Profiles of UCLA Engineering 2023 Award recipients

Teaching Excellence Award from Eon Instrumentation Inc
Jens Palsberg
Professor of Computer Science

Jens Palsberg’s student-centered teaching style and meticulously organized classes have earned him high praise from UCLA computer science and engineering students over the past two decades. More recently, students in chemistry, physics, mathematics, and other disciplines have attended his classes and given similarly rave reviews.

Palsberg, Professor of Computer Science, regularly teaches a bachelor’s course on compiler construction. He also teaches graduate courses on quantum computing and quantum algorithms. The two-course sequence is now a prerequisite for the new Master of Quantum Science and Technology program offered by the Faculty of Physics and Astronomy.

For Palsberg it is important to create a welcoming learning environment for the classroom. He makes every effort to help students learn new and complex concepts. He has applied the same creative approach to his own learning, exploring quantum computing as a new research focus, and in just a few short years has become one of the world’s most renowned leaders in the field. Since then he has published several articles on the subject and is part of a national effort to build undergraduate programs in quantum computing.

Regarded by many students as a clear and engaging professor, Palsberg designs his lectures with a catchy hook and a preview of what each lecture will entail. He has endeavored to look at problems not only from the teacher’s point of view, but also from the student’s point of view, making easy-to-understand connections throughout the curriculum. He strives to make his lectures as self-contained as possible so students can focus on learning each new concept.

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Palsberg came to UCLA in 2003 from Purdue University, where he was a professor. His research interests include programming languages, software engineering and quantum computing. At UCLA, he served as Chair of the Computer Science Department from 2010-2015 and is now the Faculty Director of the Science Hub for Humanity and Artificial Intelligence – a collaboration between UCLA and Amazon that launched in 2021. He received a Masters in Computer Science and Mathematics from Aarhus University in Denmark, where he also received his PhD. in computer science.

He is a member of the Executive Committee of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) – the world’s largest scientific and educational computing society – and is Associate Editor of ACM Transactions on Quantum Computing. He received the 2012 ACM SIGPLAN Distinguished Service Award and was named an ACM Distinguished Speaker.

This year’s UCLA Samueli Senior Teaching Excellence Award is sponsored by Eon Instrumentation Inc. Founded in 1961 and headquartered in Van Nuys, California, the company operates a second facility in Oceanside and designs and manufactures military-grade electronic products for air, ship and ground vehicle platforms.