In April this year, researchers at EPFL’s School of Computer and Communication Sciences (IC) gained recognition for exemplary work in computer science. While Vasileios Trigonakis was awarded the 2017 Eurosys Roger Needham Doctoral Dissertation Award, Immanuel Trummer bagged Honorable Mention for the 2017 SIGMOD Jim Gray Doctoral Dissertation Award.

Vasileios Trigonakis’s outstanding thesis titled “Towards Scalable Synchronization on Multi-Cores” was recognized at the Eurosys 2017 Conference in Belgrade, Serbia. The thesis was developed with the supervision of Professor Rachid Guerraoui of the Distributed Programming Laboratory at EPFL. The work explores ways and means to reduce the effects of synchronization on software scalability. The study highlights the fact that the scalability of synchronization is directly proportional to the capability of the underlying hardware. In other words, synchronization unequivocally inhibits the performance of concurrent software. However—and this is the main contribution of Trigonakis’s research—it is possible to accomplish portability of software without foregoing performance if design patterns and abstractions are created to maximize the robustness of the hardware. This process precludes the role of software developers. Trigonakis’s research is founded on a two-pronged approach. The first approach is centred on OPTIK, which helps implement robust and scalable data structures. The second approach revolves around a multi-core topology abstraction called MCTOP, which goes a long way in optimizing policies implemented by developers.

On the other hand, Immanuel Trummer received the award for his PhD dissertation on “From Massive Parallelization to Quantum Computing: Seven Novel Approaches to Query Optimization.” He worked with the expert guidance of Professor Christoph Koch, who is attached to EPFL’s Data Analysis Theory and Applications Laboratory.

Over the years, there have been seminal changes in the way queries are executed. Trummer’s study takes cognizance of these changes, which include query execution platforms and processing methods and models and techniques such as cloud computing and crowdsourcing. The thesis proposes three major approaches toward query optimization: moving query optimization before run time to relax constraints on optimization time, trading optimization time for relaxed optimality guarantees, and reducing optimization time by taking advantage of new software and hardware platforms.

Both researchers thus have a strong foundation as they venture forth in their academic and professional pursuits. Currently, Vasileios Trigonakis works as Senior Member of Technical Staff at Oracle, while Immanuel Trummer is Assistant Professor for computer science at Cornell University.

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