July 13, 2020 – ACM’s Special Interest Group on High Performance Computing (SIGHPC) is pleased to announce that Dr. Patrick Flick has won the 2020 SIGHPC Doctoral Dissertation Award. This award is given each year for the best doctoral dissertation completed in high performance computing (HPC) in the previous year, and includes a $2,000 cash prize, a plaque, and recognition at the international Supercomputing Conference (SC’XY) in November. Nominations were evaluated on technical merit, the significance of the research contribution, the potential impact on theory and practice, and overall quality of work.
This year’s award is presented for outstanding contributions to the design and analysis of parallel string algorithms on distributed memory parallel computers, with applications to computational biology. Dr. Flick’s dissertation, entitled “Parallel and Scalable Combinatorial String Algorithms on Distributed Memory Systems,” presents a distributed-memory parallel algorithm for constructing a distributed representation of suffix trees, yielding both superior theoretical complexity and better practical performance compared to previous distributed memory algorithms. The new algorithm minimizes the overall and per-node communication volume, providing a more efficient way to express data structures for application areas such as text processing, information retrieval, and computational biology.
Dr. Flick received his PhD in Computational Science from Georgia Tech in 2019. He is currently a software engineer at Google. He authored the first paper used for the Student Cluster Challenge Reproducibility Challenge at SC16, and was awarded best student paper at SC15.
“We are delighted to grant this year’s Dissertation Award to Dr. Flick. His work exemplifies the best of the HPC community, and helps to raise the standards of the profession,” said Jeff Hollingsworth, the chair for this year’s dissertation award. “The applicant pool was made up of outstanding recent PhDs, whom we hope will continue to make exciting contributions to high performance computing techniques and technologies in the future.”
Dr. Bo Fang (University of British Columbia) was selected for Honorable Mention in the 2020 Dissertation Award. His thesis, titled “Approaches for Building Error Resilient Applications,” made significant progress on protecting large-scale HPC applications against ‘soft errors’ (i.e., hardware transient faults). Dr. Fang currently works as a Postdoctoral Research Associate at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory.
This award is open to students studying anywhere in the world who have completed a PhD dissertation with HPC as a central research theme. In this case, HPC refers to the study or application of computational capabilities delivering much higher performance or larger scales than could be accomplished with a desktop or simple server system in order to solve large problems. Nominations for the next Doctoral Dissertation Award will open in August 2020.
SIGHPC is the first international group within a major professional society that is devoted exclusively to the needs of students, faculty, researchers, and practitioners in high performance computing. SIGHPC’s mission is to help spread the use of HPC, help raise the standards of the profession, and help ensure a rich and rewarding career for people involved in the field. https://www.sighpc.org