Tel Aviv University Graduate Receives ACM Doctoral Dissertation Award

July 17, 2020

July 17, 2020 — ACM, the Association for Computing Machinery, announced that Dor Minzer receives the 2019 ACM Doctoral Dissertation Award for his dissertation, “On Monotonicity Testing and the 2-to-2-Games Conjecture.” The key contributions of Minzer’s dissertation are settling the complexity of testing monotonicity of Boolean functions and making a significant advance toward resolving the Unique Games Conjecture, one of the most central problems in approximation algorithms and complexity theory.

Image courtesy of ACM.

Property-testers are extremely efficient randomized algorithms that check whether an object satisfies a certain property, when the data is too large to examine. For example, one may want to check that the distance between any two computers in the internet network does not exceed a given bound. In the first part of his thesis, Minzer settled a famous open problem in the field by introducing an optimal tester that checks whether a given Boolean function (voting scheme) is monotonic.

The holy grail of complexity theory is to classify computational problems to those that are feasible and those that are infeasible. The PCP theorem (for probabilistically checkable proofs) establishes the framework that enables classifying approximation problems as infeasible, showing they are NP-hard. In 2002, Subhash Khot proposed the Unique Games Conjecture (UGC), asserting that a very strong version of the PCP theorem should still hold. The conjecture has inspired a flurry of research and has had far-reaching implications. If proven true, the conjecture would explain the complexity of a whole family of algorithmic problems. In contrast to other conjectures, UGC has been controversial, splitting the community into believers and skeptics. While progress toward validating the conjecture has stalled, evidence against it had been piling up, involving new algorithmic techniques.

In the second part of his dissertation, Minzer went halfway toward establishing the conjecture, and in the process nullified the strongest known evidence against UGC. Even if UGC is not resolved in the immediate future, Minzer’s dissertation makes significant advances toward solving research problems that have previously appeared out of reach.

Minzer is a postdoctoral researcher at the Institute for Advanced Study (IAS) in Princeton, New Jersey, and will be joining MIT as an Assistant Professor in the fall of 2020. His main research interests are in computational complexity theory, PCP, and analysis of Boolean functions. Minzer received a BA in Mathematics, as well as an MSc and PhD in Computer Science from Tel Aviv University.

Honorable Mentions
Honorable Mentions for the 2019 ACM Doctoral Dissertation Award go to Jakub Tarnawski, École polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) and JiaJun Wu, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

Jakub Tarnawski’s dissertation “New Graph Algorithms via Polyhedral Techniques” made groundbreaking algorithmic progress on two of the most central problems in combinatorial optimization: the matching problem and the traveling salesman problem. Work on deterministic parallel algorithms for the matching problem is motivated by one of the unsolved mysteries in computer science: does randomness help in speeding up algorithms? Tarnawski’s dissertation makes significant progress on this question by almost completely derandomizing a three-decade-old randomized parallel matching algorithm by Ketan Mulmuley, Umesh Vaziriani, and Vijay Vazirani.

The second major result of Tarnawski’s dissertation relates to the traveling salesman problem: find the shortest tour of n given cities. Already in 1956, George Dantzig et al. used a linear program to solve a special instance of the problem. Since then the strength of their linear program has become one of the main open problems in combinatorial optimization. Tarnawski’s dissertation resolves this question asymptotically and gives the first constant-factor approximation algorithm for the asymmetric traveling salesman problem.

Tarnawski is a researcher at Microsoft Research. He is broadly interested in theoretical computer science and combinatorial optimization, particularly in graph algorithms and approximation algorithms. He received his PhD from EPFL and an MSc in Mathematics and Computer Science from the University of Wrocław, Poland.

JiaJun Wu’s dissertation, “Learning to See the Physical World,” has advanced AI for perceiving the physical world by integrating bottom-up recognition in neural networks with top-down simulation engines, graphical models, and probabilistic programs. Despite phenomenal progress in the past decade, current artificial intelligence methods tackle only specific problems, require large amounts of training data, and easily break when generalizing to new tasks or environments. Human intelligence reveals how far we need to go: from a single image, humans can explain what we see, reconstruct the scene in 3D, predict what’s going to happen, and plan our actions accordingly.

Wu addresses the problem of physical scene understanding—how to build efficient and versatile machines that learn to see, reason about, and interact with the physical world. The key insight is to exploit the causal structure of the world, using simulation engines for computer graphics, physics, and language, and to integrate them with deep learning. His dissertation spans perception, physics and reasoning, with the goal of seeing and reasoning about the physical world as humans do. The work bridges the various disciplines of artificial intelligence, addressing key problems in perception, dynamics modeling, and cognitive reasoning.

Wu is an Assistant Professor of Computer Science at Stanford University. His research interests include physical scene understanding, dynamics models, and multi-modal perception. He received his PhD and SM degree in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science from MIT, and Bachelor’s degrees in Computer Science and Economics from Tsinghua University in Beijing, China.

The 2019 Doctoral Dissertation Award recipients will be formally recognized at the annual ACM Awards Banquet on October 3 in San Francisco.

