White House honors two UChicago scientists for innovative research

Early-career award honors work in self-aware computing, neutrino astronomy

Two University of Chicago faculty members have been awarded the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers, the highest honor bestowed by the U.S. government to scholars who show exceptional promise for leadership in science and technology.

The award recognizes the pioneering work of Assoc. Prof. Henry Hoffmann, a computer scientist who research spans self-aware computing systems and machine learning; and Assoc. Prof. Abigail Vieregg, a physicist who uses innovative methods to look for the highest-energy particles in the universe.

Hoffmann’s research group focuses on self-aware and adaptive computing systems that find the optimal balance between performance and energy consumption. His work on self-aware computing has been featured in Crunchbase and Scientific American, which named it one of its ten “world-changing ideas” in 2011. His recent work includes CALOREE, an approach that combines control theory with machine learning to create an “intelligent” resource manager, and the “Divide and Conquer” algorithm for optimized scheduling of supercomputing tasks.

Vieregg has invented and implemented innovative techniques in neutrino astronomy—tiny ghostly particles that can tell us about faraway astrophysical phenomena. She builds experiments to probe ultra-high-energy neutrinos coming from elsewhere in the universe, such as radio detectors to look for traces of neutrinos interacting in the Antarctic or Greenland ice sheets. She also works on telescopes that measure the oldest light in the universe, the Cosmic Microwave Background, to learn about the physics of the early universe.

Awarded since 1996, the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers acknowledges the contributions scientists and engineers have made to the advancement of STEM education and to community service as demonstrated through scientific leadership, public education and community outreach.

Hoffmann and Vieregg will be invited to receive their awards at a ceremony in Washington, D.C.