ECE faculty members receive Google Faculty Research Awards

ECE News

As told to Allie Arp, CSL
4/8/2019 2:26:47 PM

Story Highlights

Each year through the Google Faculty Research Awards, Google funds unrestricted support to a select number of research in the field of computer science and engineering. This year, four faculty members from ECE ILLINOIS received this honor. Read about how it will impact their research and more below.

Sarita V Adve, Professor of ECE and Richard T. Cheng Professor of Computer Sciences 

Sarita V. Adve
Sarita V. Adve
What does it mean to you to win a Google Research Faculty Award?
It means a lot! More than the financial support, I value the connections with Google researchers. It is important to me that my research makes an impact on real products and influences long-term thinking on how to design systems. I appreciate that Google appoints specific technical liaisons for each awardee, providing direct contact for discussion and amplification of research ideas. It is also very exciting for my students.

What effect will this have on your research?
The general problem we are addressing is that of efficient memory hierarchies for emerging heterogeneous systems. There are two ways in which we expect this award to have a unique impact on our research agenda. (1) We would like to influence emerging standards for coherence and consistency interfaces and we hope deeper connections with Google will help with that. (2) Our most recent work has focused on memory hierarchies for system-on-chip designs. We would like to extend it into the arena of distributed systems and the cloud where we hope again to get insights from Google’s dominance of this space.

Can you give me a brief description of your current research?
With the end of Moore's law, parallelism and application specialization will be the key enablers of high performance and energy efficiency. As the number of accelerators increases, there will be an increasing need to integrate the accelerator memories more tightly with each other and with the rest of the cache-based memory hierarchy and communication interface. Current systems are ill-suited for such integration, resulting in significant inefficiencies. We are working on a memory hierarchy and communication architecture that is specialized for workloads and platforms of interest to Google (e.g., machine learning in the cloud), providing far more energy-efficient data communication than the state-of-the-art.

Haitham Al-Hassanieh, Assistant Professor of ECE and CSL

Haitham  Al-Hassanieh
Haitham Al-Hassanieh
What does it mean to you to win a Google Research Faculty Award?
It is an honor to receive this award. I am grateful for Google and my research collaborators at Google.

What effect will this have on your research?
The award provides support and funds as well as an opportunity to collaborate with Google on addressing the wireless connectivity challenges in VR. This can help support the research and make sure it heads in the right direction toward a real world impact.

Can you give me a brief description of your current research?
My current research focuses on designing wireless links that can replace these cables. Unfortunately, the problem is not as easy. Current wireless technologies like WiFi do not have sufficient bandwidth to support the very high data rates required for VR.  Our approach is to use millimeter wave wireless technology which operates at a very high frequency (around 60 GHz) and can provide us with wireless links that support multi-Giga bits/sec data rates. Millimeter waves, however, bring in a whole slew of challenges when it comes to signal attenuation, blockage, mobility, scalability, etc. Our goal is to address these challenges in order to enable multi-user untethered VR.

Jian Huang, Assistant Professor of ECE

Jian  Huang
Jian Huang
What does it mean to you to win a Google Research Faculty Award?
The award provides my research group the opportunity to work closely with Google and its platform and storage team on memory and storage systems. It also indicates that our constant effort on memory/storage research is increasingly being recognized by our industry partners.

What effect will this have on your research?
My research group enjoys building practical systems for real-world applications and hardware. The collaboration with Google will not only help us identify more interesting research problems but also facilitate our technology transfer to the industry for larger impact.

Can you give me a brief description of your current research?
In my research group, we conduct systems and architecture research for a variety of computing platforms spanning from IoT devices to mobiles, and to large-scale data centers. Currently, we are especially interested in developing non-volatile memory technologies for these platforms.

Shobha Vasudevan, Associate Professor of ECE

Shobha  Vasudevan
Shobha Vasudevan
What does it mean to you to win a Google Research Faculty Award?
Winning the Google FRA is a good validation that the problems we are working on are relevant and impactful. I am thankful that I was selected to receive the award.

What effect will this have on your research?/ Can you give me a brief description of your current research?
This award was granted for a proposal to verify large scale machine learning systems, including deep neural networks. Machine learning systems are ubiquitous in the world we live in. Many of them are being used in mission and safety critical systems like autonomous vehicles. Erroneous outputs or misclassification errors can be very costly to life and property in these situations. Our research is to provide an efficient, scalable means to check machine learning systems. We are excited to continue this line of work with this award.

Al-Hassanieh, Huang, and Vasudevan are also affiliated with the CSL.

Check out the original article on the CSL site

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