NSF award winners

The National Science Foundation has awarded grants for projects to develop innovative uses of information technology in science and engineering to two Penn faculty members in addition to the $1 million grant to Rajeev Alur to promote the reliability of embedded computers, the tiny processors found in many commonly used electronic devices (Current, Sept. 13).

- Michael Klein, Hepburn Professor of Physical Science, received $468,000 for his project, “Novel Scalable Simulations Techniques for Chemistry, Materials Science and Biology.” Working with theoretical chemists and computer scientists from several universities, Klein said the grant will help fund “the next generation of computer codes that can model biological systems, materials and processes in geology.” While the codes exist now in various states of development around the world, Klein said the “long term goal is to provide open-source software that can be adapted to various users.” Klein hopes to take highly customized codes and make them more accessible, creating “a community [of computer codes] with more flexible applications.”

- Benjamin Pierce, associate professor of computer and information science, received a $300,000 grant for his project, “Principles and Practice of Synchronization.” The project’s goal is to develop a synchronizer, known as Unison, to integrate file systems and information from various digital platforms, such as pocket organizers, desktop computers and laptops. The grant will help make Unison a more versatile synchronizer. While Unison presently cannot handle database systems, like address books, Pierce said, “We want to build the best synchronizer for synchronizing anything.” (Current, Sept. 14, 2000)

Defense Department grant

- With another $2.84 million added to the coffers by the U.S. Department of Defense’s Army Research Office, Penn scientists are one step closer to increasing the reliability of embedded minicomputers. Principal investigator Insup Lee and his team will use the funds to engineer dependability and reusability of embedded computers, which are found in products from dishwashers to heart-lung machines and cellular phones.

- Literacy gets another boost with a $2.4 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education to the National Center on Adult Literacy. The grant, which will be applied to the NCAL’s Tech.21 project, will explore the use of technology, such as distance learning, the Internet and CDs, in nationwide education and literacy programs. The goal of Tech.21 is to teach program directors and practitioners how to improve learning by choosing the technology that is best suited for their students.

- Two Penn School of Nursing researchers, Neville E. Strumpf and Lois K. Evans, were awarded the Fourth Annual Doris Schwartz Gerontological Nursing Research Award presented by the Gerontological Society of America on Nov. 17. The award recognizes their work in the nursing care of older adults. The first researchers to investigate restraint use of the elderly in the U.S., Strumpf and Evans have focused on changing the care of frail elderly people from control-based custodial care to individualized restorative care. They snagged nursing’s top honor, the Baxter Episteme Award, for their work in 1995.

Originally published on November 29, 2001