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Clarkson University Undergrad's Research Looking to Redefine Computer Speed

Clarkson University sophomore Tim Dunn's studies as a dual major in computer science and electrical engineering clearly are on fast-forward.

Timothy DunnThis spring, he co-wrote a grant application and was awarded equipment that he used for research this summer. He then wrote a paper about the research, which is earning recognition this fall as a workshop paper at the 27th IEEE International Symposium on Software Reliability Engineering (ISSRE) conference.

Dunn's research adviser, Assistant Professor of Electrical & Computer Engineering Sean Banerjee, was impressed enough with the Penfield, N.Y. native to invite him to be a full-time researcher over the summer. Dunn happily accepted and, in his spare time, hiked 44 of the Adirondack's 46 High Peaks.

The opportunity to work closely with his professor is an advantage that Clarkson offers, Dunn adds. As a member of the honors program, he was able to stay on campus all summer while the University paid for his housing.

“Tim is off to a very early start with all he is doing,” Banerjee affirms. “This upcoming symposium in Ottawa is very prestigious workshop. It's a huge honor to get in.”

Dunn's research, last summer, involved designing parallel algorithms, which could greatly accelerate the detection of duplicate reports in large software problem report repositories.

“What used to take three to four months, he is able to do in 23 hours,” Banerjee said. “He was working with a dataset of 500,000 reports.”

This advancement happened when Dunn figured out how to write algorithms that will work on a Graphics Processing Unit, or GPU. The NVIDIA Hardware Grant application that he wrote as a freshman brought him the GPU that he used over the summer for his study of accelerating document similarity measures for problem report triaging.

"What Tim has done with accelerating the document similarity measures is impressive," says Banerjee. "Research in problem reporting systems is an active area of research that has faced computational challenges due to the size of typical problem repositories. He has demonstrated that we can compute match scores in under a day, as opposed to the months taken by prior approaches. Moreover, Tim's approach does not rely on expensive cloud-based systems which come with additional data transfer challenges."

Dunn's research also brought him a best poster award during Clarkson's Summer Symposium on Undergraduate Research Experiences, and an honorable mention in the applied mathematics and data processing presentation session.

The professor and his wife, Assistant Professor of Computer Science Natasha Banerjee, collaborated with Dunn on his workshop paper, "GPU Acceleration of Document Similarity Measures for Automated Bug Triaging," that will be presented during the ISSRE conference at the end of October.  

The next step for Dunn is a new project on speeding up automated 3D model deformation to match objects in images. This time he's working with Natasha Banerjee.

Clarkson University educates the leaders of the global economy. One in five alumni already leads as an owner, CEO, VP or equivalent senior executive of a company. With its main campus located in Potsdam, New York, and additional graduate program and research facilities in the Capital Region and Beacon, N.Y., Clarkson is a nationally recognized research university with signature areas of academic excellence and research directed toward the world's pressing issues. Through more than 50 rigorous programs of study in engineering, business, arts, education, sciences and the health professions, the entire learning-living community spans boundaries across disciplines, nations and cultures to build powers of observation, challenge the status quo and connect discovery and innovation with enterprise.

Photo caption: Clarkson University sophomore Tim Dunn, left, and Assistant Professor of Electrical & Computer Engineering Sean Banerjee look over a source file.

[A photograph for media use is available at]

[News directors and editors: For more information, contact Annie Harrison, Director of Media Relations, at 315-268-6764 or]

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