Electronic Design

Parallel Files Earn Ross An Early Award

Researchers normally collect accolades at the end of their careers. But the U.S. Department of Energy goes out of its way to salute up-and-coming talent with its Presidential Early Career Awards for Scientists and Engineers. And this year, a computer specialist was among the nine winners.

Robert B. Ross of Argonne National Laboratory earned the nod through his design of parallel computer file systems and high-performance interfaces to manage large datasets. His work helps users around the world overcome the input/output bottleneck that hampers performance on commercial parallel computers.

"I started in the area of parallel file systems in 1994," Ross said. "High-performance computing was producing huge amounts of data—hundreds of gigabytes to terabytes—that had to be managed, stored, and analyzed rapidly and efficiently."

Ross developed a parallel virtual file system that he made freely available as open-source software. Industry and universities still use the code he wrote for computational science and data-processing applications. Some of these computers have up to 10,000 processors. For his next project, Ross is spearheading the design of a new-generation code that will provide increased scalability, reliability, and performance on advanced computer systems.

The Presidential Awards recognize and nurture scientists and engineers who show exceptional potential for leadership early in their careers. Ross and the other winners received a citation, a plaque, and most importantly, a commitment for continued funding of the work from their respective agencies for five years.

For details, see www.energy.gov or www.anl.gov.

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