Computer science Ph.D. student places second in ACM research competition

Sam Ade Jacobs, a computer science Ph.D. student in the Department of Computer Science and Engineering at Texas A&M University, took second place at the ACM Student Research Competition held at the SC11, the International Conference for High Performance Computing, Networking, Storage and Analysis in Seattle, Wash., Nov. 12-18.Photo of Sam Ade Jacobs

He was recognized for his poster presentation, "From Days to Seconds: Scalable Parallel Algorithm for Motion Planning."

The poster describes a method for parallelizing sampling based motion planning algorithms. The method uses subdivision of the configuration space to achieve scalability. The space is subdivided such that graphs or trees are constructed in each subdivision using any sequential sampling-based motion planning algorithm. Graphs or trees in each subdivision are later connected to form a roadmap. By subdividing the space, the overhead of inter-processor communication id greatly reduced, a critical drawback to scalability in existing parallel motion planning work. An important consequence of this approach is that it guarantees scalability. It is also general enough to handle variety of planning schemes. Preliminary results show almost linear scalability to more than a thousand processors on two massively parallel machines, one of which is a petascale machine at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.

SC11, sponsored by the ACM (Association for Computing Machinery) and the IEEE Computer Society, offers a world-class technical program, a comprehensive Communities Program, and an Exhibit Hall that together showcase the latest advances in high performance computing, networking, storage and analysis that are advancing scientific discovery, research, education and commerce.

The ACM Student Research Competition, sponsored by Microsoft Research, provides an opportunity for undergraduate and graduate students to present original research at several ACM-sponsored or ACM co-sponsored conferences throughout the year. For SC11, research posters from eight students were selected to be involved in the ACM Student Research Competition. For his second place finish, Sam received an ACM medal and $300. After SC11, winners advance to a Grand Finals competition to compete against the winners from other conferences that host an ACM Student Research Competition throughout the year.

Sam received an undergraduate degree in electrical and electronicse ngineering from Ladoke Akintola University of Technology in Ogbomoso, Nigeria, in 2003 and a master's degree in computer engineering from Covenant University in Ota, Nigeria, in 2006. He is a member of Parasol laboratory's Algorithms & Applications Group, which is headed by Dr. Nancy Amato. His research interests include robot motion planning, parallel and distributed computing, and computer architecture.