University of Southern California Professor Viktor K. Prasanna Named Recipient of 2015 IEEE-CS Wallace McDowell Award

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LOS ALAMITOS, Calif., 8 April 2015 – Viktor K. Prasanna, the Charles Lee Powell Chair in Engineering and professor of electrical engineering and computer science at the University of Southern California, has been named 2015 recipient of the IEEE Computer Society’s prestigious W. Wallace McDowell Award for his contributions to reconfigurable computing.

Prasanna, also known as V. K. Prasanna Kumar, was cited “for fundamental algorithmic and application-specific architectural contributions to reconfigurable computing.” Director of USC’s Center for Energy Informatics and executive director of the USC-Infosys Center for Advanced Software Technologies, Prasanna is also an associate member of the Center for Applied Mathematical Sciences.

He leads the integrated optimizations efforts at the USC-Chevron Center of Excellence for Research and Academic Training on Interactive Smart Oilfield Technologies (CiSoft) and the demand response optimizations in the LA Smartgrid project. His research interests include high-performance computing, parallel and distributed systems, reconfigurable computing, cloud computing, and embedded systems.

He received his BS in electronics engineering from Bangalore University; MS from the School of Automation, Indian Institute of Science; and Ph.D in computer science from the Pennsylvania State University.

Prasanna has published extensively and consulted for industries in the above areas. He is Steering Committee Co-Chair of the International Parallel & Distributed Processing Symposium (IPDPS), and was founding chair of the IEEE Computer Society Technical Committee on Parallel Processing. He is a Fellow of IEEE, the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM), and the American Association for Advancement of Science (AAAS). He is a recipient of the 2005 Okawa Foundation Grant. He received an Outstanding Engineering Alumnus Award from the Pennsylvania State University in 2009.

The McDowell Award is given to individuals for outstanding recent theoretical, design, educational, practical, or other innovative contributions in the field of computing. The award may be given for a single contribution of great merit or a series of lesser contributions that have had or are expected to have an important influence on the computer field. It consists of a bronze medal and a $2,000 honorarium.

One of computing’s most prestigious individual honors, the W. Wallace McDowell Award has a list of past winners that reads like a who’s who of industry giants. They include FORTRAN creator John W. Backus (1967); supercomputer pioneers Seymour Cray (1968), Gene Amdahl (1976), and Ken Kennedy (1995); the architect of IBM’s mainframe computer Frederick Brooks (1970); Intel Corp. co-founder Gordon Moore (1978); Donald Knuth, the father of algorithm analysis (1980); microprocessor inventor Federico Faggin (1994); World Wide Web inventor Tim Berners-Lee (1996); Lotus Notes creator and Microsoft Chief Software Architect Ray Ozzie (2000); and IBM Fellow Ronald Fagin (2012).

McDowell, who spent decades working for IBM, directed development of the first commercial electronic calculator. He was later responsible for development of major advances, including IBM’s card-programmed calculator, magnetic drums and tape units, magnetic core and disc storage, the company’s “700” systems, and the Naval Ordinance Research Calculator. Learn more about the McDowell Award.