PDL News


December 2017
Mor Harchol-Balter and Onur Mutlu made Fellows of the ACM

Congratulations to Mor (Professor of CS) and Onur (adjunct Professor of ECE), who have been made Fellows of the ACM.

From the ACM website: "To be selected as a Fellow is to join our most renowned member grade and an elite group that represents less than 1 percent of ACM’s overall membership,” explains ACM President Vicki L. Hanson. “The Fellows program allows us to shine a light on landmark contributions to computing, as well as the men and women whose hard work, dedication, and inspiration are responsible for groundbreaking work that improves our lives in so many ways."

Mor was selected "for contributions to performance modeling and analysis of distributed computing systems." Onur , who is now at ETH Zurich was chosen for "contributions to computer architecture research, especially in memory systems."
--with info from

October 2017
Lorrie Cranor Awarded FORE Systems Chair of Computer Science

We are very pleased to announce that, in addition to a long list of accomplishments, which has included a term as the Chief Technologist of the Federal Trade Commission, Lorrie Cranor has been made the FORE Systems Professor of Computer Science and Engineering & Public Policy at CMU.

Lorrie provided information that "the founders of FORE Systems, Inc. established the FORE Systems Professorship in 1995 to support a faculty member in the School of Computer Science. The company’s name is an acronym formed by the initials of the founders’ first names. Before it was acquired by Great Britain’s Marconi in 1998, FORE created technology that allows computer networks to link and transfer information at a rapid speed. Ericsson purchased much of Marconi in 2006." The chair was previously held by CMU University Professor Emeritus, Edmund M. Clarke.

September 2017
Garth Gibson to lead new Vector Institute for AI in Toronto

In January of 2018, PDL's founder, Garth Gibson, will become President and CEO of the Vector Institute for AI in Toronto. Vecotr's website states that "Vector will be a leader in the transformative field of artificial intelligence, excelling in machine and deep learning — an area of scientific, academic, and commercial endeavour that will shape our world over the next generation."

Frank Pfenning, Head of the Department of Computer Science, notes that "this is a tremendous opportunity for Garth, but we will sorely miss him in the multiple roles he plays in the department and school: Professor (and all that this entails), Co-Director of the MCDS program, and Associate Dean for Masters Programs in SCS."

We are sad to see him go and will miss him greatly, but the opportunities presented here for world level innovation are tremendous and we wish him all the best.

June 2017
Dana Van Aken's SIGMOD Paper Featured in Amazon AI Blog
Please see Amazon's AI blog to read about Tuning Your DBMS Automatically with Machine Learning, an article by Dana Van Aken, based on the SIGMOD ' 17paper "Automatic Database Management System Tuning Through Large-scale Machine Learning," which she co-authored with Andy Pavlo and Geoff Gordon. This article was also featured in the most recent edition of the PDL Packet newsletter.

June 2017
Satya and Colleagues Honored for Creation of Andrew File System

The Association for Computing Machinery has named the developers of Carnegie Mellon University's pioneering Andrew File System (AFS) the recipients of its prestigious 2016 Software System Award.

AFS was the first distributed file system designed for tens of thousands of machines, and pioneered the use of scalable, secure and ubiquitous access to shared file data. To achieve the goal of providing a common shared file system used by large networks of people, AFS introduced novel approaches to caching, security, management and administration.

The award recipients, including Computer Science Professor Mahadev Satyanarayanan, built the Andrew File System in the 1980s while working as a team at the Information Technology Center (ITC) — a partnership between Carnegie Mellon and IBM.

The ACM Software System Award is presented to an institution or individuals recognized for developing a software system that has had a lasting influence, reflected in contributions to concepts, in commercial acceptance, or both.

AFS is still in use today as both an open-source system and as a file system in commercial applications. It has also inspired several cloud-based storage applications. Many universities integrated AFS before it was introduced as a commercial application.

