Professor Emerita, Computer Science and Engineering
Compiling techniques that make scientific applications run faster.
In compiling, applications are translated from high-level programming languages such as C and Fortran (among others) to machine-executable form. Professor Ferrante’s work has focused on the middle stage of the compiling process: program transformation or optimization for performance. Her results have led to increased parallelism on a variety of parallel machines as well as better use of a computer’s memory hierarchy. Ferrante's research into performance has also extended to grid computing, or networks of computers that tie together various types of machines, some of them separated by great distances. This has included the development of algorithms that focus on maximizing steady-state throughput when scheduling work across a grid.
The foundation of program transformation is the underlying program representation. Ferrante helped develop intermediate representations for optimizing and parallelizing compilers, most notably the Program Dependence Graph and Static Single Assignment (SSA) form. Her SSA work (with colleagues from IBM) was recognized in 2006 by the ACM Programming Language Achievement Award as a "significant and lasting contribution to the field."
Ferrante is currently helping to lead a project (with Sociology Professor Mary Blair-Loy and colleagues) to better understand potential cumulative disadvantage in advancement, salary, and persistence in female and underrepresented faculty.
Jeanne Ferrante is currently Professor of Computer Science, Associate Dean in the Jacobs School of Engineering, and Associate Vice Chancellor for Faculty Equity at the University of California, San Diego. She received her B.A. from New College at Hofstra University in 1969, and her Ph.D. from MIT in 1974. Prior to joining UC San Diego in 1994, she taught at Tufts University until 1978, and was subsequently a Research Staff Member at IBM's T.J. Watson Research Center. She served as Computer Science and Engineering Department Chair from 1996-1999. Dr. Ferrante is a Fellow of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) and a Fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers.
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