Two Virginia Tech students, Karim Youssef and Niteya Shah, and their advisor, Wu Feng, are receiving Outstanding Student Paper Awards at the IEEE High Performance Extreme Computing virtual conference on September 23. 

The papers titled “Optimizing Performance and Storage of Memory-Mapped Persistent Data Structures” and “AUTOPAGER: Auto-tuning Memory-Mapped I/O Parameters in Userspace” both work on improvements to memory systems in extreme computing.

“Think of it like automatic versus manual transmission in cars,” said Feng, a professor in the Department of Computer Science  Director of the Synergy Lab. “Driving with a stick shift required a knowledgeable driver who knew when to change gears. But, especially when automatic transmission cars were first on the market, the manual transmission often had better performance when driving with hills and whatnot. Stick shift had a higher performance, but also a higher learning curve.” 

“That’s a very simple way to explain the issue we’re solving with memory and storage in extreme computing systems,” Feng said. “The current system requires a knowledgeable user to manually store data. What Karim and and Niteya ’s papers are working on are creating automatic storage systems that give a familiar interface to users, while also delivering high performance.”

Their research was sponsored and funded by the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. The laboratory has reached out to a number of graduate student programs to collaborate with students on important research in computing, like Youssef and Shah’s work on memory and storage. 

Wu-chen Feng
Wu Feng, professor in the Department of Computer Science, and director of the Synergy Lab at Virginia Tech. Photo by Peter Means for Virginia Tech.

Youssef is a sixth year Ph.D. student at Virginia Tech, who earned his bachelor's degree in computer and communication engineering from Alexandria University in Egypt.

“Being recognized by the IEEE Conference is a valuable milestone in my research career,” Youssef said. “Besides the sense of accomplishment, the Outstanding Student Paper Award reflects the impact of the research outcome, and paves the way for more contributions in the field of scalable data science.”

Shah, a second-year master’s student at Virginia Tech, received his bachelor's in computer science from Vellore Institute of Technology in India.

"It is a great honor to be recognized by the IEEE,” said Shah. “It has been an excellent learning experience for me as I learn the many aspects of academic research, and pushes me to further dive into the field to understand even more about the subject."

IEEE’s mission is to foster technological innovation and excellence for the benefit of humanity. The purpose of this week’s conference is to “give researchers working in this important area an opportunity to discuss techniques, approaches, and ongoing developments with relevance to high performance extreme computing processors, systems, storage, networks, software, and applications.”        

Feng says that this recognition is a testament to his student’s dedication and perseverance, especially during the pandemic. Youssef was extremely productive on this project through the past few years of online learning and research, while Shah has made impressive progress given his short time in graduate school.

Congratulations to Karim Youssef and Niteya Shah, and their advisor Wu Feng, on these recognitions and awards.

Written by Hannah Lee, a student intern in the Department of Computer Science