Who We Are: Sarita Adve, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
2012 women of vision award winner for the Innovation Award
Sarita Adve is Professor of Computer Science at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Her research interests are in computer architecture and systems. She most enjoys working on problems and solutions that cut across multiple layers of the system. She has made significant contributions in parallel computing, hardware resiliency, and power management, often by synergistically bringing together hardware- and software-level solutions.
She is widely known for her work on hardware and software memory models. These models define the behavior of shared data in parallel hardware and software, and form the foundation for reasoning about parallel programs and optimizing them for performance. When Adve started her work, there were many different hardware models motivated by hardware performance but too complex for software programmers. Adve’s work brought a new software-centric view to the problem. With Hill, she proposed the data-race-free model which enabled high performance hardware but was simple enough to reason about software.
Her subsequent work over 20 years culminated in co-developing the memory models for Java and the new C++ standard, with data-race-free as the foundation. Acceptance of data-race-free required generating consensus among broad hardware and software communities in a field that had been surprisingly contentious for multiple decades. Working with collaborators, most notably Boehm, Adve was a common thread and a leader in the multiple community-scale efforts that drove this convergence.
Although this convergence has been a dramatic improvement, Adve’s work has exposed fundamental shortcomings in current popular parallel languages and systems. Her recent work calls for rethinking both parallel languages and hardware for better productivity and efficiency. She is co-developing languages that are more disciplined than today for better productivity and hardware that exploits disciplined parallelism for simpler design, higher performance, and lower energy.
Adve has also made significant contributions in power management and hardware resiliency; including cross-layer energy management; lifetime reliability-aware architectures; and low-cost software-level solutions for hardware reliability.
Adve is a fellow of the ACM (the first woman from South Asia) and IEEE. She received the ACM SIGARCH Maurice Wilkes award, a University Scholar recognition, and the Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellowship. She serves on the boards of the CRA and ACM SIGARCH. She previously served on NSF’s CISE directorate’s advisory committee.
She received the B.Tech. in Electrical Engineering from IIT-Bombay in 1987 and the Ph.D. in Computer Science from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1993. Her husband and collaborator, Vikram Adve, has been her partner throughout this process, and since 2000, her two children have restored balance to her life.