U of I researcher recognized with ACM Fellowship for contributions to parallel programming

01.22.18 -

Laxmikant "Sanjay" Kale, a professor of Computer Science at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and a NCSA Faculty Affiliate, was named to the the 2017 class of fellows from the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM), the scientific computing community's largest society.

At Illinois, Kale has pioneered an effort to integrate adaptive runtime systems into parallel programming, leading to collaboration and the development of scalable applications across industries, from biophysics to quantum chemistry and even astronomy. Kale also leads the Parallel Programming Laboratory at the University of Illinois.

The ACM Fellows Program, the organization's most prestigious honor, recognizes the top 1 percent of ACM members for outstanding accomplishments in computing and information technology. This prestigious honor comes on the back of the implementation of Adaptive Runtime Systems in parallel computing, which has been pioneered by Kale and his group, and implemented into the Charm++ parallel programing framework, maintained at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

"We co-developed several science and engineering applications using Charm++, which allowed us to validate and improve the Adaptive Runtime techniques we were developing in our research in the context of full applications," said Kale. "The application codes developed include NAMD (biophysics), OpenAtom (quantum chemistry/materials modeling), ChaNGa (astronomy), EpiSimdemics (simulation of epidemics), etc. These are highly scalable codes that run from small clusters to supercomputers, including Blue Waters, on hundreds of thousands of processor cores."

This new adaptive runtime system allows code to run much more efficiently than before, keeping an ever-vigilant digital eye on individual processors and how they are processing data, eliminating downtime and ultimately shortening processing time.

"Our approach allows parallel programmers to write code without worrying about where (i.e. on which processor) the code will execute, or which data will be on what processor," explained Kale. "The runtime system continuously watches the program behavior and moves data and code-execution among processors so as to automatically improve performance, for example, via dynamic load balancing. This approach especially helps development of complex or sophisticated parallel algorithms."

Thus, Kale's continued work will enable the continued expansion of parallel algorithms for high performance computing, and as such, see expanded use as time goes on.

"The credit for my success and for this award certainly goes to generations of my students who worked on various aspects of adaptive runtime systems," Kale concluded.

Sanjay Kale is also a Professor of Computer Science at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and a faculty affiliate at the National Center for Supercomputing Applications. More information on the ACM Fellow program can be found here.

About NCSA

The National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA) at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign provides supercomputing and advanced digital resources for the nation's science enterprise. At NCSA, University of Illinois faculty, staff, students, and collaborators from around the globe use advanced digital resources to address research grand challenges for the benefit of science and society. NCSA has been advancing one third of the Fortune 50® for more than 30 years by bringing industry, researchers, and students together to solve grand challenges at rapid speed and scale.

About NCSA's Faculty Affiliate Program

NCSA's Faculty Affiliate Program provides an opportunity for faculty and researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign to catalyze and develop long-term research collaborations between Illinois departments, research units, and NCSA.