Argonne National Laboratory

Kate Keahey wins 2015 AWIS Chicago Innovator Award

August 19, 2015

Kate Keahey, a computer scientist in Argonne’s Mathematics and Computer Science Division, has been named this year’s winner of the Association for Women in Science (AWIS) Chicago Innovator Award.

The award is presented by the AWIS Chicago Board to a female scientist who has made innovative contributions to fields of science, technology, engineering, or mathematics. Keahey has developed early concepts in infrastructure cloud computing and has engaged in multiple application projects popularizing the use of cloud computing and refining the technology.

“Infrastructure-as-a-Service cloud computing and the ability to provide access to resources on demand was a revolutionary concept for the scientific community” Keahey said. “It is critical to providing reliable response times, which are creating unprecedented opportunities for science. “

Keahey’s work extended the concept of remote job submission in grid computing by proposing the use of virtual machines as “containers” to enable users to control the environment on remote computing resources. In this way users could project a desired environment onto a remote resource and ensure that their jobs would run. Subsequently, Keahey made fundamental contributions to solving challenging problems in this new domain, among others defining and describing the process of contextualization allowing groups of resources to establish a common context in a dynamic and secure way.

Keahey spearheaded the development of Nimbus, an early open-source implementation of Infrastructure-as-a-Service and a set of tools for building a platform by combining commercial and scientific cloud resources. Recognizing that in an environment with multiple clouds a user may frequently combine offerings from multiple providers, Keahey defined a multicloud platform and proposed practical ways of federating cloud resources distributed over remote clouds and seamlessly integrating them into local environments.

Keahey’s most recent activity is as principal investigator for Chameleon, one of two computer science testbeds funded by the National Science Foundation in 2014 to enable researchers to experiment with novel cloud architectures. In the past year she has overseen the building of this innovative testbed, leading to its recent public release. Keahey sees Chameleon as “offering the possibility for making high-performance computing in the cloud a reality, creating virtual supercomputers on demand.”

Keahey also has applied her innovative solutions to challenging science applications in a way that has had significant impact. Examples include her work on enabling rapid processing of data in support of experimental sciences such as the particle physics applications, most notably involving the STAR detector at Brookhaven and the ATLAS detector as part of the Large Hadron Collider experiments as well as work with the Ocean Observatory Initiative project.

Keahey is a senior fellow of the Argonne/University of Chicago Computation Institute. She also serves as co-chief editor of the innovative SoftwareX journal devoted to publishing software.

Keahey will receive this year’s AWIS Chicago Innovator Award at a dinner reception in late summer. For the official announcement by AWIS, see the AWIS website.