Supun Nakandala (PhD ’22) Wins SIGMOD Dissertation Award

May 1, 2023
Supun Nakandala

By Kimberley Clementi

UC San Diego’s Computer Science and Engineering alumnus Supun Nakandala (PhD ’22) has been selected as winner of the Jim Gray Dissertation Award 2023 by the Association for Computing Machinery’s Special Interest Group on Management of Data (ACM SIGMOD). This prestigious award is given annually to an exceptional PhD graduate working in data management and databases.

“This win is a first for a UC San Diego student at SIGMOD. It is also the first time this award went to a thesis in the area of Databases for Machine Learning and Machine Learning Systems,” said CSE Associate Professor Arun Kumar, Nakandala’s advisor.

Nakandala’s dissertation, “Query Optimizations for Deep Learning Systems,” was recognized for expanding the relevance of database methods in the fast-growing ML systems area. The research proposes a novel approach to optimizing deep learning workloads by transferring and adapting classical query optimization techniques used in data management – ideas such as rewrites, multi-query optimization, and materialization optimization among others.

Nakandala, who was nominated by Kumar, will present his research at the 2023 SIGMOD conference in Seattle this June. The annual conference is a leading international forum for database researchers, practitioners, developers, and users to explore cutting-edge ideas and results, and to exchange techniques, tools, and experiences.