion University in Virginia, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in New York State and University of Victoria in British Columbia.

Most recently he was the Principal Investigator at the Centre for Innovation in Information Visualization and Data Driven Design (CIVDDD) at the Lassonde School of Engineering and a Professor in the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science.

Professor Cercone was a world-renowned researcher in the fields of artificial intelligence (including automated natural language understanding, computational linguistics, and knowledge representation), knowledge-based systems (including knowledge discovery, data analysis and data mining) and human-machine interfaces (including natural language and multimedia interfaces).

He co-founded Computational Intelligence, edited Knowledge and Information Systems, and served on editorial boards of six journals. He was a member of the ACM, IEEE, AAAI, AISB, and ACL, and past president of the Canadian Society for Computational Studies of Intelligence and of the Canadian Association for Computer Science. He was also a fellow of the IEEE and received a lifetime achievement award for his research on artificial intelligence in Canada.

His relentless energy, his unstinting attention for his field, and his passion for nurturing emerging research talent attracted widespread acclaim and admiration throughout his career.

He was the author of 400+ refereed manuscripts, several best paper awards, and supervised 125 HQP, including 30 PhDs, twenty of who hold faculty positions, and was an invited speaker 24 times. He held over $20-million in research grants in his esteemed career.

We will remember the contributions Nick made to our own lives and to our entire community. 

We will reflect on Nick’s enormous accomplishments in academia.

And perhaps most importantly, we will celebrate Nick’s legacy that will live on in the enduring impact of his own work and in the imprint he left on generations of talented research stars who will continue to shine brightly long into the future.



Share your memories of Professor Cercone

We will post memories and tributes from friends and colleagues on the Lassonde School of Engineering website.

Please send these via email to Eddy Evans, Director of External Relations.


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