HPC Researcher Moves to Georgia Tech

August 16, 2017

Aug. 16, 2017 — Vivek Sarkar is moving from his position as E.D. Butcher Chair in Engineering at Rice University in Houston, Texas to join the School of Computer Science in the College of Computing at Georgia Institute of Technology, in Atlanta, Georgia. Effective August 16, 2017, he will hold the Stephen Fleming Chair for Telecommunications in the College of Computing at Georgia Tech. “Our goal in hiring Vivek,” said Zvi Galil, the John P. Imlay Jr. Dean of Computing at Georgia Tech, “is to further bolster the College of Computing at Georgia Tech as the premier academic institution for research in software for future systems in the 21st century, both by creating technologies that will be broadly adopted by industry and by introducing new pedagogies for parallel software that will influence on-campus and on-line teaching across the globe.”

At Rice, Sarkar’s lab, which is also known as the Habanero Extreme Scale Software Research Project, included more than 20 PhD students, postdoctoral researchers, and research scientists working on advancing foundations of programming technologies and HPC software for a wide range of parallel and distributed platforms. Some of these foundations have already influenced industry standards for parallelism including the doacross construct in OpenMP 4.5, the task blocks library for C++, Java’s Phaser library, and the Open Community Runtime (OCR) system. Sarkar served as chair of the Department of Computer Science at Rice during 2013 – 2016. He is also PI of the DARPA-funded Pliny project on “big code” analytics led by Rice, and instructor for a new online specialization in Coursera on Parallel, Concurrent, and Distributed Programming.

Prior to joining Rice in 2007, Sarkar was Senior Manager of Programming Technologies at IBM Research. His research projects at IBM included the X10 parallel programming language, the Jikes Research Virtual Machine for the Java language, the ASTI optimizer used in IBM’s XL Fortran product compilers, and the PTRAN automatic parallelization system. He became a member of the IBM Academy of Technology in 1995, and was inducted as an ACM Fellow in 2008. Sarkar has been serving as a member of the US Department of Energy’s Advanced Scientific Computing Advisory Committee (ASCAC) since 2009, and on CRA’s Board of Directors since 2015. He will also hold a joint faculty position at Oak Ridge National Laboratory starting this month.   “It is great to have Vivek on board with a joint faculty appointment in our Computing and Computational Sciences Directorate (CCSD) to further strengthen the ongoing partnerships between ORNL and Georgia Tech,” said Jeff Nichols, who leads CCSD at ORNL.

Sarkar said that the approaching end-game to Moore’s Law signals a “new era of combined software-hardware research challenges” with an increased focus on leveraging heterogeneous parallelism, heterogeneous memories, and customized computing. He will be an Associate Director for Georgia Tech’s Center for Research into Novel Computing Hierarchies (CRNCH). “Georgia Tech has a long tradition of pushing the envelope in computer architecture innovations. Vivek’s intellectual interests in software for novel hardware should help amplify our research directions in CRNCH,” said Tom Conte, CRNCH Director and Professor of Computer Science and Electrical & Computer Engineering at Georgia Tech, and Co-Chair of IEEE’s Rebooting Computing initiative.

Sarkar earned his Ph.D. from Stanford University in 1987, and has authored or coauthored more than 300 papers in the areas of parallel computing and programming systems. His mentors include his Ph.D. advisor, John Hennessy, and his hiring manager at IBM Research, Fran Allen.

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