Biographical Sketch

Cherri M. Pancake is Professor of Electrical Engineering & Computer Science and Intel Faculty Fellow at Oregon State University. In her first career, she conducted ethnographic fieldwork in Guatemalan Indian communities, where she applied cross-cultural survey and interviewing techniques to study social change. Since receiving a PhD in Computer Engineering, she has applied her ethnographic training to usability engineering, specifically the problem of how complex software can better support the conceptual models and computing strategies of practicing scientists and engineers.

Pancake was among the first worldwide to apply ethnographic techniques to identify software usability problems - an approach which is now mainstream - and she conducted much of the seminal work identifying how the needs of scientists differ from computer science and business communities. Over the past 25 years, she has served as PI or coPI on research grants totaling over $150 million, from diverse sources including industry, not-for-profits, the National Science Foundation, and the Departments of Agriculture, Commerce, Defense, Education, Energy, and Interior. She is Director of the Northwest Alliance for Computational Science and Engineering (NACSE), an interdisciplinary research center that has been cited as the national leader in usability for science and engineering applications. The methods she developed for applying user-centered design to improve user interfaces have been reflected in software products from Hewlett Packard, Convex, Intel, IBM, and Tektronix.

More recently, Pancake has focused on how "virtual collaborations" - interactions that may span large, interdisciplinary, and physically distributed communities - differ from situations where colleagues have the opportunity to meet and work together physically. She develops processes and software tools to make remote collaboration fit naturally into the normal patterns of scientific research and practice, working with groups such as the Protein Databank, Long-Term Ecological Research Network (LTERnet), and National Biological Information Infrastructure (NBII). Pancake's leadership was instrumental in the creation of organizations - including the Parallel Tools Consortium, Network for Earthquake Engineering Simulation (NEES), and ACM's Special Interest Group on High Performance Computing (SIGHPC) - uniting researchers, educators, and industry practitioners to expedite the rollover of research advances into education and practice. Her latest research centers on software systems that help resource managers access and analyze complex data more effectively so their decisions can be science-based.

Pancake's broad familiarity with many scientific, engineering, and social science disciplines is reflected in her advisory roles for industry, universities, national laboratories, professional organizations, and national/international funding agencies. In 2003, she was appointed Special Expert on Cyberinfrastructure to the National Science Foundation, and in 2006 was named "Woman of Achievement" by the State of Oregon's Commission on Women. She is a Fellow of the Association for Computing Machinery and the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, and currently serves as Vice-President of ACM.

Contact Information

Recent resume - Requires a userid of "resume" and password "pancake" (that's how I keep out the robots)