The National Science Foundation (NSF) has awarded nearly $500,000 to a professor with Iowa State University’s Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering for “Leveraging Coding Techniques for Distributed Computing.” Aditya Ramamoorthy, funded for his work on coding theoretic ideas for distributed computation, is the sole principal investigator on the project.
“Computing clusters that process huge amounts of data are ubiquitous in both industry and academia. The usage of such distributed clusters is a necessity rather than a luxury, since many modern datasets are too large to be stored in the memory or disk of a single computer,” Ramamoorthy said. “However, using such clusters to obtain answers quickly and efficiently presents many new challenges, including dealing with issues such as slow or failed worker nodes and taking into account the time for the worker nodes to communicate amongst themselves for collaboratively executing a job. Such issues are critical, as it is well-recognized that for such large scale systems, worker node failures are the norm rather than the exception.”
According to the project’s abstract, “The overarching goal of this project is to leverage coding-theoretic ideas to make distributed computation robust to stragglers (slow or failed worker nodes) and reduce the communication overhead of distributed computing paradigms such as MapReduce and Spark.”
Ramamoorthy will use the award to support the education of Ph.D. students, his own work and travel to various conferences for presenting research results. Undergraduate students will be involved at various levels and will be trained in data analytics techniques as well.
“I would like to thank the National Science Foundation for its continued support over the years,” Ramamoorthy said, “and my students (in alphabetical order): Anindya B. Das, Konstantinos Konstantinidis and Li Tang for the preliminary research that formed the foundation of the proposal.”