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Christie Alappat comes second place in ACM Student Research Competition Grand Finals

Our PhD student Christie Louis Alappat, by winning the ACM Student Research Competition (SRC) at SC18 at the graduate level last year, has advanced to the ACM SRC Grand Finals, where the winners from 26 ACM conferences contend for the Grand Prize. For this last round he had to prepare a five-page paper about his research. This paper, and the whole body of his work, was evaluated again by a panel of judges.

We are now happy to announce that Christie has come second place in the Grand SRC Finale. The prize is sponsored by Microsoft and involves travel grants to major conferences. Together with his advisor, Prof. Gerhard Wellein, he is invited to the awards ceremony which will take place in San Francisco on June 15. This is the very same ceremony at which Yoshua Bengio, Geoffrey Hinton, and Yann LeCun will receive the prestigious ACM Turing Award 2018 for their seminal work on deep learning algorithms. Talk about good company!

Christie’s research revolves around a long-standing problem in computer science: How must a graph be colored to enable parallel processing in the presence of dependencies? His solution, the “Recursive Algebraic Coloring Engine,” can be used to parallelize many sparse algorithms in a hardware-efficient way, taking the specific properties of modern multicore chips into account. It outperforms existing approaches and libraries by a significant margin at such an important operation as symmetric sparse matrix-vector multiplication (SymmSpMV), but its range of applicability is much broader. Christie has prepared a walk-through of his SC18 poster to explain the details: