Ben Delaware Receives NSF CRII Grant
Writer(s): Kristyn Childres
Ben Delaware, assistant professor of computer science, has received the National Science Foundation’s Computer and Information Science and Engineering (CISE) Research Initiation Initiative (CRII) grant. The award was established to encourage research independence by supporting faculty during their first two years in an academic position.
Modern software is typically built using libraries of reusable components. The authors of these libraries have the challenge of ensuring that they will work for any client. Due to the variety of possible use cases, optimizing this kind of code can be difficult, and can lead authors to use safe but inefficient data structures and to include irrelevant consistency checks.
Recent advances in program synthesis have shown how computers can build custom implementations of library modules based on high-level specifications and requirements. Delaware’s project, entitled “Bespoke Data Representation Synthesis via Contextual Data Refinement,” aims to analyze how a particular client uses a module and then automatically tailor its implementation to that particular case by eliminating redundant checks and optimizing data structures, while guaranteeing that the code will behave properly.
“The future of programming is languages that do more work for users – freeing up their time to focus on the interesting bits of the problem at hand. Ideally, a client could get the author of a library component to optimize it for their particular use case, but that approach doesn’t scale,” Delaware said. “This project takes a step in that direction by showing how to safely incorporate information about a client when automatically creating such components.”
Delaware joined Purdue’s Department of Computer Science in 2016 after receiving his Ph.D. from the University of Texas at Austin and completing a postdoc at MIT.