Dr. Sun, Xian-He


Dr. Xian-He Sun is a University Distinguished Professor and the Ron Hochsprung Endowed Chair of Computer Science at the Illinois Institute of Technology (Illinois Tech), where he served as the Department Chairman of the Department of Computer Science from Sept. 2009 to August 2014. Dr. Sun received his BS in Mathematics in 1982 from Beijing Normal University, P.R. China, and completed his MS in Mathematics, MS in Computer Science, and Ph.D. in Computer Science in 1985, 1987, and 1990, respectively, all from Michigan State University. He was a post-doctoral researcher at Ames National Laboratory, a staff scientist at ICASE, NASA Langley Research Center, an ASEE fellow at the US Navy Research Laboratories, and was an associate professor and the founding director of the Scalable Computing Software (SCS) Laboratory in the Department of Computer Science at Louisiana State University - Baton Rouge before he joined the Computer Science Department at Illinois Tech in August 1999. He is a guest faculty at the Mathematics and Computer Science Division, Argonne National Laboratory from 1999 to 2020. Currently, he is a distinguished professor of computer science at Illinois Tech, an IEEE fellow, and the director of the SCS Laboratory at Illinois Tech. His current research interests include parallel and distributed processing, memory and I/O systems, software systems for Big Data applications, and performance evaluation and optimization.

Dr. Sun has published over three hundred research articles in the field of computer science and communication and has six patents in US and one patent in China. His research is well supported by US National Science Foundation (NSF) (NSF-JEAP, ACS-9720215, CCR-9972251, EIA-0130673, ANI-0123930, ACI-0130458, EIA-0224377, ACI-0305355, CNS-0406328, SCI-0504291,CNS-0509118, CCF-0621435, CCF-0702737, CNS-0751200, CNS-0834514, CCF-0937877, CNS-1162540, CNS-1338078, CNS-1526887, CCF-1536079, CCF-1744317, CNS-1730689, CNS-1730488, OCI-1835764, CSR-1814872, CCF-2008907, CCF-2029014, OAC-2104013) and other US government agencies. Since he joined IIT in 1999, he has served as a PI or Co-PI for more than thirty federally funded research projects with a total of more than thirty million dollars. His research in mobility of legacy code is one of the first nine projects supported by NSF under the Middleware Initiative program. His PDD and PPT algorithms have been included in IBM's Parallel Engineering and Scientific Software Library (PESSL) and other commercial and research software packages as a community standard. His memory-bounded (also called Sun-Ni's law) and memory access delay performance models are introduced in many modern textbooks and are considered critical in the performance evaluation of scalable computing systems. Chicago Sun-Times called his work in cross-network service as turning "POTS (plain Old Telephone service) into PANS (Pretty Amazing New Stuff), moving (landline) phone into the internet loop" (May 12, 2003). An IETF Internet standard (RFC3910) was officially released in 2004 based on his novel concept of cross-network service. His recent work, Concurrent Average Memory Access Time (Concurrent-AMAT, C-AMAT, 2013), uniquely unifies the performance impact of memory locality, memory concurrency, and the overlapping of computing and data access delay, and provides a practical tool for performance measurement, analysis, and optimization of memory systems. Both the memory-bounded model and the C-AMAT model are considered by many as an essential tool for solving current big data problems. Most recently, he proposed the Layered Performance Matching (LPM) method and the (Sluice-Gate) Pace Data Transfer architecture for mitigating and removing the memory-wall problem in 2015 and 2016, respectively. While powering big data becomes a national initiative, his research has received recent renewed attention. He was featured in Crain as People on the Move in March, 2014 and his C-AMAT work was featured in ACM TechNews in March, 2014, and in HPC Magazine in May, 2014. He received the ACM Karsten Schwan Best Paper Award in 2019.

