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Ian Foster receives IEEE TCSC Award for Excellence in Scalable Computing

By Rob Mitchum // March 5, 2015

Ian Foster, Argonne Distinguished Fellow and director of the Argonne/University of Chicago Computation Institute, has been named this year’s winner of the IEEE Award for Excellence in Scalable Computing.

The award is presented for significant and sustained contributions to the scalable computing community through the IEEE Technical Committee on Scalable Computing (TCSC). It acknowledges the recipient’s outstanding record of high-quality and high-impact research.

“I am deeply honored to be selected for this award,” said Foster. “From my early work on distributed computing and the Grid, to work on services for handling “big data,” I have found research in high-performance, scalable computing an exciting endeavor. I look forward to continuing to collaborate with researchers in solving scientific problems at the exascale.”

Widely known as the “father of the Grid,” Foster (with Carl Kesselman and Steve Tuecke) established the Globus Project and developed the software technology essential for effective distributed computing. His contributions include the Globus Toolkit, now the de facto standard for distributed computing worldwide, and Globus Online, designed to assist users in moving, sharing, and archiving large volumes of data among distributed sites. Both products received R&D 100 awards.

Foster has long applied advanced computing techniques to challenging scientific problems. He led the development of a climate program under a U.S. Department of Energy initiative that resulted in new data grid technology and deployment of an Earth System Grid, and he played a lead role in establishing the NSF Grid Physics Network, which developed and applied virtual data techniques for distributed data analysis, and the International Virtual Data Grid Laboratory, which carried out forefront experiments in physics and astronomy.

As director of the Computation Institute, Foster has brought together scientists from cross-disciplinary cultures to work on new computational tools for data-intensive research, from biomedical informatics, cosmology, and crops, to computational economics.

Foster has also actively promoted parallel computing to both students and scientists. He published Designing and Building Parallel Programs: Concepts and Tools for Parallel Software Engineering, one of the first textbooks to be available online. Moreover, with his colleagues he coedited the Sourcebook of Parallel Computing, which covered such topics as parallel computing, hardware, programming considerations, software and enabling technologies, and parallel application case studies; and The Grid 2: Blueprint for a New Computing Infrastructure, which played a major role in establishing the Grid as a viable technology and has been cited more than 12,600 times.

Foster is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the Association for Computing Machinery, and the British Computer Society. His awards include the Global Information Infrastructure Next Generation award, the British Computer Society’s Lovelace Medal, R&D Magazine’s Innovator of the Year, and the 2011 Tsutomu Kanai Award for pioneering research in grid computing.

Foster will present a keynote address on scalable computing and will receive the 2015 IEEE TCSC plaque and accompanying $1,000 award at the IEEE/ACM International Symposium on Cluster, Cloud and Grid Computing, in Shenzhen, China, on May 5.

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