GRAs in Automata Computing

Deadline to apply for funding: January 24, 2014

With the creation of the U.Va. Center for Automata Computing (see https://www.news.virginia.edu/content/uva-creates-world-s-first-research-center-automata-computing-support-micron-technology-inc), U.Va.'s Vice President for Research and SEAS are making available funding for three, one-year GRAs. The goal of these positions is to help jump-start research involving automata and establish U.Va. as a nexus for research involving this paradigm.  Two of the GRAs are allocated for SEAS graduate students, while one is available to any graduate student at U.Va.

Automata processing is an old processing paradigm (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nondeterministic_finite_automaton), now invigorated by the first-ever accelerator hardware, recently announced by Micron (see links below for more detail on their specific architecture).  This follows a recent theme in computing of specialized accelerators.  Automata are specialized for fast pattern matching. Multiple data streams can be searched in parallel, multiple patterns can be searched per data stream, and very sophisticated approximate matching is possible.  Preliminary results suggest that Micron's new automata processor is capable of order-of-magnitude speedups over current hardware on challenging problems such as deep packet inspection and genomic analysis in the presence of structural variations.

To be considered for one of these positions, graduate students should apply by Jan. 24, 2014.  To apply, please submit a 2-3 page proposal and the CV for the student who would be funded. Please submit directly to <skadron@cs.virginia.edu>. The proposal should briefly summarize what the work would entail and why it shows good potential to benefit from the Automata processor. A brief supporting statement from the department chair is also required; departmental cost share of 25% is preferred but not required. Research on new applications for automata, improving the efficiency or capability of automata processing, or improving programming efficiency are all within the scope of this funding.  Selections are expected to be completed by Jan. 31.  Selected proposals will be funded immediately.

Selected students will be expected to spend a portion of their time working in the Center office with other Center participants, to participate in Center workshops, and to present semi-annual reports to the Center.

For questions about the GRA-ships, the Center, or automata processing in general, please contact Kevin Skadron (skadron@cs.virginia.edu), Mircea Stan (mircea@virginia.edu), or Stu Wolf (saw6b@virginia.edu).

Details on Micron's Automata Processor:
* AutomataProcessor.pdf (11.1 MB) hosted on Ubuntu One:
http://ubuntuone.com/4Y9pUMCqFgEBnvEDNsMT7h
* SupplementaryMaterial.pdf (13.7 MB) hosted on Ubuntu One:
http://ubuntuone.com/65kzmltLgWfyYm1uAO2Up5