Dr. James Rong Chen, a research computer scientist in Computational Sciences Division for eight years, has been working in the area of personalized information retrieval and published two highly quoted papers in UMUAI. He died May 1st, 2001 in an automobile accident on his way home from work. He is survived by his wife, Lily Chang, his sisters Yiko, Ida, Eva, Gina and Nina, and his mother and father, Grace and Y.K. Jim was 45.

Jim was born on September 11th, 1955, in Taipei, Taiwan. He received a B.S. in Physics from the National Tsing Hua University, 1977, a M.S. in Industrial Engineering from the University of Wisconsin in 1981 and a Ph.D in Computer Science from the University of California at San Diego in 1993. He had received awards for both his teaching and research in Computer Science.

Jim worked at Signetics, FMC Ordnance, Apple Computer and IBM before joining NASA in 1993. At Ames, he conducted research on machine learning, digital libraries, and information management, most recently as part of the ScienceDesk Project. He was also the principal investigator for the DIAMS system, an agent-based collaborative information management system. Outside of work, Jim was an active member of the Bay Area Yan Xin Qigong Society.

The Chen family has donated funds to establish two awards in commemoration of James R. Chen:

  • The James Chen Award for the best annual UMUAI journal article. The prize carries a cash reward of $1000.
  • The James Chen Award for for the best student paper at the UMAP conference. It carries a cash reward of $1000.