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PhD Student Wins Samsung Gold Prize for Work on Fault Detection for GPUs

4/1/2011 11:10:00 AM April Dahlquist, Coordinated Science Laboratory

And the (Samsung) gold goes to … Keun Soo Yim.

This spring, Yim, a computer science PhD student who conducts his research at the Coordinated Science Laboratory, was awarded gold through the Samsung Human-Tech Thesis Prize competition.

Illinois computer science PhD student Keun Soo Yim
Illinois computer science PhD student Keun Soo Yim
Illinois computer science PhD student Keun Soo Yim

Under his advisor, ECE Professor Ravi Iyer, Yim has been researching design and validation techniques of fault tolerance of systems for high-performance computing systems. The software and hardware techniques Yim designed can detect and tolerate hardware faults in high performance machines with little overhead.

Yim has primarily been working with Graphic Processing Units, or GPUs, since they comprise a third of the processors in the fastest supercomputers. He has found many hardware faults that can lead to silent data corruption errors in GPUs, due to insufficient hardware-enforced error protection mechanisms.

In his paper, Yim combines reliable computing technology with high-performance computing technology to maximize fault detection and minimize the impact on the GPU’s performance.

“The fusion of these technologies is very necessary in understanding fault tolerance in GPUs,” said Yim, a graduate student in computer science.

Using Yim’s techniques, researchers can automatically customize error detectors and strategically place them in the program’s source code.

Although Samsung sponsors the competition, Yim’s research does not directly benefit Samsung’s business. According to the competition website, the goal of the competition is to encourage research at the collegiate level and further science.

“Samsung wants to promote science and engineering and the intellectual merit of the work in all fields,” Yim said. “That’s why the prize is open for both undergraduate and graduate students and they are evaluated separately.”

Yim was among more than 1,000 peers who submitted papers for the 17th annual competition. In December, Samsung chose finalists to travel to the Samsung headquarters in Seoul, Korea, where they gave a 30-minute presentation of their research in front of a panel of experts.

In the middle of January, Samsung announced the winners. Twelve papers from 10 technical areas were awarded the gold prizes and around 80 other papers received a silver, bronze or honor, depending on their merit. The winners were invited back to the headquarters for a formal ceremony.