Jun 30, 2009

von Ronne Receives NSF CAREER Award

The National Science Foundation (NSF) has granted Jeffery von Ronne, an Assistant Professor of Computer Science, a $425,000 Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) award. The award will support his research on new techniques for analyzing dynamically extensible software for a five year period beginning July 1, 2009.

Dr. von Ronne believes that "pervasive use of information systems throughout society increases the need for software to be both reliable and extensible." One technique that can be used to improve software reliability is the application of static analysis to discover and validate that properties hold across all program executions. Unfortunately, additional challenges arise when applying static analysis to programs that can be dynamically extended with new capabilities, such as is the case, for example, with Firefox plugins, Microsoft Office Add-Ins, and Eclipse plugins. Dr. von Ronne's research will develop techniques for static program analysis that will be able to more precisely and efficiently analyze dynamically extensible software systems. These techniques will make these software systems more reliable, secure, and efficient.

Dr. von Ronne is also enthusiastic about the opportunity to include both undergraduate and graduate students on his research team: "I got my first taste of working on challenging research problems, when I was an undergrad working on a research project. That experience guided my decision to pursue a PhD and an academic career. I am excited to be able to share that same experience of advancing the state of the art with students at UTSA." In addition, Dr. von Ronne plans to incorporate material related to dynamically extensible software into several of his undergraduate and graduate courses.

The CAREER 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.

Dr. von Ronne is the fourth current CAREER award recipient in the Department Computer Science and the sixth at UTSA. Qing Yi received an award in 2008 to develop a multilayer code synthesis framework. In 2007, Carola Wenk received a CAREER award to study geometric shape handling. And Daniel Jiménez received a CAREER award to support his research on branch prediction in 2006. These awards epitomize the progress UTSA is making in its push to become a Tier I Research University. With this new award, computer science faculty are now the principal or co-principal investigators on 19 current NSF grants, and UTSA has a total of 49 current NSF grants.