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U of M student places second at premier supercomputing event

By Greg Russell

Yi Gu
Yi Gu

Yi Gu's star power is rising. And communications between computers around the world have the potential to flow more efficiently because of it.

The University of Memphis doctoral student in computer science scored her second major honor in the past year when she placed second in the poster competition at a conference considered by many as the premier international forum on high-performance computing.

Gu’s winning entry, "Optimizing End-to-End Performance of Scientific Workflows in Distributed Environments,” illustrated her research into ways to ramp up computer efficiency. Judges at the SC10 Supercomputing International Conference in New Orleans as well as her U of M faculty adviser said Gu’s entry in the ACM Student Research Competition demonstrates her promising future in the supercomputing world.

"The ACM Student Research Competition is a well recognized venue for high-quality students to showcase their talent and research potential in an international scope," said her adviser, Dr. Qishi Wu, assistant professor of computer science. "The winners of this competition are considered as the most promising rising stars in the computing community. Yi's second place in this year's event indicates that the U of M's best students are among the top of the major universities in the world in terms of quality of research."

Scientists who research high-performance computing look for ways to speed up and address problems on the information superhighway. Gu specializes in finding ways for a more efficient flow of information between computer networks and modules that might differ from lab to lab. She has also conducted research at Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

"I feel very lucky to receive this award because this year’s event was very competitive with top students from many of the major universities around the world," said Gu.

There were 77 entries in the poster competition at the event in New Orleans that drew hundreds of researchers and students. The posters showcased original research in computer science.

The SC10 conference featured rigorously reviewed tutorials, papers, panels, workshops and posters that provide fast access to new research results from international laboratories and institutions.

 “The SC conference series is truly a remarkable gathering of the best minds in the computing community on both the provider and user side,” said Barry V. Hess, SC10 general chair and information officer for Sandia National Laboratories. “Supercomputing is a universal scientific instrument – one with the power to make the world a better place for all of us. You can really feel that potential when you are at the conference.”

The poster submissions in the competition were chosen and judged by an expert panel that specializes in computer science projects. Winners received prizes and the top finishers were invited to participate in the ACM Student Research Competition grand finals.

Earlier this year, Gu, a native of China, was a finalist for the prestigious 2010 Anita Borg Memorial Scholarship, which is administered by Google. She was awarded $1,000 for that honor and led Wu to say, "The list of finalists and recipients for this prestigious scholarship is largely dominated by schools like MIT, Stanford, Carnegie Mellon and Princeton. The quality of our best students is comparable to that of those at top-tier universities in the United States."

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