Dale Miller Journeys Through Decades of Technology

LVC students collaborate on an assignment

Dr. Dale Miller’s résumé, while impressive, fails to do the man himself justice. That single page, letters a simple serif font, lists a number of impressive accomplishments for this 1978 graduate, including several positions as a professor, a Ph. D. in mathematics from Carnegie Mellon University, and knowledge of programming languages. However, in order to understand properly the extent of his accomplishments, one must first consider his status as a computational science major that grew up in an era where computers and the Internet were just starting to gain ground. Miller, in his time in research, has had the opportunity to help invent a programming language, all the while keeping abreast of the ever-shifting technology of the modern world. 

“I was able to see the Internet evolve—I saw some of the protocols being discussed, and it rapidly changed from there. I’ve seen a lot of things come and go, but the Internet is the most impressive to survive,” said Miller, who was a tenured professor at the University of Pennsylvania and served as the head of Penn State University's Department of Computer Science and Engineering. 

Even during his time at LVC, Miller, who graduated from Annville-Cleona High School, displayed a passion for technology. He worked with one of the College’s first computers, assisting with programming student financial records. The College also kindled his passion for math, with him taking a calculus class on campus while still in high school. Yet, even though his love of computing never changed, Miller found himself on the move for much of his life.

Miller went on from his small town Annville roots to become a world traveler, exploring Europe and marrying Catuscia Palamidessi, an Italian citizen. Gradually, he found himself accepting more responsibility and becoming, in his own words, a “family man.” Although he wanted to settle down, he had no desire to cease the research that he had dedicated his life to. After a series of moves in an attempt to reconcile the couple’s differing nationalities, they both found jobs in France, Miller accepting a professorship in a town near Paris.

“At our level of seniority, it’s very hard to find two jobs in the same country, much less in the same city,” said Miller on his family’s relocation.

At the present time, as the Director of Research at INRIA Saclay in France, Miller focuses primarily on research in proof theory, in which he tries to find formal ways for machines to find and communicate proofs to other machines or people. He also plans on writing a second book on computational logic to follow his first, which concerned his involvement in the development of a programming language. Although he stated that writing a book is a slow process, he is determined to finish the next one as soon as he can.

Not only that, but he is determined to stay in research as long as possible. From Annville country boy to globetrotting mathematician, Miller’s field of study has changed as drastically as he has over his lengthy career.