Computer Science News

Dr Jade Alglave receives Academy Silver Medal

We are delighted to announce that Dr Jade Alglave received the Royal Academy of Engineering’s prestigious Silver Medal at the Academy Awards Dinner in London on Wednesday 27 June. Computer scientist Dr Jade Alglave, of UCL and ARM Ltd, has led the development of novel techniques to model the behaviour of multiprocessors, helping to overcome the difficulty of finding bugs in concurrent programmes where running those programmes can lead to many different, and unexpected, outcomes.

Concurrent programming, where separate components of a program are run at the same time, is an important function in high-performance computing. Assessing a program which runs concurrently means checking that its outcome is the same as if all its components were run in sequence. Often, these components need to communicate with each other and this is where subtle bugs may occur.

Practically, Dr Alglave’s work provides engineers with tools to innovate rapidly during the development of a concurrent system, but can also diagnose problems in existing systems. Her work has guided the development of formal models for computer hardware and software, as well as uncovered latent bugs in existing hardware.

Dr Alglave’s techniques have been used to model chips for IBM, Nvidia, AMD and ARM, among others. She has also contributed to developing a realistic model of the concurrency carried out by the Linux operating system, a development that has received a high level of support from the developer community and is now included in mainline Linux.

Dr Alglave said: “I am honoured to receive this medal, and keen to see how this work develops now that I have joined Arm. I would very much like to emphasise that all these contributions have been made with Dr Luc Maranget from INRIA, France, who took me under his wing when I was a student. Our scientific tandem is fun and rewarding to this day.

I would also like to thank people who helped us make this work better over the years, such as Derek Williams and Paul McKenney at IBM, Olivier Giroux at Nvidia, Paul Blinzer and Tony Tye at AMD, and Will Deacon and Richard Grisenthwaite at ARM.”

Professor Peter O’Hearn FREng FRS, Professor of Computer Science at UCL and Research Scientist at Facebook, who nominated Dr Alglave for the award, said: “Modelling concurrency has seen significant work over the last 40 years but the challenges are so difficult that absolutely basic, fundamental problems remain. The importance of overcoming these challenges is only increasing as technological developments in chip design grow.

Dr Alglave’s work is conceptually innovative and breathes new life into modelling the behaviour of computer hardware and software. Her research has had an unprecedented practical impact on chip design at many major companies and she has successfully developed complex theoretical solutions to some of the biggest challenges for the computing industry. This pairing of beautiful conceptual innovation with striking impact is exceedingly rare.”

You can read Jade’s full biography on her website here.

Find out more about the Royal Academy of Engineering Silver Medal award here.

Posted 28 Jun 18 07:21
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