Professor Sarita Adve Recognized with 2018 ACM/IEEE Computer Society Ken Kennedy Award

Cited for Research Contributions and Leadership in Development of Memory Consistency Models for C++ and Java, Service to Computer Science Organizations, and Exceptional Mentoring
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LOS ALAMITOS, Calif., October 31, 2018 – The Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) and IEEE Computer Society (IEEE-CS) have named Sarita Adve, the Richard T. Cheng Professor of Computer Science at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, as the recipient of the 2018 ACM/IEEE-CS Ken Kennedy Award.

Adve is recognized “for research contributions and leadership in the development of memory consistency models for C++ and Java, for service to numerous computer science organizations, and for exceptional mentoring.”

Adve co-developed the memory models for the C++ and Java programming languages (with Hans Boehm, Bill Pugh, and others), based on her early work on data-race-free (DRF) models (with Mark Hill).  The memory model specifies what value a read of a memory address will return, and lies at the heart of the correctness and performance of threaded programs, languages, compilers, and hardware. By impacting the models of the most widely used programming languages, Adve’s work has influenced the worldwide software community and hardware design.

More recently, with her students, Adve questioned the conventional wisdom for memory models for heterogeneous systems and showed that DRF is a superior model even for such systems. Her group’s recent work on DRFrlx provides semantics for a large class of relaxed atomics within the DRF framework, a longstanding open problem in the specification of modern memory models.

Adve’s broader research interests are at the hardware-software interface and span the system stack from hardware to applications, with current focus on scalable system specialization and resiliency. She is also known for her innovations in cache coherence, hardware reliability, and power management.

Adve is also recognized for her service to the computing community. As current chair of the ACM Special Interest Group on Computer Architecture (SIGARCH), she instituted many changes inspiring new energy in the functioning of the executive committee, leading to new effective programs in communications, research visioning, and mentoring. With colleagues, she made diversity and inclusion a key focus and led the creation of CARES, a committee to provide support to those who experienced harassment at SIGARCH and SIGMICRO sponsored events.  Other communities have begun to emulate these activities. Adve also serves on the ACM Council and the DARPA ISAT study group and previously served on the board of the Computing Research Association and the NSF CISE advisory committee.

Adve is a recipient of the Anita Borg Institute Women of Vision award in innovation, the ACM SIGARCH Maurice Wilkes award, and an Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellowship. She is a Fellow of the ACM and IEEE and was named a University Scholar by the University of Illinois. For three of the last five years, the University of Illinois has selected her students’ Ph.D. theses as one of two nominations for the ACM doctoral dissertation award.

Adve received a Ph.D. in computer science from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1993, and a Bachelor of Technology degree in electrical engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay in 1987. Before joining Illinois, she was on the faculty at Rice University from 1993 to 1999.

The award will be presented at SC 18: The International Conference for High Performance Computing, Networking, Storage and Analysis, in Dallas, Texas on 13 November, 2018.

ACM and IEEE-CS co-sponsor the Kennedy Award, which was established in 2009 to recognize substantial contributions to programmability and productivity in computing and significant community service or mentoring contributions. It was named for the late Ken Kennedy, founder of Rice University’s computer science program and a world expert on high-performance computing. The Kennedy Award carries a US $5,000 honorarium endowed by the SC Conference Steering Committee.


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