Wu Feng, internationally known computer scientist, receives Turner Fellowship
March 29, 2012
Wu Feng, associate professor of computer science in the College of Engineering at Virginia Tech, has received a five-year Turner Fellowship.
At its March meeting, the Virginia Tech Board of Visitors approved the nomination, submitted by the department's honorifics committee and endorsed by Barbara Ryder, the computer science department head.
Among his accolades, Feng is on the Top People to Watch list produced by High Performance Computing Wire. He also unveiled HokieSpeed in December of 2011, a supercomputer with an energy efficiency that makes it the highest ranked commodity supercomputer in the United States on the Green500 list. HokieSpeed was funded by a National Science Foundation $2 million research instrumentation grant awarded to Feng and his colleagues in 2010.
"Dr. Wu-chun Feng is an extraordinary researcher in high-performance computing systems, whose work has had great impact on his field. His research contributions sit at the synergistic intersection of computer architecture, systems software, middleware, and applications software," said Ryder, the J. Byron Maupin Professor of Engineering. "Dr. Feng has made significant and impactful research contributions to several areas: high-performance networks, green (low-power) computing, efficient algorithms for computational biology, and heterogeneous supercomputing," she added.
Among his other most recent accomplishments, Feng received the first worldwide award for research hoped to "compute a cure for cancer" from the Silicon Valley-based technology firm NVIDIA Corporation in 2011. This award is part of the technology firm's philanthropic "Compute the Cure" program to develop a faster genome analysis platform that will assist researchers in identifying cancerous mutations. Feng leads the project with co-investigator David Mittelman, an associate professor with the Virginia Bioinformatics Institute and the Department of Biological Sciences, part of the College of Science at Virginia Tech.
Prior to the NVIDIA recognition, Feng spearheaded a unique computational effort to find missing genes in genomes that required 40-million central processing unit hours and nearly a petabyte (a unit of information equal to one quadrillion bytes) of storage. The computation ran on seven supercomputers around the world and stored the output in Japan. His work won him and his colleagues the Distinguished Paper Award at the 2008 International Supercomputing Conference.
Feng earned his bachelor and master's degrees in computer engineering from Penn State in 1988 and in 1990, respectively. He also holds a bachelor's degree with honors in music. In 1996, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign awarded him his doctorate in computer science.
James and Elizabeth created the Turner Fellowships in 2011 with a $1 million gift, allowing two awards in Virginia Tech's College of Engineering, each with a five-year renewable term. James Turner is a 1956 agricultural engineering alumnus who is the retired president and chief operating officer of General Dynamics. He is also a former rector of the Virginia Tech Board of Visitors.