Software Development
Data / Funding

Virginia Tech profs receive NSF grant to solve big data’s big disconnect

With a $750,000 grant, Ali Butt and Chao Wang are looking to close the disconnect between data processing software and large data centers.

Aradhya Malhotra (right) and his team at Skyless Game Studios. (Photo courtesy of Aradhya Malhotra)

The data shed by our digital lives is mined every day by increasingly sophisticated processing software. Yet these tools are often ill-suited for the richest of quarries: large data centers.
Now, two Virginia Tech researchers are developing tools that could help better coordinate cutting-edge data processing software — used in fields ranging from high-speed physics to economics to meteorology.
“There is currently a disconnect between programmers who develop the big data applications and system engineers who oversee large data centers that support these applications,” Ali R. Butt, the associate professor of computer science who is leading the project, said in a news release.
He and Chao Wang, an assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering, won a $750,000 grant from the National Science Foundation in September to develop Pythia, a software “that models and predicts how applications would behave on given hardware,” according to the research abstract.
“It is crucial, for computing-based scientific discovery, to sustain these data-driven systems at scale in the presence of emerging technologies,” Butt said.

Companies: National Science Foundation

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