Illinois Professor Leslie “Les” Gasser passed away at his home on Tuesday, October 16, surrounded by family and close friends. Gasser was 68 years old.
Gasser earned his M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in computer science from the University of California, Irvine, in 1978 and 1984, respectively. After completing his education, Gasser taught and conducted research at the University of Southern California, Los Angeles. He joined the Graduate School of Library and Information Science, now the School of Information Sciences, at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign as an associate professor in 1998. He was promoted to full professor in 2006.
Gasser’s research focused on social informatics, information systems, conceptual foundations of information, extreme-scale distributed simulation, and the origins and use of information in biological systems. At Illinois, Gasser held a joint appointment in the Department of Computer Science and faculty affiliate appointments in the National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA), the Beckman Institute, and the Computational Science and Engineering Program. He also was a faculty affiliate at the Institute for Software Research in the Donald Bren School of Information and Computer Sciences at the University of California-Irvine.
“At a critical time in the School’s development, Les significantly contributed to broadening both teaching and research in social informatics,” said Leigh Estabrook, iSchool dean emerita, who recruited Gasser. “Les was unique in the way he thought about our field and his ability to cross disciplinary boundaries.”
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