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Five Natural Sciences Faculty Receive NSF CAREER Awards

Five Natural Sciences Faculty Receive NSF CAREER Awards
Assistant professors Michael Boylan-Kolchin, Vijay Chidambaram Pillai, Scott Niekum, Simon Peter and Eric Price were selected for the NSF's most prestigious award in support of early-career faculty.

Five faculty members from the College of Natural Sciences have received distinguished Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) Awards totaling $2.1 million from the National Science Foundation.

Scott Niekum, Vijay Chidambaram, Simon Peter and Eric Price, assistant professors in the Department of Computer Sciences, and Michael Boylan-Kolchin, assistant professor in the Department of Astronomy, were selected for the NSF's most prestigious award in support of early-career faculty.

The CAREER award, which comes with a federal grant for research and education activities for five years, recognizes junior faculty for their potential to serve as academic role models in research and education and to lead advances in the mission of their department or organization.

Niekum, director of the UT Personal Autonomous Robotics Lab (PeARL), received the award for his project titled "Socially-Aware Autonomy for Long-Term Deployment of Always-On Heterogeneous Robot Teams." His project seeks to demonstrate that robots can both operate autonomously for long periods of time and be fully integrated into and accepted by the community of people who use the building in which the robots are situated.

Chidambaram, director of the UT Systems and Storage Lab, was selected for his work on building robust storage systems that can handle the exponentially increasing amount of digital information. Titled "Building IO-Efficient Systems Infrastructure", his project will address the problem of storage failure by contributing new data structures, techniques and designs of storage systems

Price received the award for his project "Fundamental Algorithms for Data-Limited Problems." His project seeks to improve the speed and data efficiency of algorithms for fundamental computational problems, which has implications in a wide variety of fields where computation is cheaper than data collection.

Peter, director of the UT Systems Research Consortium, will apply his grant to study application and server performance, as well as data center energy consumption. His project, "High-Performance Packet Processing with Programmable NIC Data-Planes," aims to reduce the hardware needed to support existing services, therefore decreasing the cost for the development of new services.

Boylan-Kolchin was selected for his project "The Faint Frontier of Galaxy Formation," which will explore how low mass stellar systems form and change over time. Using sophisticated computer simulations and theoretical modelings with data obtained from the Hubble Space Telescope, his team will explore questions about dark matter and the faintest stellar systems in the universe.

Niekum, Pillai, Price, Peter and Boylan-Kolchin bring to 16 the total number of CNS faculty members who have received NSF Career Awards since 2012. 

Read more about the four computer science winners here.

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Thursday, 29 October 2020

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