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ACM SIGHPC announces dissertation award winner

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ACM's Special Interest Group on High Performance Computing (SIGHPC) has announced that Dr Patrick Flick has won the 2020 SIGHPC Doctoral Dissertation Award. This award is given each year for the best doctoral dissertation completed in high-performance computing (HPC) in the previous year and includes a $2,000 cash prize, a plaque, and recognition at SC20 in November. 

Nominations were evaluated on technical merit, the significance of the research contribution, the potential impact on theory and practice, and overall quality of work.

This year’s award is presented for outstanding contributions to the design and analysis of parallel string algorithms on distributed memory parallel computers, with applications to computational biology. Dr Flick’s dissertation, entitled: ‘Parallel and Scalable Combinatorial String Algorithms on Distributed Memory Systems’ presents a distributed-memory parallel algorithm for constructing a distributed representation of suffix trees, yielding both superior theoretical complexity and better practical performance compared to previous distributed-memory algorithms. The new algorithm minimises the overall and per-node communication volume, providing a more efficient way to express data structures for application areas such as text processing, information retrieval, and computational biology.

Dr Flick received his PhD in Computational Science from Georgia Tech in 2019. He is currently a software engineer at Google. He authored the first paper used for the Student Cluster Challenge Reproducibility Challenge at SC16, and was awarded best student paper at SC15. 

‘We are delighted to grant this year’s Dissertation Award to Dr Flick. His work exemplifies the best of the HPC community, and helps to raise the standards of the profession,’ said Jeff Hollingsworth, the chair for this year’s dissertation award. ‘The applicant pool was made up of outstanding recent PhDs, whom we hope will continue to make exciting contributions to high-performance computing techniques and technologies in the future.’