Engineering's Kolli honored for dissertation research in computer architecture

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Aasheesh Kolli, assistant professor of computer science and engineering in the School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at Penn State, recently received the Association for Computing Machinery’s SIGARCH/IEEE CS TCCA Outstanding Dissertation Award for his dissertation at the University of Michigan, titled “Architecting Persistent Memory Systems.”

The award recognizes excellent thesis research by doctoral candidates in the field of computer architecture. Kolli, the inaugural award recipient, was cited for “contributions to the semantics and implementation of programming models for persistent memory systems.”

“My dissertation is not just my work — a lot of people's efforts went into it. My Ph.D. adviser, collaborators, mentors and lab mates all played important roles in helping me compile my dissertation,” said Kolli. “It’s very humbling and rewarding to realize that the research community values all the work we did. This kind of recognition from people whose work I admire is very gratifying.”

Kolli explains that in today’s computer systems, there are two different kinds of memory devices: one that is fast and volatile — losing its contents when powered off — and one that is slow and nonvolatile, retaining its contents even when powered off.

“The combination of these kinds of memory devices allows us to build computer systems that are both fast and can safely store all the data that we care about, such as photos, videos and banking information. In the process, we have optimized all aspects of the computer, including hardware design, operation systems and application programs to work with this two-memory model,” said Kolli. “However, pretty soon we are going to have memory technologies that combine the best properties of these two memories — they are fast and nonvolatile — creating a paradigm shift in memory technology. My dissertation research looked into how to integrate this new memory technology into our computing systems and how to maximize their benefits by describing novel ways to build computer hardware, designing programming languages and constructing application programs.”

Kolli joined the Penn State faculty in the fall of 2018. He received a bachelor of engineering degree in electrical and electronics from the Birla Institute of Technology and Science, Pilani in India, and received a master of science and doctorate in computer science and engineering from the University of Michigan. His research interests include computer architecture, multiprocessor systems, systems software, persistent memories and field-programmable arrays.

“This is a great way to start my career at Penn State,” said Kolli. “I am looking forward to working with colleagues and students in the computer science and engineering department to do more impactful research.”

Last Updated July 16, 2018