Paul and Cynthia Saylor Professorship in Computer Science
The Paul and Cynthia Saylor Professorship in Computer Science was established in 2005 through the generosity of the late Gene H. Golub (B.S. Mathematics, 1953, M.A. Mathematical Statistics, 1954, Ph.D. Mathematics, 1959) in honor of his longstanding friendship with the Saylors.
Professor Golub's influence on the theory and practice of scientific computing was profound, both through his vast range of technical research contributions and his professional leadership of the entire scientific computing community nationally and internationally.
Professor Golub was a cofounder of the Stanford computer science department, and served on the Stanford faculty beginning in 1962 through the time of his death in November of 2007. He was a member of both the National Academy of Science and the National Academy of Engineering. He served as president of SIAM from 1985 to 1987 and was founding editor of both SIAM Journal on Scientific Computing and SIAM Journal on Matrix Analysis and Applications. His founding of NA-Net and NA-Digest helped unify the worldwide numerical analysis community.
Professor Emeritus Paul Saylor has served on the computer science faculty at the University of Illinois since 1967. He received his Ph.D. in mathematics from Rice University in 1968. His research interests include high performance computing and the solution of large linear and nonlinear systems, with applications in astrophysics, electromagnetics and groundwater flow. His research has focused on constraint problems, specifically in relativity equations.
Paul and his wife Cynthia became acquainted with Gene Golub during Gene's many visits to Illinois, and they remained his lifelong friends. Gene wished to honor their kindness, support, and generosity, as well as Paul's dedication to his students and the academic life through the naming of this endowed professorship.
An expert in parallel programming, Laxmikant “Sanjay” Kalé, the current Saylor Professor, has developed tools that make parallel computing easier and more efficient for scientists and engineers who model complex problems in a variety of fields, including epidemiology, quantum chemistry, and astronomy. He pioneered the idea of a powerful, introspective and adaptive runtime system to simplify parallel programming of complex applications and to automate resource management. To enable such adaptivity, he developed a class of parallel programming models based on overdecomposition, migratability, and asynchrony. His research group developed the Charm++ parallel programming system embodying these ideas. Charm++ has a 20- year track record of delivering high performance on systems ranging from single workstations to the largest supercomputers in the world. Charm++ is one of the few academically developed parallel programming systems that is used to solve real-world problems.
Using Charm++, he has developed many collaborative parallel applications, including Nanoscale Molecular Dynamics (NAMD), with Illinois Biophysics Professor Klaus Schulten. NAMD was used for the world’s first simulation of the precise chemical structure of the HIV capsid—a major breakthrough in the understanding of the deadly virus.
Kalé’s group has collaborated to develop applications such as ChaNGa, which enables astronomers to study the origins of the universe, and OpenaAtom, which enables studies of materials dynamics, chemistry, or photovolatic behavior based on solving quantum mechanical equations for electrons. The EpiSimdemics project simulates the spread of contagions like the H1N1 and Ebola viruses as they propagate through populations and the impact of potential interventions on the spread of the contagion.
Kalé’s research interests include higher level parallel programming abstractions, dynamic load balancing, structured and unstructured mesh computations with dynamic refinements, parallel discrete event simulations, and its use in simulations of future parallel machines, performance analysis, and sustainable development of software in academia.
A fellow of IEEE, Kalé has received numerous awards for his work, including the 2002 ACM Gordon Bell Prize (with his co-authors) and the 2012 IEEE Computer Society Sidney Fernbach Award (with Klaus Schulten). He and his team won the HPC Challenge award at Supercomputing 2011, for their entry based on Charm++. He also co-edited the book Parallel Science and Engineering Applications: The Charm++ Approach.
From 2007 to 2013, the Paul and Cynthia Saylor Professor was William D. Gropp. Gropp, currently the Thomas M. Siebel Chair in Computer Science, joined the University of Illinois in 2007 after a distinguished tenure at Argonne National Laboratory and the University of Chicago. He is a leading researcher in the areas of high performance and parallel computing, as well as numerical methods for partial differential equations.
Gropp has played a major role in the development and popularization of the Message Passing Interface (MPI), which provides a portal parallel programming model for high performance computing. He is co-author of MPICH, one of the most widely used implementations of MPI and winner of an R&D 100 Award in 2005.
Gropp is also one of the designers of the Portable Extensible Toolkit for Scientific Computation (PETSc), a parallel numerical library that includes efficient and scalable algorithms for the solution of linear and nonlinear equations. PETSc was recognized with an R&D 100 Award in 2009.
At Illinois, Gropp is the chief applications architect and co-PI on the Blue Waters sustained petascale computing facility, and he is the founding Director of the Parallel Computing Institute. He received his BS degree in mathematics from Case Western Reserve University in 1977, an MS degree in physics from the University of Washington in 1978, and a PhD in computer science from Stanford University in 1982. He has co-authored several books, including Parallel Multilevel Methods for Elliptic Partial Differential Equations with Barry Smith and Petter Bjorstad, and Using MPI with Ewing Lusk and Anthony Skjellum.
Gropp is a Fellow of ACM, IEEE, and SIAM, and he is a member of the National Academy of Engineering. He is the recipient of the Gordon Bell Prize, IEEE Computer Society’s Sidney Ferbach Award, the IEEE TCSC Medal for Excellence in Scalable Computing, and the SIAM Activity Group on Supercomputing (SIAG/SC) Career Prize.