Ian T. Foster

2011 Tsutomu Kanai Award Recipient

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“For pioneering research in grid computing,
integrating geographically distributed instruments, computers, and data”

 

Ian T. Foster is the Arthur Holly Compton Distinguished Service Professor of Computer Science at the University of Chicago and an Argonne Distinguished Fellow at Argonne National Laboratory. He is also the Director of the Computation Institute, a joint unit of Argonne and the University.

The primary focus of Foster’s research has been the acceleration of discovery in a networked world. In partnership with many others, notably Carl Kesselman and Steven Tuecke, Foster developed and promulgated concepts and methods that underpin grid computing. These methods allow computing to be delivered reliably and securely on demand, as a service, and permit the formation and operation of virtual organizations linking people and resources worldwide. These results, and the associated Globus open source software, have helped advance discovery in such areas as high energy physics, environmental science, and biomedicine. Grid computing methods have also proved influential outside the world of science, contributing to the emergence of cloud computing.

Among recent projects, Globus Online seeks to outsource complex and time-consuming research management processes to software-as-a-service providers; the goal here is to make the discovery potential of massive data, exponentially faster computers, and deep interdisciplinary collaboration accessible to every researcher, not just a select few “big science” projects.

Ian Foster received a BSc (Hons I) degree from the University of Canterbury, New Zealand, and a PhD from Imperial College, United Kingdom, both in computer science. He is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, Association for Computing Machinery, and British Computer Society. His other 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 honorary doctorates from the University of Canterbury, New Zealand, and CINVESTAV, Mexico. He co-founded Univa, Inc., a company established to deliver grid and cloud computing solutions.