Prof. Sarita Adve
An innovative blend of profound interest in computer science and a zealous intellect to pursue research for the same, Sarita Vikram Adve, a Richard T. Cheng Professor at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, has spewed out exceptional and path-breaking contributions in the domain. A grandee in the fields of computer architecture, parallel computing, and resilient systems, Sarita has come a long way after being bitten by the exploration bug and has been unstoppable since then.
Sarita received her Bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering from IIT Bombay in 1987. She subsequently completed a Master of Science (1989) and Ph.D. (1993) in Computer Science from the University of Wisconsin–Madison. Before joining Illinois, a conscientious Adve had already begun shining brilliantly at the Rice University as a member of faculty from 1993 to 1999.
Aware of the ginormous problems the software programmers faced with the conventional hardware models, Sarita synergistically brought together hardware and software level solutions. Together with Hill, she proposed the data-race-free framework which after 20 years, conceived the compelling memory models for Java/C++, the most widely used programming standards. Specifying what value a read of a memory address will return, the memory model lies at the heart of the precision and performance of threaded programs, languages, compilers, and hardware. But Sarita’s work not only established the superiority of DRF amongst broad hardware and software communities in a field that had been surprisingly contentious for multiple decades but also exposed fundamental shortcomings in current popular parallel languages and systems. Sarita was one of the first people to harness areas like power management (cross-layer energy management), Instruction Level Parallelism (ILP) and lifetime reliability aware architectures, which were relatively untapped, brimming with potential.
Currently acting as the chair of ACM SIGARCH, on the DARPA/ISAT study group, and on the ACM Council, she also previously served on the board of directors of the Computing Research Association (CRA) (2009-18), on the National Science Foundation's CISE directorate's advisory committee (2003-05), on the expert group to revise the Java memory model (2001-05), and co-led the Intel/Microsoft funded Universal Parallel Computing Research Center (UPCRC) at Illinois as its director of research in its founding year (2008-09).
With a growth nothing short of meteoric, Sarita has been decorated with prestigious accolades like the Ken Kennedy Award (2018), the ACM SIGARCH Maurice Wilkes award (2008), an IBM faculty award (2005), recognition as a UIUC University Scholar (2004), Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellowship (1998), an IBM University Partnership Award in 1997 and 1998, and a National Science Foundation CAREER award in 1995. She was also the winner of the 2012 ABIE Award for Innovation from the Anita Borg Institute. Owing to her humongous and unfathomable contributions to Computer Science, Professor Adve was the first woman of South Asian origin to be named a fellow of the ACM and, as a Maurice Wilkes awardee, the first woman to receive a young, mid, or life-career award in computer architecture research.
A substantial chunk of her life devoted to mentoring students, Illinois CS has selected her students' Ph.D. theses as one of the department's two nominations for the ACM doctoral dissertation award for three of the last five years. The luminary was supported by her husband and collaborator, Vikram Adve, also a Professor at the same University, whom she met at IIT Bombay (:P) and who has been her partner throughout this process. A focused and clear vision coalesced with faultless models is now defining the working of the colossal software community and hardware design and positively so. The doyen is profoundly resolved to proliferate the women in computing by influencing change that can smoothen the way for more women to be successful at all stages of the career conduit.