HPC Research Rakes in NSF Awards

By Nicole Hemsoth

July 21, 2011

This week a round of announcements came forth sharing news of the winners of the National Science Foundation’s Early Career Development awards. While a number of researchers outside of HPC were named on the list, there were a few notable supercomputing-geared scientists on the list.

Liqiang “Eric” Wang, an assistant professor in the University of Wyoming College of Engineering and Applied Science won a $450,500 Early Career Faculty Development award for his research on scalable error detection for parallel software systems on high performance computing platforms.

Wang’s research addresses some of the critical problems with parallel programming design by creating algorithms and a scalable toolkit that can better analyze parallel code to detect potential problems at the extreme scale. His tool kit will also work on smaller clusters, a fact that he says will facilitate the development of new courses and enhance existing ones.

Following his receipt of the award, Wang noted, “It’s very difficult to debug such large-scale parallel programs. Scalable and light-weight correctness tools are critical to combat this challenge.”

At Purdue University, six young researchers were selected for the Faculty Early Career Development awards that range from $300,000-$525,000 in research funding over four or five years.

Among the Purdue University researchers are Thomas Hacker, an assistant professor of Computer and Information Technology who is finding ways to increase software reliability in HPC systems by assigning the most reliable elements within a cluster to reduce failures. Also, Sanjay Rao, an assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering, will use his grant to develop ways to help enterprise operators design their networks to meet desired high-level objectives like security and performance requirements. He is also working on developing a networking configuration data repository that will be made available to researchers, which includes lecture material on enterprise management in networking.

Another assistant professor in Purdue’s Electrical and Computer Engineering program will use his grant to work on software and hardware for reliable operation of wireless embedded systems for mission-critical applications.

Purdue’s Alice Pawley’s research explores engineering education and seeks to understand why some groups have been chronically under-represented in engineering programs. She hopes her researcher will educate policymakers about the problems of underrepresented groups in engineering and encourage wider action to develop new inroads for these groups.

This is but a small sampling of the projects selected. The National Science Foundation gave 400 researchers with the Early Career Development awards this year.

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