Philipp P Woelfel

Canada Research Chair in Randomized and Distributed Algorithms

Tier 2 - 2017-11-01
Renewed: 2017-07-01
University of Calgary
Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council


Research involves

Finding new algorithms for sharing a software system’s components among multiple computers (distributed computing).

Research relevance

This research will lead to new tools for programming and understanding computing systems with many processing units.

Reliable Solutions for Unreliable Hardware

Early computers were big, slow and single-tasked. Today, they are sleek and fast: the combined processing power of numerous processors fits in the palms of our hands.

The speed of modern computers increasingly relies on the ability of multiple hardware components to work in parallel—but designing highly efficient programs for these concurrent systems is notoriously difficult. Not only that, but ensuring these programs are correct, and can deal with hardware faults, is challenging.

Dr. Philipp Woelfel, Canada Research Chair in Randomized and Distributed Algorithms, aims to tackle these problems. Concurrent systems that contain numerous processors range from cell phones to the Internet and the cloud. They share one critical property: they are not synchronized and can be unreliable. When data are sent over a network—or exchanged between different parts of the hardware—delays are inevitable and impossible to predict. Sometimes, pieces of data simply never arrive at their destinations.

Woelfel and his research team are focusing on finding efficient ways to implement scheduling, resource allocation and process coordination—all of which are essential to ensure computers and networks work quickly and reliably. They are solving these computer and network problems by using programs that make random choices and are significantly simpler, more robust and more efficient than traditional programs.

Ultimately, Woelfel’s research will result in new tools that will enable programmers to build faster and more fault-resistant systems.