Naren Ramakrishnan, Virginia Tech professor of computer science, is among the award recipients of the HP 2009 Innovation Research Program, which is designed to create opportunities for colleges, universities and research institutes around the world to conduct breakthrough collaborative research with HP.

Ramakrishnan’s research expertise is in data mining — the science of processing massive quantities of data to discover patterns and to produce new insights. He will collaborate with HP Labs to develop data mining algorithms for assessing the sustainability of complex information technology systems, such as data centers.

“All major [information technology] systems today produce rapid streams of data, through measurement and monitoring of physical variables such as workload, utilization, temperature, humidity, airflow, and power,“ Ramakrishnan said. “We will develop algorithms to process these sensor streams, to infer patterns from them, and to assess the sustainability of the system using the patterns.”

Ramakrishnan’s award is one of more than 60 projects from 46 universities in 12 countries funded by HP. The Innovation Research Program is part of HP’s open innovation strategy, which pursues research collaborations with top researchers and entrepreneurs in academia, the government and businesses around the world. Each of the projects are aligned with HP Labs’ focus on eight high-impact research themes that address the most complex challenges facing HP’s customers and the industry.

“Our goal with this program is to collaborate with the brightest minds from around the world to tackle the industry’s most complex problems and push the frontiers of fundamental science,” said Prith Banerjee, senior vice president, research, HP and director, HP Labs. “Virginia Tech has demonstrated outstanding achievement and a vision that will help inspire technological innovation and address the most complex challenges and opportunities facing the industry in the next decade.”

Ramakrishnan received his Ph.D. in computer science from Purdue University and has been at Virginia Tech since 1998. He is the recipient of a National Science Foundation CAREER grant, the New Century Technology Council Innovation award, and a certificate of teaching excellence from the College of Engineering. He has been both program chair and general chair of the IEEE Conference on Data Mining (ICDM), the premier research conference in data mining, which is held annually in different parts of the world.

In 2007, Ramakrishnan was named one of Computerworld’s “40 innovative IT people to watch, under the age of 40,” for his research on the data mining concept of “storytelling.”

He is heading a data mining theme emphasis as part of Virginia Tech’s Institute for Critical Technology and Applied Science. “The use of data mining for sustainability characterization directly came out of [the institute’s] support for emerging and disruptive technologies,” Ramakrishnan said.

HP reviewed nearly 300 proposals from more than 140 universities in 29 countries on a range of topics within the eight high-impact research themes at HP Labs – analytics, cloud, content transformation, digital commercial print, immersive interaction, information management, intelligent infrastructure and sustainability. More details about the HP Labs Innovation Research Program and worldwide award recipients are available online.

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