Six CU-Boulder Professors Win National Science Foundation CAREER Awards

Published: March 18, 2010

Six University of Colorado at Boulder faculty -- including three in a single department -- have been selected to receive National Science Foundation CAREER Awards.

The NSF's Faculty Early Career Development Program, or CAREER, is one of the nation's most prestigious honors directed toward young faculty. The 2010 awards, which come with a five-year grant ranging from $400,000 to $530,000, are a great boost to faculty in establishing integrated research and educational activities while helping to address areas of important need.

Aaron Bradley, Robert McLeod, and Li Shang in the department of electrical, computer, and energy engineering were selected this year to receive CAREER Awards, along with Sriram Sankaranarayanan of computer science, Rebecca Flowers of geological sciences and Hang "Hubert" Yin of chemistry and biochemistry.

All six are assistant professors. McLeod joined the CU-Boulder faculty in 2003, Flowers and Yin in 2007, Bradley and Shang in 2008 and Sankaranarayanan in 2009.

Bradley's award is aimed at developing a new model-checking technique for analyzing the properties of computational systems to achieve increased performance on multi-core and networked computers.

Flowers' research will use recent advances in thermochronological tools to investigate what is causing the uplift and erosion of the southern African Plateau, a large and elevated region of the continent's interior.

McLeod's research is focused on developing new fabrication techniques for next-generation electronic chips by breaking the existing limits on minimum feature size in optical lithography.

Sankaranarayanan is investigating automatic verification techniques for finding defects or bugs in embedded computer systems that monitor and control physical processes, such as are increasingly common in automobiles, avionics, medical devices and power-distribution systems.

Shang is investigating new communication technologies and system designs for emerging "many-core" computer systems, which has been the key performance bottleneck in massive-parallel computer systems.

Yin will work to enhance the undergraduate and graduate curriculum in the sought-after fields integrating chemistry and biology in addition to broadening participation by underrepresented students and strengthening existing outreach programs with local K-12 schools.

"We are extremely excited and proud of our young faculty who have been recognized with these prestigious awards," said Martin Dunn, associate dean for research in the College of Engineering and Applied Science.

"They are among the most competitive and highly-sought-after honors that exist, and provide faculty with significant support to launch their teaching and research careers," Dunn said. "These successes are indicative of the outstanding capabilities of our faculty, as well as the strong mentoring activities that exist in our departments."

Additional NSF CAREER Awards may be made through June.

From left to right: Sriram Sankaranarayanan, Robert McLeod, Li Shang, Aaron Bradley, Hang "Hubert" Yin and Rebecca Flowers.