2012 Distinguished Educator Award

The CS @ Illinois Distinguished Educator Award honors computer science alumni or faculty members who have made outstanding contributions to computer science education and recognizes alumni and faculty who excel at motivating computer science students. The award is presented at the CS @ Illinois Awards Banquet each fall.

Nominations for the Distinguished Educator Award are solicited annually from alumni, faculty, and advisory board members. Nominate a fellow alumnus or faculty member today at my.cs.illinois.edu/submit.


David J. Kuck
Intel Fellow & Emeritus Professor, CS @ Illinois

CS Emeritus Professor David Kuck has made major contributions to parallel computing as a researcher, professor, software company founder, and product developer. His work has influenced architecture design and evaluation, compiler technology, programming languages, and algorithms, which has improved the cost-effectiveness of multiprocessor computing.

Kuck joined the University of Illinois computer science department in 1965 as the lone software researcher working on ILLIAC IV, the world’s first supercomputer. Kuck restructured computer source code for parallelism, demonstrating that software could actually be written for the single-instruction, multiple-data machine (SIMD).

In 1979, he founded Kuck and Associates Inc., which created a line of industry-standard optimizing compilers to exploit parallelism. During the 1980s, he founded and led the Center for Supercomputing Research and Development, which produced Cedar, a high-performance, large-scale multiprocessing computer that brought supercomputing power to bear on fields such as meteorology, physics, astronomy, and the computer-aided design of computer circuits.

Kuck left the university in 1993, and he sold his company to Intel in 2000. Today, he is an Intel Fellow in the Software and Solutions Group (SSG). He is working on the HW/SW co-design of architectures and applications based on performance, energy, and cost. Under Kuck's leadership, SSG produced industry-leading parallel tools including ThreadChecker, ThreadProfiler, and OpenMP

Kuck is a Fellow of the IEEE and the ACM, and a Member of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the National Academy of Engineering.

Last updated: 2012.


Ran Libeskind-Hadas
R. Michael Shanahan Professor & CS Department Chair, Harvey Mudd College

Ran Libeskind-Hadas (MS '89, PhD '93) is the department chair and the R. Michael Shanahan Professor of Computer Science at Harvey Mudd College (HMC) in Claremont, CA, where he has been a faculty member for the past 19 years. Known for his infectious enthusiasm in the classroom, Libeskind-Hadas has taught courses such as discrete mathematics, introduction to computer science, complexity theory, advanced algorithms, and computer graphics. HMC has recognized his teaching excellence with two separate honors.  In 1996, he received the Iris and Howard Critchell Assistant Professorship, which recognizes a junior faculty who has exhibited unusual talent for mentoring and counseling students in all aspects of their lives, and, in 2005, he received the Joseph B. Platt Endowed Chair for effective teaching.

Admired and respected by his students, Libeskind-Hadas is known for being an excellent communicator with seemingly endless energy.  His excitement for the material brings difficult concepts to life, while his clear explanations and extensive office hours help ensure that students master them.  Always striving to innovate in the classroom, Libeskind-Hadas has helped to revamp HMC’s introductory CS courses, including the creation of a cross disciplinary CS and Biology introductory course.  In addition, he has worked even more broadly to improve education, publishing papers in education-focused engineering and computer science conferences. 

An expert in the design and analysis of algorithms for computational biology, one focus for Libeskind-Hadas has been to provide students with rich research experiences, having successfully applied for several NSF grants for that purpose.  In fact, he has supervised 44 summer research students, 17 senior theses, and 17 year-long undergraduate research projects sponsored by industry partners. In addition, Libeskind-Hadas’s influence extends beyond HMC.  He currently serves as co-chair of the Computing Research Association's Education Committee, and he is serving a term on the Computing Community Consortium Council, a national committee that helps the computing community develop new research visions.

Last updated: 2012.


Xiaosong Ma
Associate Professor, North Carolina State University

An associate professor of computer science at North Carolina State University, Xiaosong Ma (PhD CS ’03) is conducting research in storage systems, parallel input/output (I/O), high-performance parallel applications, cloud computing, and self-configurable performance optimizations.  Ma is also a faculty member at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, giving her access to supercomputing resources and allowing her to collaborate on projects that explore petascale supercomputer management, scalable parallel I/O, and high-end storage systems.

I/O is a weak link in the scientific computing cycle for many applications because of the widening performance gap between the I/O subsystem and other system components. Ma’s group works to provide novel technology for improving applications’ perceived I/O performance as well as for reducing parallel jobs’ data movement cost in time, resource usage, and energy consumption. More recently her research is exploring the use of new storage devices such as SSDs in HPC settings for efficient out-of-core computation and in-situ data analytics using active-SSDs. Another recent focus is automatic parallel I/O benchmark extraction based on large-scale applications.

Another aspect of her research is focused on making cloud computing a cost-effective choice for HPC users. Ma's group has recently investigated the cost comparison between using cloud instances and owning in-house clusters for executing tightly-coupled parallel applications. They are also examining new approaches such as establishing semi-elastic, cloud-based clusters and automated per-application parallel I/O configuration on cloud platforms.

Ma has received a Department of Energy Early Career award, a National Science Foundation CAREER award, an IBM Faculty Award, and a Faculty Fellowship from NetApp.

Last updated: 2012.


Milos Prvulovic
Associate Professor, Georgia Institute of Technology

An associate professor at Georgia Tech, Milos Prvulovic (MS 2001, PhD 2003) is exploring ways to design computer architectures that are more secure and reliable, easier to program, and have better tradeoffs between performance, complexity, and power. Specifically, his research involves hardware mechanisms to protect against physical attacks, untrusted system software, and untrusted system components; as well as perform runtime checks to improve software reliability and identify performance limiters in many-core execution.

One example of his work is a new hardware checkpointing accelerator that should enhance programmers’ productivity and lead to more reliable computer systems. Developed in collaboration with one of his students, Euripus is the first hardware technique to provide consolidation-friendly undo-logs (for bidirectional debugging), to allow simultaneous construction of both undo and redo logs, and to support multi-level checkpointing for error recovery. Euripas may reduce the overall hardware cost, memory use, and performance overheads compared to other checkpointing techniques.

Prvulovic is a senior member of IEEE and ACM.  In 2005, he received a prestigious NSF CAREER Award. In 2010, he received a Hesburgh Teaching Fellowship from Georgia Tech, which is awarded to promote innovative instruction.  In December 2011, Prvulovic was program co-chair for IEEE/ACM MICRO, a top architecture conference.  He is a current member of ACM SIGMICRO’s Executive Committee.

Last updated: 2012.