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June 15, 2010

UMBC Computer Science Graduate Selected to Head Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory

Anthony Lane
Communications Manager
(410) 455-5793

Ralph Semmel, who completed his doctorate in computer science at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC) in 1992, has been selected to become the next director of the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Lab (APL).

APL, located in Laurel, Md., has close to 5,000 employees conducting and supporting research related to national defense and security.

Semmel, who finished his degree in 1992, focused his dissertation research at UMBC on the problem of how to get information from a database without knowing beforehand how the database is structured.

“He was an extraordinary student,” said James Mayfield, who was Semmel’s thesis advisor at UMBC. “He was not only academically rigorous, but he also accomplished a lot.”

Mayfield, who now works at Hopkins’ Human Language Technology Center of Excellence, said he’s also been impressed with the leadership skills Semmel has shown during his 23-year career with APL.

Semmel will begin his new position July 1, replacing Richard Roca to become the eighth director of APL in the laboratory’s 68-year history.

UMBC President Freeman Hrabowski praised Semmel’s accomplishments.

“We are extremely proud of Ralph Semmel and the leadership role he is taking at one of our nation’s foremost research centers.”

Semmel is a graduate of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, and he completed master’s degrees at Hopkins and the University of Southern California.

Posted by elewis at June 15, 2010 9:58 AM