Dr. Suns current research includes the development of Application-Aware I/O systems for Big Data applications, the development of data-centric system software/hardware for high-end computing, and the integration of HPC and Cloud Computing. His research is both application and technology driven. For the former, he and his research group have developed a series of software systems for high-end computing. These include the software packages of Hermes: A Heterogeneous-Aware Multi-Tiered Distributed I/O Buffering System; PortHadoop: an extension of Hadoop to support direct HPC data processing under Hadoop environments; IOSIG: I/O Signatures Based Data Access Optimization, PFS-IOC: Server-side I/O-Coordination in Parallel File System; GHS: Grid Harvest Service; Network Bandwidth Predictor (NBP); and HPCM: High Performance Computing Mobility; etc. For the latter, he and his collaborators have made several noticeable contributions in recognizing and modeling the influence of the advancements of hardware and network technology on computing systems. These include the introduction of the memory-bounded speedup model (1990), which is the first work to reveal that memory is the performance constraint for high-end computing and presents a quantitative mathematical formulation for the trade-off between memory and computing, the algorithm-machine combination scalability, the general speedup metric, a model for non-dedicated network computing, and an extended Amdahls law for multicore systems, etc. More recently, he and his associates have introduced the Concurrent Average Memory Access Time (C-AMAT) model and the memory Access Per memory active Cycle (APC) metric for modern memory systems in 2013 and 2011, respectively. These results are vital tools to understand and evaluate modern memory systems and to utilize computer architecture and software for data-intensive applications. His recent Pace Data Transfer architecture (backed by the Sluice Gate Theory) has reduced memory stall time 150 times and suggests a rethinking of memory system design. His group received the ACM/IEEE HPC award and the NSF V-Tech HEC Challenge award in 2008, 2007 and 2006 for its contributions in data access optimization and fault-tolerant computing, respectively; and received different ACM and IEEE research and service awards in 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2019. Dr. Sun is an IEEE Fellow for his Contributions to Memory-Bounded Performance Metrics and Scalable Parallel Computing.

Dr. Sun is an IEEE Fellow, a senior member of ACM, an IEEE CS Golden Core member, and a member of the honor societies PHI KAPPA PHI and SIGMA XI. He was a distinguished speaker of IEEE CS society from 2001 to 2003, a vice chair of the IEEE Technical Committee on Scalable Computing from 2012 to 2013, and a member of the IEEE fellow evaluation committee in 2013, 2014, 2015, 2018, 2021. He has been an editor of eight international professional journals, including the flagship journals in parallel and distributed processing: IEEE Transactions on Parallel and Distributed Systems (TPDS) and Journal of Parallel and Distributed Computing, and currently is an Associate Editor-in-Chief (AEIC) of IEEE TPDS. He has served and is serving as the chairman or a member of the program committee for numerous international conferences and workshops and served or is serving on several boards and committees of government agencies and private foundations for research activities. These include serving as a general chair of the 50th International Conference of Parallel Processing (ICPP2021), the general chair of the 30th IEEE/ACM International Parallel and Distributed Processing Symposium (IPDPS2016), and a general chair for the 14th IEEE/ACM International Symposium on Cluster, Cloud and Grid Computing (CCGrid2014). He received the ACM HPDC best paper award in 2019, the IEEE ISPA best paper award in 2016, the ACM SIGSIM best paper award in 2015, in addition to other best paper and technical awards in earlier years. He received the IEEE CS 2016 Golden Core Award in 2017, the IEEE Computer Society Meritorious Service Certificate in 2016, and the ACM SIG Governing Board Service Award in 2014, in addition to several other service awards which he has received over the years.

Dr. Sun has trained many students that have since taken positions in academia, industry, and national laboratories. Several of them have won prestigious awards, including NSF and DOE Career awards, and industrial Innovation award. The national and international awards his students received during their school years include CRA Outstanding Undergraduate Researcher Award, ACM Student Researcher Competition Award, ACM/IEEE George Michael Fellow Award, ACM Best Ph.D. Colloquium Award, etc. Dr. Sun was a Tan Chin Tuan Fellow at Nanyang Technological University, Singapore, and a US partner of the European Commission APART Working Group. He is a board director of the Chinese-American Association of Greater Chicago (CAAGC), and a former president of the Society of Chinese-American Professors and Scientists.

Dr. Xian-He Sun was the Chairman of the Department of Computer Science at IIT from fall 2009 to summer 2014. Under his leadership, three faculties have been elevated by IEEE to become IEEE fellow and three of the five newly recruited assistant professors received NSF Career award or the prestigious Air Force YIP award. The USNews ranking of the department has increased from not ranked (meaning behind 125) to 101 in 2014 and to 91 in 2016. These achievements are achieved step by step, with collected efforts. In addition to all the academic efforts and achievements, Dr. Sun is also proud of the establishment of the yearly Girl Summer Computing Camp for Chicagoland minority girls to promote computer science to female African American high school students in 2010; and the establishment of the IIT-CAAGC leadership award for Chicagoland high school students to promote community service for Asian American high school students in 2011. Both programs are continuing to grow and prosperous since then.


Illinois Institute of Technology