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Home | Seminars and Symposia | Past seminars/symposia: Tuesday, April 19, 2011

DTC Science and Technology Innovators Lecture Series

The Cloud, the Client and Big Data


Dennis Gannon

Tuesday, April 19, 2011
4:00 p.m. reception
4:30 p.m. seminar

401/402 Walter Library

Dennis Gannon

The first paradigm of science was experimental. This was quickly followed by theory to explain the results of experiments. The third paradigm was computation which allows us to explore theory where experimentation is difficult or impossible. There is a fourth paradigm that can be described as deriving new knowledge from massive amounts of data even in cases where we may have very little theory to guide us. This is important because almost every branch of academic research is inundated by the data deluge and basic research methods have to evolve rapidly to cope with it. Access to massive amounts of digital data has already transformed the IT industry. Massive scale data clouds designed to index the web have transformed the advertising and publishing industry. We have mobile client devices that have applications that give us total information about where we are at any given instant including where to eat and where to catch a cab. Our computers are learning to see and recognize us as we walk through instrumented spaces. That capability is the result of machine learning applied to massive data collections. However, the academic research community is lagging behind in this revolution. While the most adventurous researchers have access to massive supercomputing facilities and communities like high energy physics have well established data analysis pipelines, the majority of researchers limit the scope of their research to what they can do with the computer on their desk. In this talk we will discuss an approach to removing this limitation by building cloud-based data analytics services that are easy to use from the researchers desktop.


Dr. Dennis Gannon is Director of Cloud Research Engagements for the eXtreme Computing Group in Microsoft Research. Prior to coming to Microsoft, Dr. Gannon was a professor of Computer Science at Indiana University and the Science Director for the Indiana Pervasive Technology Labs. Dr. Gannon's research interests include cloud computing, large-scale cyber infrastructure, programming systems and tools, distributed computing, computer networks, parallel programming, computational science, problem solving environments and performance analysis of supercomputing and distributed systems. He led several software projects for Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) and the Department of Energy related to programming massively parallel systems. He has worked extensively with NSF sponsored, interdisciplinary scientific teams on applications ranging from Computational Cosmology to predicting tornadoes and hurricanes. Gannon was on the Executive Steering Committee of the NSF Teragrid where he helped launch the Science Gateways project designed to enable access to supercomputing to a larger audience of researchers. He also managed the TeraGrid Science Advisory Board. While he was Chair of the Computer Science Department at Indiana University he led the team that designed the University's new School of Informatics. For that effort he was given the School's Hermes Award in 2006. He has published over 100 refereed articles and he has co-edited 3 books. Dr. Gannon received his Ph.D. in Computer Science from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign in 1980 after receiving a Ph.D. in Mathematics from the University of California, Davis.