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ACM Council Names Kathy Yelick 2013-14 Athena Lecturer

March 21, 2013

Jon Bashor, Jbashor@lbl.gov, 510-486-5849

The Association for Computing Machinery's Council on Women in Computing (ACM-W) has named Katherine Yelick, Berkeley Lab's Associate Laboratory Director for Computing Sciences, as the 2013-2014 Athena Lecturer. Yelick, also a professor at the University of California, Berkeley, has improved fundamental understanding and practice of parallel programming, which uses multiple processing elements simultaneously to solve a problem. She developed novel performance tuning, compilation and runtime systems, which implement the core behavior of computer languages. The Athena Lecturer award celebrates women researchers who have made fundamental contributions to computer science. It includes a $10,000 honorarium provided by Google Inc.

"Yelick's innovative software is used in both the research community and in production environments," said Mary Jane Irwin, who heads the ACM-W awards committee. "She has taken on the challenges of software developers in the age of exascale computing and helped them become more efficient in this environment. An effective teacher and mentor, she been a role model for the computing community."

Yelick co-invented UPC (Unified Parallel C), an extension of the C programming language designed for high performance computing on large-scale parallel machines. She also co-invented Titanium, an explicitly parallel dialect of Java, one of the most popular programming languages in use, to support high-performance scientific computing on large-scale multiprocessors. Yelick has demonstrated the applicability of these languages across architectures through the use of novel runtime and compilation methods. Her work also includes automatic performance tuning techniques as well as performance analysis, modeling, and optimization for a range of programming tools. 

The author of two books and more than 100 refereed technical papers on parallel languages, compilers, algorithms, libraries, architecture and storage, Yelick has encouraged collaboration between hardware and software designers. She has worked with interdisciplinary teams on application scaling, and her own work includes parallelization of a model for blood flow in the heart.

In addition to serving as Associate Laboratory Director, Yelick is a Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences at UC Berkeley. She is also former Director of the National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center (NERSC) at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. She earned B.S., M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Computer Science from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. 

An ACM Fellow, she is a member of the California Council on Science and Technology and a member of the National Academies Computer Science and Telecommunications Board.

The Athena Lecturer is invited to present a lecture at an ACM event. Yelick's lecture will be delivered at SC13, the leading international conference in high performance computing SC13 will be held November 17-22 in Denver, Colo. Each year, the Athena Lecturer honors a preeminent woman computer scientist. Athena is the Greek goddess of wisdom; with her knowledge and sense of purpose, she epitomizes the strength, determination, and intelligence of the "Athena Lecturers." The 2013-2014 Athena Lecturer award will be presented on June 15 at the ACM Annual Awards Banquet in San Francisco.

About Computing Sciences at Berkeley Lab

High performance computing plays a critical role in scientific discovery. Researchers increasingly rely on advances in computer science, mathematics, computational science, data science, and large-scale computing and networking to increase our understanding of ourselves, our planet, and our universe. Berkeley Lab’s Computing Sciences Area researches, develops, and deploys new foundations, tools, and technologies to meet these needs and to advance research across a broad range of scientific disciplines.