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Qing Yi
Assistant Professor Qing Yi

UTSA Spotlight: Assistant Professor Qing Yi receives NSF CAREER Award

By Amanda Beck
Communications Specialist, College of Sciences

(Oct. 31, 2008)--Qing Yi, a UTSA assistant professor of computer science, was granted a five-year, $400,000 Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) award by the National Science Foundation (NSF) to develop a multilayer code synthesis framework that will improve the correctness and performance of software.

The CAREER award is NSF's most prestigious award for junior faculty and is awarded to faculty members who embody the role of teacher-scholar by integrating outstanding research with excellence as an educator within the context of their institution. CAREER awards support integrated research and educational activities that serve as a foundation for a lifelong career of teaching and scholarship.

According to Yi, "correctness and performance are two of the most fundamental concerns in software development." The complexity of modern computing environments makes it difficult to develop software that is both correct and efficient. Yi's research will attack this problem with techniques to automatically translate high-level designs into efficient, low-level implementations. This will allow programmers to abstract some of the complexity while doing the design, but still be confident that they will end up with an efficient implementation.

Yi expects her techniques to be particularly beneficial for scientific computing and systems programming. This will allow scientists employing computational methods to complete high-level designs without getting bogged down in the complexity of how to make the computation fast.

Additionally, Yi will develop teaching tools that illustrate issues that surface in different phases of the software development lifecycle. These tools will be used in UTSA undergraduate and graduate programming languages courses.

Yi is the third member of the computer sciences department to receive an NSF CAREER award. Last year, Carola Wenk received an award to study geometric shape handling, and the year before, Daniel Jimenez received an award to study branch prediction. Computer sciences faculty are now the principal investigators of 17 current NSF research grants. This level of highly competitive NSF funding is recognition of the quality of research being performed in the department.

The Department of Computer Sciences has grown quickly in the last few years. The faculty has increased to 25, and the emphasis on research has increased dramatically. Research conducted by faculty members contributes to the university's goal of becoming a premier research institution.

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