May 14, 2012
Illinois Technology Association names Ian Foster as Technologist of the Year
The Illinois Technology Association (ITA) has named grid and cloud computing pioneer Ian Foster its CityLIGHTS Technologist of the Year for 2012.
The ITA CityLIGHTS awards, given annually to key thought leaders and companies from the Illinois technology sector, span several categories, and recognize the technology ecosystem from ideation to application in non-tech products. Foster was celebrated as the individual “whose talent has championed true technology innovation, either through new application of existing technology or the development of technology to achieve a truly unique product or service.”
Foster, who has led development of methods and software that underpin many large national and international cyberinfrastructures, might even be considered a technologist triple threat: he holds manifold research appointments and positions at the University of Chicago and at Argonne National Laboratory, and has co-founded a successful company that provides grid and cloud computing solutions.
In his current role as director of the Computation Institute – a joint initiative of the University of Chicago and Argonne National Laboratory – Foster brings together computational scientists and discipline thought leaders to work on a wide range of projects involving computation as a key component. Researchers at the CI have access to facilities at both institutions, which include storage resources, major parallel computing clusters, advanced display environments, and high-capacity network links.
“I am honored to receive this award,” said Foster. “Computation is rapidly becoming a fundamental catalyst to research in almost every discipline, driven in large part by the massive growth in data. It is especially rewarding to have our work in this area recognized by the Illinois technology community.”
As co-inventor (with research colleagues Carl Kesselman and Steve Tuecke) of grid computing over a decade ago, Foster continues to lead the development of innovative tools and infrastructure that will enable future breakthroughs in research. His MacArthur Foundation-funded CIM-EARTH project aims to combine the best of modern computational and economic science to guide climate and energy policy. Foster’s most recent effort with Tuecke, Globus Online, is a cloud-based service that transforms how researchers deal with big data—from how they manage it to how they share it among their colleagues.
The ITA CityLIGHTS awards were presented at a gala in the Great Hall at Union Station in Chicago on May 10.
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