NSF Funds IIT Computer Science’s BigDataX REU with University of Chicago

Ioan Raicu, assistant professor of computer science, has been awarded $288,000 by the National Science Foundation (NSF) to establish a new Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) site at Illinois Institute of Technology and the University of Chicago. He will work closely with Gruia Calinescu, associate professor of computer science, and Mike Wilde and Justin Wozniak from the University of Chicago.

The new three-year REU will attract 24 domestic undergraduates (eight per summer) from all over the country to Illinois Tech and the University of Chicago to conduct research in big data at extreme scales. Called BigDataX, the new REU will promote a data-centric view of scientific and technical computing, at the intersection of distributed systems theory and practice.

Undergraduates will work with Raicu, Calinescu, Wilde, and Wozniak, who have a variety of complementary expertise from theory to programming languages to distributed systems, and with senior Ph.D. students, with the goal of developing publishable research results during the program.

Raicu focuses on the relatively new distributed systems paradigm called Many-Task Computing (MTC). MTC aims to bridge the gap between two predominant paradigms, High-Throughput Computing (HTC) and High-Performance Computing (HPC). His work has focused on defining and exploring both the theory and practical aspects of realizing MTC (with special emphasis on data-intensive computing) across a wide range of large-scale distributed systems, ranging from many-core systems, clusters, grids, and clouds to supercomputers.

He received the NSF CAREER Award for “Avoiding Achilles’ Heel in Exascale Computing with Distributed File Systems” and is the founder and director of the Data-Intensive Distributed Systems Laboratory (DataSys) at IIT.

Calinescu has been a postdoctoral fellow at the Center for Discrete Mathematics and Theoretical Computer Science (DIMACS), an NSF-funded Science and Technology Center with partners at AT&T Labs-Research, Bellcore, Bell Labs, and Princeton. He has been a visiting professor at the Max-Planck-Institut fur Informatik and the Department of Combinatorics and Optimization at the University of Waterloo.

Wilde is a senior fellow of the Computation Institute, University of Chicago, and Argonne National Laboratory, with interests in parallel programming, parallel scripting languages, data provenance, and scientific and engineering computing. Wozniak is also a fellow of the Computation Institute and an assistant computer scientist, Mathematics and Computer Science, Argonne, focused on novel languages for high-performance scientific computing and systems development and the composition of high-performance scientific workflows.

Established in 1987, the NSF’s REU program supports active research participation by undergraduate students in science, mathematics, and engineering. A list of computer-science focused REUs can be found here.