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He was born in Greenwich, Connecticut, USA. He received his B.A. degree from Wesleyan University (physics) and, in 1984, his Ph.D. degree from Columbia University (computer science). Kurose's main area of teaching is computer networking. He is a coauthor of the well-known textbook Computer Networking: A Top-Down Approach. Among other awards, he received the 2001 Taylor Booth Award of the IEEE: "For distinguished contributions in advancing computer science and engineering education through teaching, writing an innovative textbook, curriculum development, and mentoring in the networking area." In 2013 he was the IEEE Communications Society INFOCOM 2013 Achievement Award Winner: "For seminal contributions to the design, analysis, modeling and measurement of computer networks and their protocols, and for impactful service and educational contributions". In 2016, he received the ACM Sigcomm Special Interest Group (SIG) Lifetime achievement award "For his sustained excellence in networking research, education, mentoring, and service to the SIGCOMM community."
Kurose has been a Visiting Scientist at the University Paris, Institut Eurecom, INRIA, Technicolor and IBM Research, among other institutions. He has been a member of the Scientific Council of Institute IMDEA Networks since 2007, and a member of the Board of Directors of the Computing Research Association.
Since January 2015, Dr. Kurose has been on leave from the University of Massachusetts, serving as the Assistant Director of the National Science Foundation (NSF) for Computer and Information Science and Engineering  (CISE). He leads the CISE Directorate, with an annual budget of more than $900 million, in its mission to uphold the nation's leadership in scientific discovery and engineering innovation through its support of fundamental research in computer and information science and engineering and transformative advances in cyberinfrastructure. Dr. Kurose also serves as co-chair of the Networking and Information Technology Research and Development Subcommittee of the National Science and Technology Council Committee on Technology, facilitating the coordination of networking and information technology research and development efforts across Federal agencies.
- Kurose, James F.; Ross, Keith W., Computer Networking (6th ed.), Pearson Education, ISBN 9780132856201
- 1485 citations in Google Scholar (2010-01-22).
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