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Announcing our Q4 Research Awards

December 22, 2009

Posted by Maggie Johnson, Director of Education & University Relations and Jeff Walz, Head of University Relations

We do a significant amount of in-house research at Google, but we also maintain strong ties with academic institutions globally, pursuing innovative research in core areas relevant to our mission. One way in which we support academic institutions is the Google Research Awards program, aimed at identifying and supporting world-class, full-time faculty pursuing research in areas of mutual interest.

Our University Relations team and core area committees just completed the latest round of research awards, and we're excited to announce them today. We had a record number of submissions, resulting in 76 awards across 17 different areas. Over $4 million was awarded — the most we have ever funded in a round.

The areas that received the highest level of funding for this round were systems and infrastructure, machine learning, multimedia, human computer interaction, and security. These five areas represent important areas of collaboration with university researchers. We're also excited to be developing more connections internationally. In this round, over 20 percent of the funding was awarded to universities outside the U.S.

Some exciting examples from this round of awards:

Ondrej Chum, Czech Technical University, Large Scale Visual Link Discovery. This project addresses automatic discovery of visual links between image parts in huge image collections. Visual links associate parts of images that share even a relatively small, but distinctive, visual information.

Bernd Gartner, ETH Zurich, Linear Time Kernel Methods and Matrix Factorizations. This project aims to derive faster approximation algorithms for kernel methods as well as matrix approximation problems and leverage these two promising paradigms for better performance on large scale data.

Dawson Engler, Stanford University, High Coverage, Deep Checking of Linux Device Drivers using KLEE + Under-constrained Execution Symbolic execution. This project extends the recently built KLEE, a tool that automatically generates test cases that execute most statements in real programs, so that it allows automatic, deep checking of Linux device drivers.

Jeffrey G. Gray, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Improving the Education and Career Opportunities of the Physically Disabled through Speech-Aware Development Environments. This project will investigate the science and engineering of tool construction to allow those with restricted limb mobility to access integrated development environments (IDEs), which will support programming by voice.

Xiaohui (Helen) Gu, North Carolina State University, Predictive Elastic Load Management for Cloud Computing Infrastructures. This project proposes to use fine-grained resource signatures with signal processing techniques to improve resource utilization by reducing the number of physical hosts required to run all applications.

Jason Hong and John Zimmerman, Carnegie Mellon University, Context-Aware Mobile Mash-ups. This project seeks to build tools for non-programmers to create location and context-aware mashups of data for mobile devices that can present time- and place-approriate information.

S V N Vishwanathan, Purdue University, Training Binary Classifiers using the Quantum Adiabatic Algorithm. The goal of this project is to harness the power of quantum algorithms in machine learning. The advantage of the new quantum methods will materialize even more once new adiabatic quantum processors become available.

Emmett Witchel and Vitaly Shmatikov, University of Texas at Austin, Private and Secure MapReduce. This project proposes to build a practical system for large-scale distributed computation that provides rigorous privacy and security guarantees to the individual data owners whose information has been used in the computation.

Click here to see a full list of this round’s award recipients. More information on our research award program can be found on our website.