Aug 12, 2008

Yi Receives NSF CAREER Award

Qing YiThe National Science Foundation (NSF) has granted Qing Yi, an assistant professor of computer science, a five year, $400,000 Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) award to develop a multilayer code synthesis framework that will improve the correctness and performance of software.

A CAREER award is the NSF's most prestigious award for junior faculty and is awarded to faculty members who embody the role of teacher-scholar by integrating outstanding research with excellence as an educator within the context of their institution. CAREER awards support integrated research and educational activities that serve as foundation for a lifelong career of teaching and scholarship.

According to Yi, "correctness and performance are two of the most fundamental concerns in software development." The complexity of modern computing environments makes it difficult to develop software that is both correct and efficient. Yi's research will attack this problem with techniques to automatically translate high-level designs into efficient, low-level implementations. This will allow programmers to abstract away some of the complexity while doing the design but still be confident that they will end up with an efficient implementation.

Yi expects her techniques to be particularly beneficial for scientific computing and systems programming. Since these techniques separate the tasks of high-level design from the process of optimization, they will allow scientists employing computational methods to focus on high-level model without getting bogged down in the complexity of how to make the computation fast.

In addition, Yi will develop teaching tools that illustrate issues that come up in different phases of the software development lifecycle. These will be used in the undergraduate and graduate programming languages courses at UTSA.

Yi is the third member of the computer science department to receive an NSF CAREER. Last year, Carola Wenk received an award to study geometric shape handling, and the year before, Daniel Jimenez received an award to study branch prediction. Computer Science faculty are now the principal investigators of 17 current NSF research grants. This level of highly competitive NSF funding is a recognition of the quality of research being performed in the department.