CSE Lecturer Honored for Research Leadership in Scientific and Technical Computing

Aug 18, 2017

The ACM Special Interest Group on High-Performance Computing (SIGHPC) gives an award every other year to single out a mid-career woman in the computing field. The ACM SIGHPC Emerging Woman Leader in Technical Computing Award will be presented this November at SC17 to UC San Diego computer scientist Ilkay Altintas, a lecturer in CSE and Chief Data Science Officer in the San Diego Supercomputer Center (SDSC).

Ilkay Altintas lectures CSE undergrads and 
serves as Chief Data Science Officer at

In honoring Altintas, the four-member SIGHPC selection committee – including former CSE professor and SDSC director Francine Berman (now at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute) – cited Altintas’s “research leadership that makes distributed scientific and technical computing applications more reusable, scalable, and reproducible.”

Altintas’ research focuses on approaches to make distributed computing and workflow systems more programmable, reusable, scalable and reproducible. With over 100 journal articles and conference papers, her work has been applied to computations in bioinformatics, geoinformatics, high-energy physics, multi-scale biomedical science, computational drug discovery, smart manufacturing, hazard management, and smart cities. She is a co-founding developer of Kepler, a widely-used tool that enables research teams to build and run workflows, and to share computational results across a broad range of scientific and engineering disciplines.

Altintas is director of Workflows for Data Science Center of Excellence, and division director of Cyberinfrastructure Research, Education, and Development.

In addition to undergraduate teaching as a lecturer in CSE, Ilkay also teaches in the Master of Advanced Studies program in Data Science in the Jacobs School of Engineering, and she leads courses in data science and big data on the popular online learning platforms Coursera and edX. She is an active mentor for women pursuing careers in HPC and data science.

According to the selection committee, “there are very few awards recognizing individuals in the middle stage of their careers, and none aimed specifically at women.” For the purposes of the HPC award, “technical computing” applies to all the fields that are part of high-performance computing, including analytics, visualization, operations, scientific application software, libraries, etc., as well as professionals working with medium- to large-scale systems among the TOP500 HPC machines in the world.

Altintas earned her Ph.D. in computational science at the University of Amsterdam in the Netherlands.