In addition to Satya, the recipients of the award include former faculty member Alfred Z. Spector, alumnus Michael L. Kazar, Robert N. Sidebotham, David A. Nichols, Michael J. West, John H. Howard and Sherri M. Nichols. Many of them also contributed to two foundational AFS papers: "The ITC Distributed File System: Principles and Design," published in Proceedings of ACM SOSP 1985, and "Scale and Performance in a Distributed File System," published in Proceedings of ACM SOSP 1987. The Software System Award carries a prize of $35,000. Financial support for the Software System Award is provided by IBM.
-- Byron Spice, The Piper, June 1, 2017

April 2017
Priya Narasimhan Honored with History Makers Award

Each year, the History Makers Award Dinner honors five men and women who have made a difference through thier work to not only the Greater Pittsburgh area, but beyond. Congratulations to Priya, Professor of Electircal and Computer Engineering, and the CEO and founder of YinzCam who will receive this award at a banquet on May 12 for her outstanding achievements in technology and innovation. Other awards are made in the fields of education, sports, healthcare and community.
--with info from

January 2017
Anuj Kalia Named a 2017 Facebook Fellow
Congratulations to Anuj Kalia, who has been named to the 2017 class of Facebook fellows!

Founded in 2010, the Facebook Fellowship program is designed to help foster ties with the academic community, encourage and support promising Ph.D. students engaged in research across computer science and engineering, and provide those students with opportunities to work with Facebook on problems relevant to their research. Since its inception, the program has supported more than 50 Ph.D. candidates, whose research covers topics that range from from power systems and microgrids to the intersection of computer vision, machine learning and cognitive science.

Anuj is a Ph.D. student in the Computer Science Department, a member of the PDL, and an advisee of Associate Professor David Anderson. He received his B.Tech in computer science from the Indian Institute of Technology-Dehli, and his research interests include networked systems, with a focus on designing efficient software systems for high-speed networks.
-- information from CMU SCS News Jan 31, 2017, Aisha Rashid

January 2017
Adam Pennington Receives CMU Alumni Award

First presented in 1950, the Carnegie Mellon Alumni Awards recognize alumni, students, and faculty for their service to the university and its alumni, for their achievements in the arts, humanities, sciences, technology, and business. To date more than 880 individuals have been honored through the program.

Congratulations to Adam (CS 2001, E 2003), who has been awarded a 2016 CMU Alumni Award for Alumni Service. He has been involved with various Carnegie Mellon University volunteer roles since he graduated with a BS in Computer Science in 2001, and an MS in Electrical and Computer Engineering in 2003. He is the current president of the Activities Board Technical Committee (ABTech) alumni interest group, which he founded in 2004. In 2015, Adam started the ABTech Advancement Fund, which is dedicated to helping current undergraduate members of ABTech attend industry conferences. Adam also served on the Alumni Association Board from 2011 until 2015, co-chairing both the Networks and Awards committees.

While at CMU, Adam was an executive in ABTech, a board member of Scotch 'n' Soda, and an officer of both Hammerschlag tower clubs (Carnegie Tech Radio Club [W3VC] and the ECE Graduate Organization). He currently works for a nonprofit and spends as much time as possible SCUBA diving with his girlfriend, Lindsay Spriggs (HS 2005, 2006).
-- information from CMU Alumni Association News, January 2017


December 2016
Todd Mowry Named ACM Fellow

Congratulations to Todd Mowry on being named an ACM Fellow for 2016! Mowry, a professor in the Computer Science Department, was cited “for contributions to software prefetching and thread-level speculation.” His research interests span the areas of computer architecture, compilers, operating systems, parallel processing, database performance, and modular robotics. He co-leads the Log-Based Architectures project and the Claytronics project. In 2004-2007, he served as the director of Intel Labs Pittsburgh. Todd was among 53 members of the ACM, the world’s leading computing society, elevated to fellow status this year. ACM will formally recognize the 2016 fellows at the annual Awards Banquet in San Francisco on June 24, 2017.
-- Carnegie Mellon University News, Dec. 8, 2016, Byron Spice

More recent PDL news here.