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Leveson gained her degrees (in computer science, mathematics and management) from UCLA, including her PhD in 1980. Previously she worked at University of California, Irvine and the University of Washington as a faculty member. She has studied safety-critical systems such as the Traffic Collision Avoidance System (TCAS) for the avoidance of midair collisions between aircraft and problems with the Therac-25 radiation therapy machine.
Leveson is Professor of Aeronautics and Astronautics and also Professor of Engineering Systems at MIT. She is an elected member of the National Academy of Engineering (NAE). Prof. Leveson conducts research on the topics of system safety, software safety, software and system engineering, and human-computer interaction. In 1999, she received the ACM Allen Newell Award for outstanding computer science research and in 1995 the AIAA Information Systems Award for "developing the field of software safety and for promoting responsible software and system engineering practices where life and property are at stake." In 2005 she received the ACM Sigsoft Outstanding Research Award. She has published over 200 research papers and is author of two books, "Safeware: System Safety and Computers" published in 1995 by Addison-Wesley and "Engineering a Safer World" published in 2012 by MIT Press. She consults extensively in many industries on the ways to prevent accidents.
In 2020, she received the IEEE Medal for Environmental and Safety Technologies for her development of STAMP and other system safety and accident modeling analysis tools.
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