WPI Computer Science Professor Receives Prestigious HP Labs Innovation Research Award
For the second year, Elke Rundensteiner, professor of computer science at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI), has been selected to participate in the prestigious HP Labs Innovation Research Program, which provides colleges, universities and research institutes around the world with opportunities to conduct breakthrough collaborative research with HP. WPI is one of only 52 universities to receive 2010 Innovation Research awards. The recipients were selected from among more than 375 proposals from 202 universities across 36 countries.
The HP Labs Innovation Research Program is designed to encourage open collaboration between HP and the academic community on mutually beneficial, high-impact research. This year's proposals were solicited on a range of topics within the eight broad research themes at HP Labs: analytics, cloud computing, content transformation, digital commercial print, immersive interaction, information management, intelligent infrastructure, and sustainability.
Rundensteiner, an internationally recognized expert in databases and information systems, is receiving a second year of funding from HP for a project titled "Complex Event Stream Analytics for Real-time Business Intelligence Services." The project aims to develop advanced tools for extracting meaning, in real time, from vast amounts of complex, multidimensional data streaming from RFID tags, sensor networks, web sites, or other sources, enabling decisions to be made quickly in critical and rapidly changing situations. Such tools are poised to play a vital role in the efficient delivery of rescue services during a disaster, optimizing the management of complex supply chains, or preventing the failure of huge data centers.
"Our goal with the HP Labs Innovation Research Program is to inspire the brightest minds from around the world to conduct high-impact scientific research, addressing the most important challenges and opportunities facing society in the next decade," said Prith Banerjee, senior vice president of research at HP and director of HP Labs. "WPI has demonstrated outstanding achievement and we look forward to collaborating with it in this dynamic area of research.”
Currently, Rundensteiner is working with an infectious disease specialist at the University of Massachusetts Medical Center on a two-year pilot program to use her streaming data analysis technology in conjunction with wireless tracking hardware to solve a longstanding public health problem: the transmission of bacteria in healthcare settings through poor hygiene habits. The system, in real time, will monitor where healthcare worker go and whether they visit hand-washing stations at appropriate times, issuing an audible or visual prompt, if needed. Real-time processing of streaming data will allow for the continuous tracking of healthcare workers’ compliance.
"The HP Innovation Research program is exciting because it allows faculty and students to work side by side with top researchers and developers at HP Labs on problems that are relevant to industry and to society at large," Rundensteiner said. "The complex event analytics problem we are tackling together is particularly satisfying, as it presents an interesting technical challenge and an opportunity to develop solutions that could have enormous societal benefits."
A member of the WPI faculty since 1996, Rundensteiner has established an original and influential body of research on a broad array or topics within data processing. Her current work on managing and processing continuously streaming data is redefining the notion of data management. Her pioneering work has been supported by a steady stream of external awards from the National Science Foundation, National Institutes of Health, Department of Energy, and a number of industry and government laboratories, including IBM, Verizon Labs, GTE, and HP.
She has over 300 publications, including widely cited papers on view technology, database integration, and data evolution, and her public domain research software prototypes have been used by academic and non-profit groups around the world. Her work has won her numerous honors, including an NSF Young Investigator Award, the IBM Corporate Partnership Award, recognition as a Sigma Xi Outstanding Senior Faculty Researcher, the WPI Trustees' Award for Outstanding Research and Creative Scholarship, and the university's Chairman's Exemplary Faculty Prize. She holds a BS in computer science from Johann Wolfgang Goethe University in Germany, an MS in computer science from Florida State University, and a PhD in computer science from University of California, Irvine.