Stony Brook University Ph.D Student Yufei Ren Receives Award for High-Performance Computing Research Conducted at Brookhaven Lab

Yufei Ren enlarge

Yufei Ren

Research and experiments conducted at U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) laboratories in areas such as climate science, astrophysics, high-energy physics, material sciences, and biology often rely on high-performance supercomputers and server clusters. Back-end systems encompass hundreds of petabyte fast flash drives and disk arrays storage that run data-intensive applications to capture experimental results. These complicated systems must also move data from the experiments and simulations to computing and storage infrastructures across high-speed wide-area networks.

“Extremely sophisticated computing is directly linked to science and innovation that is important to our world.”

— Yufei Ren, 2015 SPEC Awardee

“We adopt a holistic approach—from the ground up—for network protocol, storage management, and software architecture so we can align with new hardware characteristics and better orchestrate system resources and address the increasing need for high-performance scientific applications,” said Yufei Ren, the 2015 recipient of the Standard Performance Evaluation Corporation (SPEC) Distinguished Dissertation Award. Ren’s work in this area earned him the honor for his dissertation, “Scalable End-to-End Data I/O over Enterprise and Data-Center Networks.” 

Established in 2011 to recognize outstanding dissertations that fall within the scope of the SPEC Research Group, the SPEC Distinguished Dissertation Award is given each year to a doctoral dissertation that exemplifies scientific significance, impact, and originality. Ren’s dissertation was selected from among 15 nominations from around the world.

Dantong Yu enlarge

Dantong Yu

Ren’s mentor and advisor, Dantong Yu, a group leader in the Lab’s Computational Science Initiative, submitted the nomination for consideration. Yu holds an adjunct appointment with Brookhaven Lab and the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Stony Brook University (SBU), where he is also a member of the Institute for Advanced Computational Science. 

Working closely with Yu, Ren conducted his research at Brookhaven Lab under the Computational Science Initiative, in which he focused on an intelligent hybrid approach of system off-load and non-uniform memory access scheduling to improve data input/output (I/O), data sharing, and data streaming. His research resulted in a middleware—the “software glue” that helps software developers achieve communication and I/O—that takes advantage of Remote Direct Memory Access (RDMA) techniques to attain high network throughput. Based on this new middleware, an RDMA-based File Transfer Protocol service is now available for public evaluation and use.  

“I am delighted that Yufei's innovative ideas and hard work paid off,” said Yu. “He deserves this award, which potentially puts him on par with world-class researchers in this field. Yufei’s work may lead to a highly efficient solution for replicating scientific data from experiments to data centers and to better solutions for people to share their photos, videos, and other media data online. It may also lead to industrial use in corporate data sharing and file retrieval.” 

Ren’s work builds on the foundation of the partnership between Brookhaven National Laboratory and SBU to pursue the DOE’s Exascale Initiative. Exascale computing systems are capable of at least one exaFLOPS, or a billion billion calculations per second, making it an important component for scientific research. Ren’s work at Brookhaven was supported through a DOE grant.

Ren recently earned his Ph.D. at SBU from the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering and is a member of the Institute for Advanced Computational Science. He recently began working as a research scientist at IBM T.J. Watson Research Center.  

“First and foremost, I would like to express my gratitude to my advisor, Dantong Yu. Throughout my Ph.D. studies he has provided me with priceless advice and guidance,” said Ren. “Over the past five years, he patiently listened to my ideas and provided insightful feedback to motivate me to accomplish my objectives. He also gave me substantial freedom to explore and broaden my research interests.” 

Ren added that he is extremely grateful for the encouragement and support of everyone who assisted him on his journey to obtaining his Ph.D., including SBU thesis committee members Michael Bender, Shudong Jin, Yuanyuan Yang, and Fan Ye. “The experience will serve as the building block of my career,” Ren said.

A formal award ceremony will be held in the Netherlands in March 2016.

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