Rob A. Rutenbar

  • Senior Vice Chancellor for Research


Rob A. Rutenbar serves as the Senior Vice Chancellor for Research. In this role, he leads the University’s strategic vision for research and innovation, works to expand technological and corporate partnerships, and manages all compliance and contract operations.

Dr. Rutenbar possesses nearly 40 years of experience in innovation and technology. His research focuses on three broad categories: tools for a wide variety of integrated circuit design issues, methods for managing the statistics of nanoscale chip design and custom computer architectures for perceptual and data analytics problems.

Prior to coming to the University of Pittsburgh, Dr. Rutenbar served as the Abel Bliss Professor of Engineering and head of the Department of Computer Science at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. In this role, he oversaw a department composed of 70 faculty members and nearly 2,500 students that is consistently ranked as the No. 5 Computer Science program in the nation by U.S. News and World Report. Prior to assuming that position in 2010, Dr. Rutenbar held the Stephen J. Jatras Chair in Electrical and Computer Engineering at Carnegie Mellon University, where he served on the engineering faculty for 25 years. 

As an entrepreneur, Dr. Rutenbar founded the tech firms Neolinear Inc. and Voci Technologies, Inc. in 1998 and 2006, respectively. He was the founding director for the Center for Circuit and System Solutions, a multi-university consortium that focused on next-generation chip design challenges. The recipient of 14 U.S. patent grants, his endeavors have been funded by such notable entities as AT&T, Google, DARPA, IBM, the National Science Foundation and the Pennsylvania Infrastructure Technology Alliance. Rutenbar is the author of eight books and 175 published research articles.

In recognition of his career accomplishments, Dr. Rutenbar was elected a fellow of both the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) and the Institute for Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE). He is a winner of the Semiconductor Research Corporation’s Aristotle Award, given in recognition of the impact of his students on the U.S. semiconductor industry, and the CEDA/IEEE Phil Kaufman Award, for his lifetime contributions to tools for chip design.  He was also recognized with distinguished alumnus awards from both the University of Michigan and Wayne State University.

In addition to his research career, Dr. Rutenbar is also a committed educator.  He led efforts at Illinois to explore massive, open online courses (MOOCs) and launched the first MOOC on chip design tools.  His course is currently the largest such educational offering available globally, and has had over 60,000 registered learners since its 2013 debut.

Dr. Rutenbar earned his bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering at Wayne State University in 1978. He earned master’s and doctorate degrees in computer information and control engineering at the University of Michigan in 1979 and 1984, respectively.