RIT names new chair of software engineering department

Naveen Sharma looks to bring industry experience from Xerox into the classroom

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Naveen Sharma

Naveen Sharma has been named chair of Rochester Institute of Technology’s Department of Software Engineering in the B. Thomas Golisano College of Computing and Information Sciences.

He succeeds Professor Jim Vallino, who has decided to return to teaching within the department.

Sharma comes to RIT from Xerox, where he served in many roles for the past 20 years, including director of the Computing and Information Services Lab (CISL) at Xerox PARC and chief innovation officer for IT Services. While at Xerox, he formed a research and development team focused on data science, big data computing, stochastic modeling and optimization, cloud workflow automation and ethnography. He has also led the deployment of lean software development processes across Xerox PARC.

“I am excited to bring lessons from industry and fuse them with our curriculum,” said Sharma. “Software engineering is a mix of theory and real-world application, so it’s very important for RIT students to have practical knowledge and industry connections.”

Sharma received a master’s in mechanical systems analysis and design from the Indian Institute of Sciences, Bangalore, and a Ph.D. in computer science from Kent State University. He has expertise in the areas of distributed and parallel systems, system modeling and optimization, software synthesis and engineering big data software systems.

“Software engineering for big data analytics computing is just one area of research that I would like to see RIT champion in the future,” said Sharma. “We are always finding ways to help RIT students be more competitive in the industry.”

In 1996, RIT became the first university in the U.S. to offer a bachelor’s degree in software engineering. Today, more than 500 students are enrolled in the graduate and undergraduate programs, with 14 faculty in the department.