About the ACM Doctoral Dissertation Award

Presented annually to the author(s) of the best doctoral dissertation(s) in computer science and engineering. The Doctoral Dissertation Award is accompanied by a prize of $20,000, and the Honorable Mention Award is accompanied by a prize totaling $10,000. Winning dissertations will be published in the ACM Digital Library as part of the ACM Books Series.

About ACM

ACM, the Association for Computing Machinery, is the world’s largest educational and scientific computing society, uniting educators, researchers and professionals to inspire dialogue, share resources and address the field’s challenges. ACM strengthens the computing profession’s collective voice through strong leadership, promotion of the highest standards, and recognition of technical excellence. ACM supports the professional growth of its members by providing opportunities for life-long learning, career development, and professional networking.


Source: ACM 

Subscribe to HPCwire's Weekly Update!

Be the most informed person in the room! Stay ahead of the tech trends with industy updates delivered to you every week!

Intel’s Optane/DAOS Solution Tops Latest IO500

August 11, 2020

Intel’s persistent memory technology, Optane, and its DAOS (Distributed Asynchronous Object Storage) stack continue to impress and gain market traction. Yesterday, Intel reported an Optane and DAOS-based system finishe Read more…

By John Russell

Summit Now Offers Virtual Tours

August 10, 2020

Summit, the second most powerful publicly ranked supercomputer in the world, now has a virtual tour. The tour, implemented by 3D platform Matterport, allows users to virtually “walk” around the massive supercomputer Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

Supercomputer Simulations Examine Changes in Chesapeake Bay

August 8, 2020

The Chesapeake Bay, the largest estuary in the continental United States, weaves its way south from Maryland, collecting waters from West Virginia, Delaware, DC, Pennsylvania and New York along the way. Like many major e Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

Student Success from ‘Scratch’: CHPC’s Proof is in the Pudding

August 7, 2020

Happy Sithole, who directs the South African Centre for High Performance Computing (SA-CHPC), called the 13th annual CHPC National conference to order on December 1, 2019, at the Birchwood Conference Centre in Kempton Pa Read more…

By Elizabeth Leake

New GE Simulations on Summit to Advance Offshore Wind Power

August 6, 2020

The wind energy sector is a frequent user of high-power simulations, with researchers aiming to optimize wind flows and energy production from the massive turbines. Now, researchers at GE are preparing to undertake a lar Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

AWS Solution Channel

AWS announces the release of AWS ParallelCluster 2.8.0

AWS ParallelCluster is a fully supported and maintained open source cluster management tool that makes it easy for scientists, researchers, and IT administrators to deploy and manage High Performance Computing (HPC) clusters in the AWS cloud. Read more…

Intel® HPC + AI Pavilion

Supercomputing the Pandemic: Scientific Community Tackles COVID-19 from Multiple Perspectives

Since their inception, supercomputers have taken on the biggest, most complex, and most data-intensive computing challenges—from confirming Einstein’s theories about gravitational waves to predicting the impacts of climate change. Read more…

Research: A Survey of Numerical Methods Utilizing Mixed Precision Arithmetic

August 5, 2020

Within the past years, hardware vendors have started designing low precision special function units in response to the demand of the machine learning community and their demand for high compute power in low precision for Read more…

By Hartwig Anzt and Jack Dongarra

Intel’s Optane/DAOS Solution Tops Latest IO500

August 11, 2020

Intel’s persistent memory technology, Optane, and its DAOS (Distributed Asynchronous Object Storage) stack continue to impress and gain market traction. Yeste Read more…

By John Russell

Summit Now Offers Virtual Tours

August 10, 2020

Summit, the second most powerful publicly ranked supercomputer in the world, now has a virtual tour. The tour, implemented by 3D platform Matterport, allows use Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

Research: A Survey of Numerical Methods Utilizing Mixed Precision Arithmetic

August 5, 2020

Within the past years, hardware vendors have started designing low precision special function units in response to the demand of the machine learning community Read more…

By Hartwig Anzt and Jack Dongarra

Implement Photonic Tensor Cores for Machine Learning?

August 5, 2020

Researchers from George Washington University have reported an approach for building photonic tensor cores that leverages phase change photonic memory to implem Read more…

By John Russell

HPE Keeps Cray Brand Promise, Reveals HPE Cray Supercomputing Line

August 4, 2020

The HPC community, ever-affectionate toward Cray and its eponymous founder, can breathe a (virtual) sigh of relief. The Cray brand will live on, encompassing th Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Machines, Connections, Data, and Especially People: OAC Acting Director Amy Friedlander Charts Office’s Blueprint for Innovation

August 3, 2020

The path to innovation in cyberinfrastructure (CI) will require continued focus on building HPC systems and secure connections between them, in addition to the Read more…

By Ken Chiacchia, Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center/XSEDE

Nvidia Said to Be Close on Arm Deal

August 3, 2020

GPU leader Nvidia Corp. is in talks to buy U.K. chip designer Arm from parent company Softbank, according to several reports over the weekend. If consummated Read more…

