CLAS computer science assistant professor receives prestigious NSF CAREER award

Peng Jiang, assistant professor in the Department of Computer Science, was awarded a CAREER award from the National Science Foundation, which includes a $500,000 grant to fund his research.
Friday, April 12, 2024

By Charlotte Brookins 

Peng Jiang, assistant professor in the Department of Computer Science, has been awarded a CAREER award by the National Science Foundation.  

Peng Jiang
Peng Jiang

The award, which supports faculty with the potential to serve as mentors and leaders in their fields, includes a grant of $548,944. The funds will support Jiang’s current research project, entitled “Compiler and Runtime Support for Sampled Sparse Computations on Heterogeneous Systems.” 

Jiang says the goal of this project is to simplify the implementation process of sample-based algorithms, improve the performance of big data applications, and enhance the capacity to solve large-scale real-world problems. He also hopes to use the success of the project to provide more research opportunities for undergraduate students, especially those from underrepresented groups. 

“Sampling-based algorithms are gaining popularity in data applications because they help reduce computation costs,” says Jiang, introducing his research project. “However, their efficiency on hardware is limited due to random memory access and computation patterns. This research aims to address this issue by developing compiler and runtime tools.” 

Jiang, who joined the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences in 2019, says his project is unique from others because it includes a high-level programming interface that allows users to specify data management and preprocessing for different types of sampled computation. It also features techniques that exploit both hardware and randomized algorithm features to improve overall performance.  

Jiang cites his past research experience as the inspiration for the project. 

“I’ve been working on compiler and runtime systems over the past 10 years,” Jiang explains. “This project aims to build on that work to develop the next generation of system software for sampling-based algorithms on heterogeneous hardware.” 

Expressing his gratitude for the support he has received throughout this process, Jiang reflects on the valuable research environment provided for him and other faculty members at the University of Iowa. 

“The university’s computer science department provides a collegial and collaborative environment where I can discuss my research ideas with colleagues,” says Jiang. “I have received valuable feedback from other faculty members on my research projects and grant proposals.” 

Jiang says he is especially appreciative of the support he has received from fellow computer science professor Octav Chipara, whose research specializes in wireless networking, embedded systems, and more. 

“I also appreciate the CLAS Grant Support Office for their assistance with proposal preparation,” Jiang adds. “I am so excited that my work is being recognized and that the research community shares my vision for future trajectories.” 

The University of Iowa College of Liberal Arts and Sciences offers about 70 majors across the humanities; fine, performing and literary arts; natural and mathematical sciences; social and behavioral sciences; and communication disciplines. About 15,000 undergraduate and nearly 2,000 graduate students study each year in the college’s 37 departments, led by faculty at the forefront of teaching and research in their disciplines. The college teaches all Iowa undergraduates through the college's general education program, CLAS CORE. About 80 percent of all Iowa undergraduates begin their academic journey in CLAS. The college confers about 60 percent of the university's bachelor's degrees each academic year.