Michael McRobbie

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Michael McRobbie
18th President of Indiana University
Assumed office
July 1, 2007[1]
Preceded by Adam Herbert
Personal details
Born Michael Alexander McRobbie
October 11, 1950
Spouse(s) Laurie Burns
Alma mater

University of Queensland

Australian National University [2]
Website http://www.indiana.edu/~pres/

Michael Alexander McRobbie (born October 11, 1950) is an Australian-American computer scientist, educator and academic administrator. He became the eighteenth president of Indiana University on July 1, 2007.


Michael Alexander McRobbie was born October 11, 1950 in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, and grew up in the Gold Coast.[3] He graduated with a BSc with First Class Honors from the University of Queensland in 1974, and with a PhD from the Australian National University in 1979. His early work was in philosophy, artificial intelligence and automated theorem proving.[4][5] After a postdoctoral fellowship in philosophy, he founded an automated reasoning project, the ANU Centre for Information Science Research and the Cooperative Research Centre for Advanced Computational Systems.[6]

From 1990 through 1996 he was a professor at the Australian National University. He had a growing interest in international research collaborations. In 1996 he and Kilnam Chon proposed what became Asia Pacific Advanced Network at a symposium held at Tsukuba, Japan. In 1997 he became the vice president for information technology at Indiana University.[7] The network operations center for the Abilene Network was established at IU under his direction,[8] and the Pervasive Technology Laboratories were established with a $29.9 million grant from the Lilly Endowment in 1999.[9]

McRobbie was principal investigator of a project sponsored by the US National Science Foundation to connect US and Asian national research and education networks called TransPAC.[10] The state-funded $5.3 million I-Light project connected all campuses of the IU system with fiber optic communications (further expanded in 2010).[11] In 2003 he became the vice president for research of IU. In 2005, the TransPAC2 project was funded as a follow-on to TransPAC.[12] He was chairman of the steering committee for the Indiana Metabolomics and Cytomics Initiative (METACyt), which was the largest outside funded project in the history of Indiana University Bloomington.[13]

McRobbie served as interim provost and vice president of academic affairs of the Bloomington campus in 2006.[14] He increased external funding by securing millions of dollars in grants for life science initiatives.[15] On a July 2006 trip through China he established a cooperative research program with Tsinghua University in Beijing.[16]

By September 2006, the previous president of Indiana University, Adam Herbert, announced he wanted to leave office before July 2008.[17] On March 1, 2007 McRobbie was selected as IU's 18th president and took office on July 1, 2007.[18] He served on the board of directors for ChaCha (the Indiana-based search engine). Some press were critical of a deal that used IU library staff as "guides", although McRobbie resigned from the board before becoming president of the University.[19][20]

McRobbie was made a Sagamore of the Wabash, the highest honor the state can bestow, in 2007 by Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels. That same year he received an honorary degree from the University of Queensland. In 2008 he received an honorary degree from Sungkyunkwan University in Korea,[21] and one from the Australian National University in 2010.[6] Also in 2010 he was named an officer of the Order of Australia,[6] but became a US citizen in October.[22]

McRobbie was served on the board of trustees for Internet2 since 2009, and was named chair of the board starting in 2012.[23] In 2012 he announced a new supercomputer called Big Red II at IU.[24] Although other universities operate larger computers, by some measures this Cray XK7 was expected to be the largest for use by a single US university and not a consortium or national resource.[25] The original Big Red computer was installed in 2006.[26]

McRobbie has three children and three stepchildren. His wife Laurie Burns McRobbie was born in Michigan, and worked as a technologist for 20 years. Both of them had been widowed before they married in 2005.[27] She was executive director of member and partner relations for Internet2, and an adjunct faculty member in IU’s School of Informatics.[21]


