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CSL graduate student wins prestigious IBM fellowship

2/13/2013

Kim Gudeman

Gabriela Jacques da Silva has earned an IBM Ph.D. Fellowship for her work on building fault-tolerant middleware for live data streams.

Gabriela Jacques da Silva is working on experimental validation and design of fault tolerance solutions for streaming applications.
Gabriela Jacques da Silva is working on experimental validation and design of fault tolerance solutions for streaming applications.
Gabriela Jacques da Silva is working on experimental validation and design of fault tolerance solutions for streaming applications.

A Ph.D. candidate in electrical and computer engineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, da Silva’s research focuses on experimental validation and design of fault tolerance solutions for streaming applications. For example, if a company wanted to find out who was using a voice-over IP application such as Skype, streaming technology would allow the company to monitor data sources and infer data connections between people.

“This technology could have applications in the financial industry,” da Silva said. “You could monitor news and the stock ticker, see how much the talk about a particular stock is going up and down and make predictions about what would be the best stock to purchase.”

The biggest challenge is to build a fault-tolerant system with acceptable performance penalties – meaning that the technology is both affordable and can operate in real time.

“You have to be able to process in real time,” she said. “You don’t want to get information about a good stock buy when it’s too late.”

To accomplish that, Da Silva has focused on a flexible, light-weight fault tolerance solution. She has devised language extensions so users can define and parameterize checkpoint policies easily. The solution is implemented through code generation in SPADE, a programming language designed at IBM Research for developing streaming application. This reduces the overall application fault tolerance costs by incurring them only for the parts of the application that require it.

Da Silva earned her bachelor’s degree in computer science from the Federal University of Santa Maria and her master’s degree in computer science from the Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul, both in Brazil. She is due to graduate with her Ph.D. in 2010.The IBM Ph.D. Fellowship Awards is an intensely competitive program which honors exceptional Ph.D. students in many academic disciplines, including computer science and engineering, electrical and mechanical engineering , physical sciences (including chemistry, material sciences, and physics), mathematical sciences (including optimization), business sciences (including financial services, communication, and learning/knowledge), and service sciences, management, and engineering. The fellowship comes with tuition assistance, a stipend and a ThinkPad.

For more information about Da Silva’s research, please visit http://www.crhc.illinois.edu/~gjsilva.