Prof. Ian Foster Named SC Distinguished Scientist Fellow by Department of Energy

October 17, 2019

Ian Foster, the Arthur Holly Compton Distinguished Service Professor of Computer Science at the University of Chicago and a senior computer scientist at the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Argonne National Laboratory, has been named a 2019 SC Distinguished Scientist Fellow, a newly established honor from DOE’s Office of Science (SC).

Foster received the award for ​“pioneering work in distributed and high-performance computing with fundamental and long-lasting impacts on both computer science as a discipline and the practice of computing across the Office of Science.”

The SC Distinguished Scientist Fellow program confers $1 million in funding to recipients over three years and is intended ​“to develop, sustain, and promote scientific and academic excellence in Office of Science research through collaborations between institutions of higher education and national laboratories.”

“This recognition of Argonne’s exceptional computer science program and culture, and the work of my many collaborators over many years, is extremely gratifying,” Foster said. ​“I am excited to be able to use this support to pursue new research directions at the intersection of artificial intelligence and science.”

Foster is the director of Argonne’s Data Science and Learning Division. His work has been focused on using parallelism and rapid communications to promote discovery, whether by accelerating complex computational processes, linking remote computers and data or enabling distributed virtual teams.

At the Data Science and Learning Division, Foster is leading cutting-edge research in artificial intelligence —specifically, machine learning systems for science. Over the years, he has trained and/or mentored many students who have gone on to become national laboratory scientists or university faculty.

Foster’s award-winning data management software, Globus, is used across the DOE national laboratories and at thousands of other research institutions worldwide. A team led by Argonne researchers recently used Globus to achieve a recording-setting file transfer that moved 2.9 petabytes of data as part of a research project involving three of the largest cosmological simulations to date.

Foster holds a BSc (Hons I) degree from the University of Canterbury, New Zealand, and a Ph.D. from Imperial College, United Kingdom, both in computer science. He has published hundreds of scientific papers and eight books on computing and data. Before becoming director of the Data Science and Learning Division, Foster led Argonne’s Computation Institute from 2006 to 2016. Methods and software developed under his leadership underpin many large national and international cyberinfrastructures.

“Ian has been instrumental in developing data management methods for science and architecting software critical to users of the nation’s first exascale computer,” said Paul Kearns, director of Argonne National Laboratory.  ​“He also dedicates significant time to teaching our next generation of computer scientists. Thanks in part to Ian’s collaborative and multi-disciplinary approach to research, Argonne is among the leaders in high-performance distributed computing.”

Article originally published at the Argonne website. You can also watch a video of Foster's acceptance speech from the Distinguished Scientists Fellow Award Ceremony