2016 David J. Kuck Outstanding Thesis Awards

These awards were established by alumni, former students, and friends in recognition of Professor Kuck's intellectual and leadership contributions. Each year, two awards are given: one for an outstanding doctoral thesis and one for an outstanding master's thesis.

Kuck was professor of computer science from 1965-1993. In 1977, he developed the Parafrase compiler system, which is used as a test bed for the development of many new ideas on vectorization and program transformation. He led the construction of Cedar in 1985, a 32-processor SMP supercomputer built at Illinois. He was founder of Kuck and Associates and won numerous awards, including the Eckert-Mauchly Award from ACM/IEEE, the IEEE Computer Society's Computer Pioneer Award, the Charles Babbage Outstanding Scientist Award, and the CS @ ILLINOIS Distinguished Educator Award. In 2015, Kuck was inducted into the College of Engineering Hall of Fame.


Milos Gligoric
PhD CS '15
Assistant Professor, Electrical & Computer Engineering, University of Texas at Austin

A faculty member at the University of Texas, Milos Gligoric is conducting software engineering and formal methods research that aims to improve software quality via testing and model checking. Recently, he won a Google Faculty Research Award, which supports the work of world-class permanent faculty members at top universities around the world, and an NSF CRII grant for young faculty researchers.

As a member of CS @ ILLINOIS Professor Darko Marinov’s research group, Gligoric received the department’s David J. Kuck Outstanding PhD Student Award for his work on test-input generation, test-quality assessment, testing concurrent code, and regression testing. He also received an ACM SIGSOFT Outstanding Doctoral Dissertation Award, and two of his papers won ACM SIGSOFT Distinguished Paper Awards.

Gligoric conducted valuable industry research through several internships, including testing for concurrent Java and C/C++ code at Intel and cloud-based build systems and automated migration at Microsoft. Other internships included working on model checking database applications at the Max Planck Institute, model checking X10 programs at NASA, and symbolic execution and model checking of Java programs at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology.

Last updated 2016


Le Xu
BS Math & CS '13, MS CS '15
PhD student, University of Illinois

Le Xu is a doctoral student working with CS Associate Professor Indranil Gupta. As part of her master’s thesis, she developed an on-demand elasticity feature that was implemented in the popular real-time data stream processing system Apache Storm. Elasticity is the ability to increase (scale out) or decrease (scale in) the number of machines processing vast amounts of rapidly generated data—a much sought-after capability for Storm.

Xu’s system, known as Stream Processing Elasticity (Stela), allows a user to request scaling the number of machines that process the data either in or out without interrupting the on-going computation. Compared to Storm’s default scheduler, which handles scaling, Stela achieved a scale-out operation that was 21-120% higher and had significantly smaller interruption time. In other experimental results, Stela automatically chose the right set of servers to remove during scale-in operation, achieving two- to five-times higher throughput than Storm’s default strategy.

This past summer, Xu conducted research at Hewlett Packard Enterprise; in previous summers, she worked as a performance engineer at Salesforce and a software engineer at Yahoo!. Xu has served as a teaching assistant for the Cloud Computing Concepts course offered through Coursera, as well as the on-campus Distributed System (CS 425) course.

Xu earned her bachelor’s degree in Math and Computer Science in 2013 and her MS degree in CS in 2015.

Last updated 2016