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Electrical Engineering and Computer Science

Niehaus Memorial Fund Honors Dedicated Teacher, Researcher

Published on September 27th, 2012 by Michelle Ward

Doug NiehausThe Doug Niehaus Memorial Fund has been established in honor of the late EECS Associate Professor. The fund celebrates Dr. Niehaus’ love of teaching and commitment to students. EECS students will receive awards or scholarships in his name.

“Doug was a dedicated teacher and researcher whose passion, intellect, and preciseness made us a better department. He will be missed,” said EECS Chair Glenn Prescott.

Dr. Niehaus passed away on Aug. 21. He had been on the EECS faculty since 1993 and mentored more than 35 graduate students and scores of undergraduates. He taught courses in programming, software engineering, operating systems, and real-time computer systems. 

When Angela Wright was having trouble debugging programs in Programming II, Dr. Neihaus worked with her to break down the steps and even related them to parenting. It helped the mother of three better understand the detailed and tedious process. Wright said Dr. Niehaus would get irritated if she tried to go too fast, telling her it was how mistakes were most often made. He called it being "painfully thorough,” and it was just one of the lessons she learned from him.

“He would ask us questions to find a subject that we knew and felt comfortable with and he would relate it to the projects that we were doing,” said Wright, an EECS junior. 

Karthik Poduval (MSCoE ’10) marveled at the way Dr. Niehaus combined technical knowledge and his past engineering experiences in class. Poduval said he felt he enrolled for one course and gained knowledge in multiple areas. 

“His ability to explain the most challenging computer science concepts with everyday analogies impressed me,” said Poduval, now a software development engineer at Lab126. “I still use his examples.” 

Dr. Niehaus was a pioneer in real-time Linux systems, which ensure embedded systems function properly in smartphones, automobiles, and numerous other devices. He led research on real-time systems, high-performance computing networks, operating systems, and network performance and measurement at KU’s Information and Telecommunication Technology Center (ITTC).

To donate, please go to KU Endowment. Contributors will need to specify EECS under “My gift will benefit” and fill out the “I am making this gift in honor or memory of someone” section.

Fellow Linux researcher Thomas Gleixner published a thoughtful remembrance of Dr. Niehaus.