  1. ^ "2009-10 IU Factbook" (PDF). Indiana University (Bloomington, Indiana). Retrieved 2010-02-20. 
  2. ^ "History of IU Presidents". Archived from the original on December 25, 2009. Retrieved June 18, 2013. 
  3. ^ Eric Lai (October 15, 2007). "The Grill: Michael McRobbie on how to go from CIO to Indiana U's president". Computer World. Retrieved June 18, 2013. 
  4. ^ Paul B. Thistlewaite; Michael A. McRobbie; Robert K. Meyer (August 1, 1986). "The KRIPKE automated theorem proving system". 8th International Conference on Automated Deduction. doi:10.1007/3-540-16780-3_147. 
  5. ^ Michael A. McRobbie; Nuel D. Belnap Jr (June 1, 1979). "Relevant analytic tableaux". Studia Logica. 38 (2): 187–200. doi:10.1007/BF00370441. 
  6. ^ a b c Ian Chubb (July 16, 2010). "Citation for an Honorary Degree". Australian National University. 
  7. ^ "IU provost honored as founder of Asia Pacific Advanced Network". News release. July 27, 2006. Retrieved June 18, 2013. 
  8. ^ "Abilene Gets 10-Gig Upgrade". Light Reading. February 17, 2003. Retrieved June 18, 2013. 
  9. ^ "Pervasive Technology Labs at Indiana University achieve economic development milestone". News release. June 19, 2013. Retrieved June 19, 2013. 
  10. ^ "TransPAC Annual Report 2001–2002" (PDF). March 27, 2003. Retrieved June 17, 2013. 
  11. ^ "$25.1M federal stimulus grant to connect Ivy Tech campuses to I-Light network". February 19, 2010. Retrieved June 19, 2013. 
  12. ^ "International TransPAC2 Inaugurated". HPCwire. April 8, 2005. Retrieved June 18, 2013. 
  13. ^ "METACyt Initiative Retrospective" (PDF). March 4, 2008. Retrieved June 18, 2013. 
  14. ^ Hupp, Staci (February 28, 2007). "IU provost to succeed Herbert". The Indianapolis Star. Archived from the original on March 3, 2007. Retrieved June 17, 2013. 
  15. ^ "IU Fact Book 2008-09" (PDF). Indiana University. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2009-03-10. Retrieved 2009-05-31. 
  16. ^ "IU Partners With University in Beijing to Enhance Internet". Inside Indiana Business. July 10, 2013. Retrieved June 19, 2013. 
  17. ^ "Presidential Search". Indiana University. Archived from the original on September 7, 2006. Retrieved June 17, 2013. 
  18. ^ "IU Trustees select Michael A. McRobbie as 18th president". News release. March 1, 2007. Retrieved June 17, 2013. 
  19. ^ Tim Faulker (October 12, 2007). "Indiana University and ChaCha's Scott Jones have same idea". Gawker. Archived from the original on March 3, 2016. Retrieved June 18, 2013. 
  20. ^ Steve Hinnefeld (August 9, 2007). "McRobbie under fire for ties to ChaCha University officials dismiss as clerical error discrepancy in when IU president left company's board of directors". Bloomington Herald-Times. Retrieved June 18, 2013. 
  21. ^ a b "Biography". Office of the President web site. Indiana University. Retrieved June 17, 2013. 
  22. ^ "IU President McRobbie becomes U.S. citizen". Kokomo Perspective. October 12, 2010. Retrieved June 19, 2013. 
  23. ^ "IU President Michael McRobbie to Become Chairman of Internet2 Board". News release. August 11, 2011. Retrieved June 18, 2013. 
  24. ^ Mike Leonard (October 10, 2012). "McRobbie announces new supercomputer, tuition deal for IU". Herald-Times. 
  25. ^ Mark Hachman (April 29, 2013). "Indiana U. Inaugurates Most Powerful U.S. University Supercomputer". Slash Dot. Retrieved June 19, 2013. 
  26. ^ Timothy Prickett Morgan (October 10, 2012). "Hoosiers to get the world's fastest academic super: Alley-oop for privately paid for petaflops". The Register. Retrieved June 19, 2013. 
  27. ^ Elisabeth Andrews (February 2012). "20 Questions for IU's President" (PDF). Bloomington Magazine. Retrieved June 18, 2013. 
Academic offices
Preceded by
Adam Herbert
President of Indiana University
July 1, 2007 — dates thereafter
Succeeded by