Monthly Archives: May 2017

Associate department head for strategic directions

The Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science (EECS) has announced the appointment of two new associate department heads, and the creation of the new role of associate department head for strategic directions.

Professors Saman Amarasinghe and Joel Voldman have been named as new associate department heads, effective immediately, says EECS Department Head Asu Ozdaglar. Ozdaglar became department head on Jan. 1, replacing Anantha Chandrakasan, who is now dean of the School of Engineering. Professor Nancy Lynch will be the inaugural holder of the new position of associate department head for strategic directions, overseeing new academic and research initiatives.

“I am thrilled to be starting my own new role in collaboration with such a strong leadership team,” says Ozdaglar, who is also the Joseph F. and Nancy P. Keithley Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science. “All three are distinguished scholars and dedicated educators whose experience will contribute greatly to shaping the department’s future.”

Saman Amarasinghe leads the Commit compiler research group at the Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL). His group focuses on programming languages and compilers that maximize application performance on modern computing platforms. It has developed the Halide, TACO, Simit, StreamIt, StreamJIT, PetaBricks, MILK, Cimple, and GraphIt domain-specific languages and compilers, which all combine language design and sophisticated compilation techniques to deliver unprecedented performance for targeted application domains such as image processing, stream computations, and graph analytics.

Amarasinghe also pioneered the application of machine learning for compiler optimization, from Meta optimization in 2003 to OpenTuner extendable autotuner today. He was the co-leader of the Raw architecture project with EECS Professor and edX CEO Anant Agarwal. Recently, his work received a best-paper award at the 2017 Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) Object-Oriented Programming, Systems, Languages, and Applications (OOPSLA) conference and a best student-paper award at the 2017 Big Data conference.

Amarasinghe was the founder of Determina Inc., a startup based on computer security research pioneered in his MIT research group and later acquired by VMware. He is the faculty director for MIT Global Startup Labs, whose summer programs in 17 countries have helped launch more than 20 startups.