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Five professors awarded national technology prizes

From The Cavalier Daily
September 20, 2000

By Heather Klurfeld

Several University professors are picking up extra funding for innovative projects.

The National Science Foundation announced five University professors have received more than $3 million in grants through the Information and Technology Research Program.

Although over 1,400 people applied, only 62 awards over $500,000 were given (including University professors Kevin Sullivan and Jorg Liebeherr) and 148 were less than $500,000 (including University professors Ronald Williams, Barry Johnson and Kevin Skadron).

"This record of achievement puts us in an elite class of departments nationally," said recipient Kevin Sullivan, assistant professor of computer science.

"This is an amazing yield for U.Va.," echoed recipient Kevin Skadron, also an assistant professor of computer science. "I was really surprised. The number of proposals was staggering."

Applicants must submit a lengthy proposal to the National Science Foundation.

One of five members of the Foundation reviews the proposal before passing it on to a panel in Washington, D.C. The panel then ranks the submissions and allocates the $90 million in funds accordingly.

Sullivan "I am honored to have been selected from such an outstanding field of candidates," he said.

Skadron also said he was extremely pleased to be among the award recipients.

Skadron, along with Princeton professor David August, will be exploring how to make computers run faster. The conclusions of their research could result in the computer industry incorporating their results into the next line of computers.

Even more impressive, however, is the fact that both Skadron and August applied during their first year as professors.

"We didn't expect to be successful, especially because we are new faculty," August said. "I was in disbelief." Skadron and August met at Princeton while both were undergraduate students.

Other winners, Barry Johnson, electrical engineering professor, and Ronald Williams, mechanical and electrical engineering professor, will co-research the structure of computer systems and investigate where problems with security begin.

Johnson said he hopes to apply his research and conclusions to the education system, hopefully stimulating the formation of classes in the Engineering School, the College and eventually on-line about security issues with computers.

In addition to these achievements, software development is of great importance to Virginia. Information and technology are the largest generators of tax revenue in the state.

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