By George Leopold

Intel’s 7nm Slip Raises Questions About Ponte Vecchio GPU, Aurora Supercomputer

July 30, 2020

During its second-quarter earnings call, Intel announced a one-year delay of its 7nm process technology, which it says it will create an approximate six-month shift for its CPU product timing relative to prior expectations. The primary issue is a defect mode in the 7nm process that resulted in yield degradation... Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Supercomputer Modeling Tests How COVID-19 Spreads in Grocery Stores

April 8, 2020

In the COVID-19 era, many people are treating simple activities like getting gas or groceries with caution as they try to heed social distancing mandates and protect their own health. Still, significant uncertainty surrounds the relative risk of different activities, and conflicting information is prevalent. A team of Finnish researchers set out to address some of these uncertainties by... Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

Supercomputer-Powered Research Uncovers Signs of ‘Bradykinin Storm’ That May Explain COVID-19 Symptoms

July 28, 2020

Doctors and medical researchers have struggled to pinpoint – let alone explain – the deluge of symptoms induced by COVID-19 infections in patients, and what Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

Intel’s 7nm Slip Raises Questions About Ponte Vecchio GPU, Aurora Supercomputer

July 30, 2020

During its second-quarter earnings call, Intel announced a one-year delay of its 7nm process technology, which it says it will create an approximate six-month shift for its CPU product timing relative to prior expectations. The primary issue is a defect mode in the 7nm process that resulted in yield degradation... Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Nvidia Said to Be Close on Arm Deal

August 3, 2020

GPU leader Nvidia Corp. is in talks to buy U.K. chip designer Arm from parent company Softbank, according to several reports over the weekend. If consummated Read more…

By George Leopold

Supercomputer Simulations Reveal the Fate of the Neanderthals

May 25, 2020

For hundreds of thousands of years, neanderthals roamed the planet, eventually (almost 50,000 years ago) giving way to homo sapiens, which quickly became the do Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

10nm, 7nm, 5nm…. Should the Chip Nanometer Metric Be Replaced?

June 1, 2020

The biggest cool factor in server chips is the nanometer. AMD beating Intel to a CPU built on a 7nm process node* – with 5nm and 3nm on the way – has been i Read more…

By Doug Black

Neocortex Will Be First-of-Its-Kind 800,000-Core AI Supercomputer

June 9, 2020

Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center (PSC - a joint research organization of Carnegie Mellon University and the University of Pittsburgh) has won a $5 million award Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

HPE Keeps Cray Brand Promise, Reveals HPE Cray Supercomputing Line

August 4, 2020

The HPC community, ever-affectionate toward Cray and its eponymous founder, can breathe a (virtual) sigh of relief. The Cray brand will live on, encompassing th Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Leading Solution Providers

Contributors

Nvidia’s Ampere A100 GPU: Up to 2.5X the HPC, 20X the AI

May 14, 2020

Nvidia's first Ampere-based graphics card, the A100 GPU, packs a whopping 54 billion transistors on 826mm2 of silicon, making it the world's largest seven-nanom Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Australian Researchers Break All-Time Internet Speed Record

May 26, 2020

If you’ve been stuck at home for the last few months, you’ve probably become more attuned to the quality (or lack thereof) of your internet connection. Even Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

15 Slides on Programming Aurora and Exascale Systems

May 7, 2020

Sometime in 2021, Aurora, the first planned U.S. exascale system, is scheduled to be fired up at Argonne National Laboratory. Cray (now HPE) and Intel are the k Read more…

By John Russell

‘Billion Molecules Against COVID-19’ Challenge to Launch with Massive Supercomputing Support

April 22, 2020

Around the world, supercomputing centers have spun up and opened their doors for COVID-19 research in what may be the most unified supercomputing effort in hist Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

Joliot-Curie Supercomputer Used to Build First Full, High-Fidelity Aircraft Engine Simulation

July 14, 2020

When industrial designers plan the design of a new element of a vehicle’s propulsion or exterior, they typically use fluid dynamics to optimize airflow and in Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

John Martinis Reportedly Leaves Google Quantum Effort

April 21, 2020

John Martinis, who led Google’s quantum computing effort since establishing its quantum hardware group in 2014, has left Google after being moved into an advi Read more…

By John Russell

$100B Plan Submitted for Massive Remake and Expansion of NSF

May 27, 2020

Legislation to reshape, expand - and rename - the National Science Foundation has been submitted in both the U.S. House and Senate. The proposal, which seems to Read more…

By John Russell

Google Cloud Debuts 16-GPU Ampere A100 Instances

July 7, 2020

On the heels of the Nvidia’s Ampere A100 GPU launch in May, Google Cloud is announcing alpha availability of the A100 “Accelerator Optimized” VM A2 instance family on Google Compute Engine. The instances are powered by the HGX A100 16-GPU platform, which combines two HGX A100 8-GPU baseboards using... Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

  • arrow
  • Click Here for More Headlines
  • arrow
Do NOT follow this link or you will be banned from the site!
Share This