CCI Professor Wins NSF Career Award

Date Published: 
Monday, July 24, 2017

Assistant Professor, Erik Saule, Ph.D., in the College of Computing and Informatics’ Department of Computer Science has been awarded the prestigious National Science Foundation’s (NSF) Career Award for his research in Graph Analytics.  In the last two decades, graphs have been applied to virtually all parts of human activity such as health, literature, national defense, GPS systems, traffic analysis for urban planning, etc.  The Internet and the information age in general significantly increased the amount of data that can be leveraged, which has increased the size of the graphs being studied as well as the complexity of the analyses performed on them.  Data analysts cannot easily examine this kind of data as the current software and simple machines cannot easily process the analysis and utilizing more powerful systems is often out of their skill set.

“The project will help analysists gain a clear understanding of the performance of graph algorithms on different hardware architectures, to understand which modes of operation are preferable to use, to design new algorithms for the cases where no good solutions exist, and to design better algorithms for common use cases,” said Dr. Saule.  “The project develops new algorithmic techniques to perform graph analysis by shortening critical paths, by leveraging vectorization, and by replicating data to improve load balance.”

Dr. Saule said his tools will be used to give insight on how to design better algorithms and to enable picking the best way to perform analysis.  Thus, he said the software, algorithms, and models will increase productivity of data analysts by reducing the development burden on the analyst and by efficiently using computing systems to analyze graphs in a timely fashion.

“Urban planning will be greatly impacted by this,” said Dr. Saule.  “Graphs of cities will show the connection of streets and traffic flow.  The analysis of this information will then provide valuable information to retailers and help them to determine what areas would be best suited for them.”

Dr. Saule said his approach will automate the modeling process, thus speeding up the analysis of graphs, and eliminate some of the computing power that had been needed in the past.  The end result will be a reduction in the use of energy.

CCI has seven Career Award recipients among past and current faculty.

About the College of Computing and Informatics
The College of Computing and Informatics (CCI) is the largest and most comprehensive technology program in North Carolina, and one of the largest in the nation, offering scale and critical mass in cutting-edge research and innovation. CCI is a national leader in interdisciplinary partnerships, bridging fundamental research with critical scientific, societal, and national defense challenges. It is also the home to leading research centers and institutes, including the Cyber Defense and Network Assurability (CyberDNA) Center, the Bioinformatics Research Center, the Charlotte Visualization Center, the Complex Systems Institute, and the Center for Education Innovation.  Active research awards currently total $38 million.  cci.uncc.edu  @UNCC_CCI

About the University of North Carolina at Charlotte

UNC Charlotte is North Carolina’s urban research university. It is the fourth largest campus among the seventeen institutions of the University of North Carolina system and the largest institution of higher education in the Charlotte region. Current enrollment exceeds 28,000 students, including 5,000 graduate students.

NSF Career Awards

The Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) Program is a Foundation-wide activity that offers the National Science Foundation's most prestigious awards in support of the early career-development activities of those teacher-scholars who most effectively integrate research and education within the context of the mission of their organization. Such activities should build a firm foundation for a lifetime of integrated contributions to research and education. NSF encourages submission of CAREER proposals from junior faculty members at all CAREER-eligible organizations and especially encourages women, members of underrepresented minority groups, and persons with disabilities to apply.

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Media Contact:  Clark G. Curtis, 704-687-7983, clarkcurtis@uncc.edu